Gibbs Technologies developing an amphibious trike?

Filed under: Etc., Motorcycle, Off-Road

Gibbs Technologies Amphibious Trike patent drawing

If you like the Morgan Three Wheeler but have the need to traverse expanses of open water on your daily commute, Gibbs Technologies has just the thing for you. According to Visor Down, Gibbs has secured patents for a new amphibious trike. Gibbs Technologies has made a name for itself producing vehicles that equally at home on land and water, and it looks like this new creation works much like the other hardware in the company’s stable.

The trike’s engine sends power to its single rear wheel on land, but when things get aquatic, the power is diverted to a pair of water jets. Like Gibbs’s amphibious ATV, the three-wheeler’s front wheels fold up and away once the vehicle takes to the water, creating a WaveRunner-style contraption. Sounds like a cool idea to us.

[Source: Visor Down]

Gibbs Technologies developing an amphibious trike? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Feb 2011 15:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mad Men go racing: Ridley & Tony Scott developing Le Mans period drama

Filed under: Etc.

Le Mans the film

Everybody loves Mad Men. It’s a hit TV show that has something for everyone. Heck, it even features some nice old cars, like the pimpin’ Lincoln that Betty Draper inherited from her father, and discussions around the office on marketing import cars for the first time in America. But what the series really needs – well, what we really need, anyway – is some good ol’ classic racing action. Enter Hollywood producers Ridley and Tony Scott.

The British brothers’ production company Scott Free just signed on to a project called The Drivers. It’s based on Wallace A. Wyss’ book “Shelby: The Man, the Cars, the Legend,” which was optioned for the screen and is reportedly being turned into a television drama.

The series is set to follow the daring drivers from the U.S. and Europe who raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1950s and 1960s – one of the most exciting periods in racing history with plenty of material to draw on. There’s no telling at this point when the project will begin filming, let alone air, but the notion of a Mad Men-style show set at La Sarthe has got our TiVos twitching already. Thanks for the tip, Peter!

[Source: Deadline.com]

Mad Men go racing: Ridley & Tony Scott developing Le Mans period drama originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Aussies developing Ford Falcon GT-H

Filed under: Spy Photos, Sedan, Performance, Ford, Australia

Ford FPV Falcon GT-H Spy Shots

Ford FPV Falcon GT-H spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

Word on the web is that there’s something big brewing from Ford Performance Vehicles. The Australian team responsible for building some of the meanest factory Blue Oval beasts down under has been rumored to be slaving away on a new sedan packing a potent supercharged version of the same 5.0-liter V8 found in the nose of the North American Mustang GT. As you may recall, FPV just recently turned out a pair of four-doors with forced-induction 5.0-liter mills under their hoods, but power on those machines was kept to a relatively tame 430 ponies.

Now it looks like FPV is keen on turning loose an unleashed version of that engine in the new Falcon GT-H. A set of twin intercoolers and more aggressive boost will likely help the car dish out close to 500 horsepower. For now, we just have a handful of spy photos to go from, but Ford is expected to unveil the Falcon GT-H at the Melbourne Motor Show later this year.

Gallery: Ford FPV Falcon GT-H Spy Shots

[Sources: CarPix, Motor Authority]

Spy Shots: Aussies developing Ford Falcon GT-H originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota developing magnesium batteries as lithium alternative

Filed under: Hybrid, Technology, Toyota

magnesium on periodic table of the elementsWhether you’re talking about cameras, phones or electric cars, lithium is the current battery of choice. Lithium can pack much more energy than the nickel-metal hydride cells hiding in the boot of a Toyota Prius, but that doesn’t mean that the rare earth metal represents the zenith of battery technology.

Bloomberg reports that scientists and engineers at Toyota’s Ann Arbor, Michigan technical center are on the lookout for the next big thing in batteries, and the automaker thinks it may be on to something. Lithium’s possible replacement is composed of magnesium and sulfur, and Toyota engineering manager Jeffrey Makarewicz reportedly feels the batteries can be ready as soon as the year 2020.

The problem with lithium, according to Makarewicz, is that it can only optimally hold about 2,000 kilowatt-hours of energy. That’s apparently not enough spark to consistently power the plug-ins and EVs of the future. We’re guessing Makarewicz is alluding to the fact that electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf only have enough juice to venture 35 to 100 miles on a single charge, while even the most inefficient gasoline mills can travel hundreds of miles

So, will magnesium one day surpass lithium as the battery guts of the future? We have no idea, but we apparently have about a decade of patient waiting before we can find out.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Life123.com]

Report: Toyota developing magnesium batteries as lithium alternative originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ferrari reportedly developing biometric driver aids

Filed under: Technology, Ferrari

Ferrari 599 GTO cockpit

A true driver’s car can seem to know exactly what the driver’s thinking, but that’s really not the case. Right?

According to the latest reports, Ferrari is developing a series of systems that will actually read a driver’s mind and body to bring the relationship between man and machine that much closer. The reports stem from a patent application wherein Ferrari describes a network of technologies that will aim to read a driver’s respiration, perspiration, blink rate, heart rate, blood pressure, cranial activity and other parameters, adjusting the vehicle’s dynamics accordingly.

The hopefully non-invasive gizmos would be placed in the cabin ceiling, dashboard, steering wheel and seat, and are being developed in response to one simple conclusion: drivers think their abilities are beyond what they actually are. But is this one step too far in the development of electronic nannies?

[Source: Autocar]

Ferrari reportedly developing biometric driver aids originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reconfirmed: BMW developing FWD, four-cylinder small car line for sale in U.S.

Filed under: Technology, BMW, Rumormill, Luxury

BMW seems to think American buyers are ready to sink their teeth into small luxury vehicles. The automaker has reconfirmed plans to unleash a wave of small, front-wheel drive creations positioned below the 1 Series and due to go on sale in the U.S. market. The vehicles will be sold under a new class called UKL, and there are supposedly several different body styles just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting North American buyers. The news came via Ian Robertson, a BMW board member for sales and marketing, who also said that the full line will pack a four-cylinder engine when the cars debut before 2013.

BMW is looking to move around 100,000 units of its new UKL series vehicles worldwide, though the company hasn’t said exactly how it expects that figure to be broken up by market. Automotive News reports that while the company has also been tight lipped about exactly how many different vehicle types will fall under the new front-wheel drive, four-cylinder philosophy, other reports have pointed to a total of four body styles at launch.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Reconfirmed: BMW developing FWD, four-cylinder small car line for sale in U.S. originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Oct 2010 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Volkswagen developing Terminal Mode for full smartphone control through nav screen

Filed under: Etc., Technology, Videos, Volkswagen

Volkswagen's Terminal Mode

Volkswagen and Nokia’s Terminal Mode – Click above to watch video after the jump

Bluetooth connectivity is getting better all the time. No longer content with just connect your phone, new systems also allow you to wirelessly stream music to your car’s speakers. Volkswagen is working on a system which takes the idea of pairing a phone to your car, and brings it to a whole new level. The system, called Terminal Mode, allows VW’s touchscreen display to become an extension of the your smartphone – weather, GPS, music, phone and text messaging are right at your fingertips in a highly visible location.

Currently, the system is still under development and promises to get better as Volkswagen upgrades its infotainment screens. The current units use resistive touchscreens which can be slightly slower to respond compared with the capacitive units, which will make their way into VWs in the near future.

The Terminal Mode system opens up a potential Pandora’s box of opportunity. Developers could build a whole slew of apps designed for use in automobiles and phones could be built with this integration in mind. There are many pluses to this concept, however this easily falls into the distracted-driving discussion. How soon before we see anti-Facebooking-while-driving laws? Hop the jump to watch video of the system in action.

[Source: Engadget]

Continue reading Video: Volkswagen developing Terminal Mode for full smartphone control through nav screen

Video: Volkswagen developing Terminal Mode for full smartphone control through nav screen originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Sep 2010 14:38:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz developing ‘Magic’ active body control

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Technology, Mercedes-Benz, Luxury

Mercedes-Benz CL Class

Mercedes-Benz has codenamed its latest suite of driver convenience aids “Magic,” and the automaker will soon introduce a Magic Carpet Magic Body Control suspension technology and a Magic Sky Control roof tech. Sadly, there are no wizards nor Tinkerbells involved in any of this, just a whole bunch of electro-hydraulic and magnetorheological engineering.

Magic Body Control is the next generation of Active Body Control. Created with the help of ZF, the system of bushings atop the strut towers neutralizes wheel and body movements at two different frequencies. Daimler’s testing indicates that MBC reduces 80 percent of unsavory suspension reverberations. It will show up on the S-Class and CL-Class in 2013.

Magic Sky Control will be seen as soon as next year on the new SLK. Working like photochromatic sunglasses that get darker in the sun, a magnetorheological glass offers a range of opacity from “near totally clear” to “dark blue.” It doesn’t alter the form of the roof and can be applied to any window, so expect to see this new development work its way through Mercedes-Benz’s lineup. This technology could be used around a car’s entire greenhouse and perhaps obviate the need for sun visors.

[Source: Inside Line]

Report: Mercedes-Benz developing ‘Magic’ active body control originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Sep 2010 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Lamborghini developing Touareg-based SUV, V8 Gallardo [w/poll]

Filed under: Coupe, Sedan, Performance, SUV, Lamborghini, Rumormill, Luxury

Lamborghini LM002 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Hold on to your butts, Lamborghini fans. Word from Car and Driver’s German correspondent is that the bullish Italian automaker is strongly considering re-entering the hardcore SUV segment. Considering that the brand’s last effort into such uncharted territory brought us the Hummer-esque LM002, you can officially color us intrigued.

If the machine does make it past the planning stages, it will reportedly be based on the platform shared by the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, but we imagine it would get a powertrain more suitable for Lamborghini use – we can only hope that means a V12, as was the case with the LM002.

Another market Lamborghini is said to be considering is the entry-level V8 supercar segment. If a production model does indeed come about, it would slot below the V10-powered Gallardo. As with the aforementioned SUV, this would not be the first time Lambo has dipped a toe in these waters, as its Urraco, Silhouette and Jalpa played in the exact same market in the 1970s and 1980s before the Italian manufacturer pulled out in favor of traditional range-topping supercars like the Diablo and Murcielago.

Sadly, rumor has it that Lamborghini will not pursue the Estoque concept, leaving the Maserati Quattroporte as the only Italian to do battle with the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide. Still, the company must at least be considering the Estoque since it went ahead and produced a concept to gauge reaction. So, which of these new Lamborghini rumors would you most like to see fulfilled? Take part in our totally unscientific poll after the break.

Gallery: Lamborghini LM002

[Source: Car and Driver]

Continue reading Rumormill: Lamborghini developing Touareg-based SUV, V8 Gallardo [w/poll]

Rumormill: Lamborghini developing Touareg-based SUV, V8 Gallardo [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 19 Jul 2010 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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