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119 New Articles in this week

Google Glass may be dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 2:00PM

Google Glass Tesla Model S

The debate over wearable tech like Google Glass continues to rage, with questions still being raised about the safety of using the technology while driving. Now, a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, is claiming that not only is Google Glass dangerous to drivers, but it poses a real threat to pedestrians, as well.

According to the Cal study, the concern doesn't focus so much on the distraction posed by the technology, but the ability to create blind spots for its wearers. In particular, and unsurprisingly, the worst blind spot was caused in the upper right corner of the right eye, where the display is located. According to The Daily Telegraph, the study recommends that those driving or riding a bike avoid using the wearable, due to the way it impedes peripheral vision.

"The Google Glass hardware produces a significant blocking effect of the right peripheral vision," UCSF clinical ophthalmologist Dr. Edward Koo told the broadsheet. "The defect would not be compensated by the left eye and thus may negatively impact daily activities such as driving, cycling and running."

The news comes as a particular blow for Google and its automotive partners, like Mercedes-Benz, The Telegraph reports. With these findings in hand, Koo and his team have confirmed that they'll be developing larger, wider-reaching study into the effect on visibility and attentiveness and the effects, and that it will be done in conjunction with Google.

News Source: The Telegraph

Image Credit: Jurvetson - Flickr CC 2.0

Hear this sports announcer realize moment when ball hits his rental car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 12:00PM

Cricket ball hits announcer's rental car

We don't tend to cover a lot of cricket on Autoblog – the sport or the insect, really. It's just somewhat rare that either of them intrude upon the automotive domain. However, it's hard not to at least muster a grimace – or even a laugh – when watching this cricket announcer calling a game, only to see a ball sailing out of the stadium and land right on the roof of his rental car.

What are the odds?

It's amazing to watch as the sportscaster initially shows almost no response, and then the gravity of his misfortune starts to sink in. In just over a minute, he goes through a spectrum of emotions, with hints of anger and depression, plus outright denial by the end. Check out the video below to witness this announcer's fantastic reaction.

News Source: Sam Je via YouTube, Jalopnik

Infiniti Synaptiq concept 'spinal lock attachment' makes you one with your car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 10:00AM

A rendering of Infiniti's SYNAPTIQ concept created for the LA Auto Show Design Challenge.

The theme of this year's LA Design Challenge is "Sensing the future" and asks, "How will cars interact with us in 2029?" Infiniti has kicked off entries in the LA Auto Show's yearly visionary party with its low, wide and versatile Synaptiq concept. Less a car and more of a set of interlocking pieces, the Synaptiq is termed a "universal fuselage pod," a teardrop-shaped capsule with a liquid-crystal canopy that can be fitted to different propulsion devices: a Formula One-like chassis, a desert buggy rig and a jet airframe.

Yet it answers the challenge not by being able to fly through deserts and air, but with its human-machine interface. The driver/pilot wears a Synaptic S.U.I.T. (Symbiotic User Interface Technology) fitted with biometric sensors and synthetic muscles, and through a "spinal lock attachment," he or she is made one with the car.

You gaze upon its gewgaws in the gallery above, and read more about it and other concepts from Acura, CALTY, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peterbilt, Qoros, Subaru and Volkswagen that vied for the King of the Future title at last week's LA Auto Show.

Image Credit: Infiniti

Lincoln dons the Black Label

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 8:00AM

Custom Program Launches In December On MKZ, MKC

2015 Lincoln MKZ Black Label

"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms." – Paul Bucek

Lincoln is launching a Black Label service and customization program in December at 32 dealerships across the country in a bid to attract new and more upscale customers.

The Black Label program will be available on the MKC crossover and the MKZ sedan for US$5,995 (no word on Canadian availability yet) on top of the purchase price. It includes custom design themes – with colours and materials only available through Black Label – plus free routine service and car washes for four years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km). It will be offered through dealerships in California, Michigan, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Black Label was originally previewed during the week of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Lincoln said it would take more than a year to get the program launched. Though that seemed like a lengthy lead time, Lincoln said it had to upgrade dealerships, train employees and has added more choices to the program.

News Source: Lincoln

This Mercedes Silver Arrow image started out like A-ha's iconic 'Take On Me' music video

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 8:00PM

Iconic Racers Came Back To Live With Drawings, Photos And 3D Graphics

Mercedes composite images

The image above might look like a fairly interesting painting of some old Mercedes-Benz grand prix cars getting, but in reality, it showcases far more than just paint on canvas. To celebrate this year's 80th anniversary of its Silver Arrows racecars, Mercedes commissioned some very talented digital artists to craft a series of 12 depictions of important moments in the company's racing history to display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Silver Arrow legend starts with Mercedes showing up for the 1934 German Grand Prix with its W25, a car that weighed 751 kilograms – a kilo over the 750-kg (1,653-pound) maximum. Team boss Alfred Neubauer told his mechanics to strip the paint of the cars, leaving them in gleaming bare aluminum in order to shed a little weight. Apparently, it worked, because one of the Mercs took victory in the race and the look became part of the company's legacy.

What makes anniversary project's artistic process so intriguing is that each of these celebratory images is a composite of real-world photos of extras in period-correct dress and digital recreations of some of the cars and venues. As this video shows, it all starts with line drawings that remind us a lot of that iconic '80s music video, Take On Me by A-ha. All of these disparate techniques were eventually combined together to create these fascinating, hyper-realistic pictures of the past.

The video below takes you behind the scenes to show just some of the incredible work required to create this unique look. If you want to learn more about how all of this was done, there's no need to go hunting high and low, Mercedes has a website with additional reference images giving a deeper view of the process.

News Source: Mercedes-Benz via YouTube

We take these Acton Rocket Skates out for a spin

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 7:00PM

Acton Rocket Skates

Some of the most memorable Road Runner cartoons feature Wile E. Coyote strapping rockets onto his roller skates in ill-advised attempts to catching the blindingly fast bird. Things never seemed to work out for Wile E., but they do seem to be looking up for Acton founder Peter Treadway. The first iteration of his electric motorized skates made their debut on KickStarter in 2012. His latest model of Acton Rocket Skates exceeded their funding goal by over $500,000 and set the internet abuzz.

Watch Translogic host Jonathon Buckley do his best to stay upright on a pair of Acton Rocket Skates, and see if he has more success at it than the Looney Tunes bird chaser.

Lazzarini dreams up Ferrari-powered, Hennessey-tuned Alfa Romeo 4C

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 6:00PM

Alfa Romeo 4C Definitiva by Lazzarini Design

If there are any two firms you could count on to shoehorn a Ferrari V8 into the back of an Alfa Romeo 4C, they would almost certainly be Lazzarini Design and Hennessey Performance. The former already dreamt up doing the same with a Fiat 500, and the latter has been shattering records with a similar conversion performed on a Lotus Elise to turn it into the Venom GT. What you see here is their lovechild.

Designed by Lazzarini and enhanced by Hennessey, the 4C Definitiva does – at least in theory – what Maserati was not prepared to do: shoehorn a Ferrari-sourced V8 engine into the back of Alfa's nimble little sports car. The powerplant is borrowed from the Ferrari 458 Italia and tuned by Hennessey to produce a claimed 738 horsepower and 532 pound-feet of torque. In a package weighing just 953 kilograms (2,100 pounds), that's said to be enough to propel Frankenstein's four-wheeled monster to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in a scant 2.5 seconds and across the quarter-mile in 9.5 seconds at 137 mph. Those are LaFerrari levels of performance.

As you can see, the engine transplant calls for a widened rear track, and is accompanied by more aggressive aero as well. Of course, the design may be little more than an idea at the moment, but Lazzarini is apparently looking for customers to commission the first examples, at a reported price of 260,000 euros, which is about five times the going rate for a stock 4C and more than Ferrari gets for the 458 Speciale. Whether it's worth that much is one question. Whether Lazzarini and Hennessey could actually deliver on the promise is an even bigger one.

News Source: Lazzarini Design

Jaguar launches new classic racing series

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 3:59PM

Jaguar E-Types on track

One-make racing series have become all the rage for customers who want to actually race their exotic sports cars (or competition-spec versions of them, anyway). Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Aston Martin all offer such programs, and Porsche supports several. Now Jaguar is getting in on the action as well, but instead of turning one of its production models – we're looking at you, F-Type – into a spec racer, it's launching an historic racing series instead.

The 2015 Jaguar Heritage Challenge will be open to cars made by the Leaping Cat marque before 1966, including the C-Type, D-Type, E-Type and Mk I and MkII sedans. The series, which builds on the success of the previous Jaguar E-Type Challenge, will be administered by the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) based at Silverstone and will include four races in the UK and one in Europe, with the exact schedule still to be determined.

The program was announced at the launch of the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience, where Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations director John Edwards was also named chairman of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, replacing former Jaguar managing director Mike O'Driscoll who chaired the organization for the past five years.

If you'd like to know more about the heritage series, scroll down below for the details straight from the Leaper's mouth.

News Source: Jaguar

Jeep Wrangler likely to get aluminum body

Posted Nov 22nd 2014 3:00PM

Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition

Perhaps more than any other vehicle currently for sale in North America, the Jeep Wrangler is viewed by purist fans as a vehicle that simply must maintain the status quo. In this case, that means a body-on-frame design, solid axles, a relatively large engine sitting up front and a removable top. It's always been that way, and it always will be.

Maybe.

According to the most recent reports, the next-generation Jeep will continue to soldier forth with a full steel chassis underneath its stamped bodywork. The biggest change, reports Automotive News, will be that said panels will be hewn from aluminum instead of steel, a seismic shift of a transition not unlike what's happened with the new Ford F-150. Because it won't be a unibody, the SUV will likely continue to be assembled in Toledo, OH as it (almost) always has been – the latter has been a source of heartburn in recent weeks.

Assuming that these rumors prove accurate, they still don't answer all of the questions brand loyalists have put forth since rumours of the next-gen Wrangler started hitting the web. Will it keep solid axles? A six-cylinder engine? A manual transmission option? Only time will tell.
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