Robotics Expert Brings His Childhood Fantasy to Life

Typically, it is cartoonists, animators, CGI artists, writers, toy makers and theme park creators who spark the imaginations of children and the child-like awe of adults. However, in Japan, it is the engineers and robotics experts who brought this dream to life—in the style of the Transformers, a team of dreamers has built a human-like robot that can change into a sports car. And it can do it in about one minute.

The robot is named “J-deite-Ride” and was created by Brave Robotics. The company’s CEO, Kenji Ishida, is the man behind this futuristic fantasy. As a child Ishida was a fan of all the animated movies with transforming robots.

Ishida’s real-life transforming robot is white and blue and 12 feet tall. It can also carry two passengers in either of its two forms. Ishida has been criticized by some for creating an “expensive toy”, but Ishida told Reuters his intention was to inspire others.

J-deite Ride was developed along with Asratec, the robot consulting firm and amusement ride manufacturer, Sansei Technologies.

Under Pressure Regulatory Pressure Jaguar Culls Its Heard

Auto maker Jaguar is eliminating the its XE and XF S models, which employ their supercharged 6-cylinder engine. Jaguar sited poor sales as well as emissions regulations as their reasoning. The nearest replacements are the 300 models which employ Jag’s 296bhp 4-cylinder turbo. The same engine from their entry level F-Type.

In the wake of these model eliminations we might see more V6 models taken off-market. Much of this could be related to new emissions tests that have increasingly tough targets for automakers to meet, Jaguar may need to eliminate more models to help bring down the companies average CO2 output.

A Jaguar spokesman said: “We have introduced the 296bhp 2.0L Ingenium, our most powerful four-cylinder engine yet, at a better price point [than the S models] which we are directing customers to, [so that they are] still getting a Jaguar driving experience but more efficiently.”

These New Roads Are Electrifying, Literally

You’ve heard of hybrid cars, you’ve heard of electric cars, but have you heard of electric roads? Well, the world’s first electrified road that will charge electric cars and trucks as they drive over is no open outside of Stockholm, Sweden. While this initial stretch comes in at only just over 2 miles, the government has plans for a 12,500-mile project.

How does it work? Unsurprisingly to some, it works via an embedded electric rail. This will work, somewhat, like some electric mass transit already does. To take advantage vehicles will have to install a special arm that makes contact with the rail as the vehicle drives, thus charging the battery. While this new kind of road coasts a seemingly undoable $1.2 million per kilometer, that still makes it 50 times cheaper (if you can believe it) than an urban tram line.

The developers of the road say the technology helps eliminate the need for roadside vehicle charging stations, which can delay travelers while they wait for their vehicles to charge. It also means car batteries can be smaller since they wouldn’t have to store as much charge, which would help cut battery and manufacturing costs.

Developers of the new road report that the new technology will help reduce the need for roadside vehicle charging stations. These stations can delay travelers and have stopped the world from viewing electric cars as viable, long distance options. They also noted if these roads were installed all over, it could reduce the cost of cars themselves as batteries could be smaller.

Finally, the developers noted that the roads are built in such a way one could walk barefoot over them at no consequence to one’s health.

Aston Martin’s New Uber-Luxury SUV Gasoline Only

Aston Martin’s first SUV will only be available as a gasoline model, which is a change from the car makers initial plans when they previewed the model as an electric. The SUV will be launched next year into the ultraluxury SUV playing field, where it will contest  with the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, a Ferrari SUV and high-end Range Rovers.

The new model was previewed in 2015 at the Geneva auto show. It premiered as the two-door DBX electric-powered concept. Aston Martin’s plans have changed in the interim and there are no plans for a full-electric production model. The auto maker also ruled out diesel and plug-in hybrid versions.

Aston Martin favored development of an EV platform for its Lagonda brand. Lagonda was launched at the Geneva auto show in March along with the Vision sedan concept.

Bentley was the first ultraluxury brand to launch an SUV in 2016 with the Bentayga which initially offered only a 12-cylinder gasoline engine–which is unlikely to excite a fuel-efficiency minded market, but has since added the brand’s first ever diesel and a gasoline plug-in hybrid.

Careem, Middle-East ride-hailing service, to raise $500 Million in New Capital

Middle East ride-hailing app Careem wants to raise as much as $500 million in new funds from investors.

Careem, Uber’s rival in the region, is testing the waters for potential investors and hopes to drum up its targeted $500 million in a new funding, according to anonymous sources.

Some of the money could go towards new business ventures. Careem may be looking to diversify its asset base ahead of a potential initial public offering. Careem has mentioned on numerous occasions they may go public.

Careem, who is serving 90 different cities, said it is eager to enter new markets. These include Tunisia and Algeria. They’ve already started the move to diversify by announcing the acquisition of restaurant listing reservation platform RoundMenu. With this addition Careem hopes to experiment with food delivery similar to Uber Eats.

The Nissan Leaf Gets Upgrades

While other big names like Tesla steal most of the press it turns out the Nissan Leaf is the best selling electric world-wide and its getting an update with almost 300k Leaf models sold.

After seven years without a design refresh, the automaker dropped a new and improved model to continue to dominate the EV world. Although, that task will be a lot tougher thanks to increased competition.

Believe it or not the Leaf has gone seven years without a design refreshment. This task may prove tough with so many competitors.

The new Leaf starts at $30,000 and has a 150-mile range.

Besides traveling farther on the road, the car is an all-around improvement over the outgoing version. It has a stiffer chassis, better steering, a way better design and Nissan’s first foray into semi-autonomous driver (optional feature).

McLaren Release Unique Limited Run of Vehicles

McLaren has launched an extra unique model of its 570GT referred to as the MSO Black Collection, which will get extra usual equipment and bespoke options from the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) department.

Super Car maker McLaren has a new, unique model of their 570GT–known as the MSO Black Collection. These special models will also come with special options available. Only 100 of these absolute collectors vehicles will be made.

Inside, there are black semi-aniline leather-based (a harder leather-based subject matter) seats with Alcantara sections and a black Alcantara-wrapped wheel. The external is done in a black paint that’s bespoke to MSO, whilst the key may be completed in an identical color.

No adjustments had been made to the 570GT’s powertrain, so it sticks with the Working automotive maker’s twin-turbocharged three. Eight-liter V8 engine, offering the rear wheels with as much as 562bhp and 443lb feet of torque by way of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Prices for the 570GT MSO Black Collection get started at £179,950 – £22,950 greater than the usual automotive. First deliveries are due in the summertime.

Jeff Gordon Tops 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Ballot

Jeff Gordon is four-time champ. He started his racing career at an age when many drivers retire. He created a stock car super team. Gordon’s overall work is now the standard by which stock car teams and businesses are measured.

Jeff Gordon, Harry Gant, John Holman, Ralph Moody and Kirk Shelmerdine. These NASCAR super stars represent the five new nominees into the Class of 2019 for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

In Charlotte this January 20 new nominees will be introduced into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They will be introduced at an event in May. The selection committee represents people from all walks of NASCAR from pit crew members, to mechanics and even fans.

This year’s complete list of nominees features Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, Red Farmer, Raymond Fox, Gant, Joe Gibbs, Gordon, Holman, Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Bobby Labonte, Hershel McGriff, Moody, Roger Penske, Larry Phillips, Jack Roush, Ricky Rudd, Shelmerdine, Mike Stefanik and Waddell Wilson.

Audi A6 Gets Upgrades

Audi’s new A6 will get a “mild-hybrid technology” upgrade–the upgrades will be significant compared to the old model and will be revealed in Geneva.

Audi said the A6 will be available with the same autonomous driving capability on the A8 sedan and A7 fastback. The sensors bring more active safety functions. No hands-free driving from Audi until legislation changes though.

One feature gets the new model to closer to self-driving, an auto park feature.  On the new A6 is the ability to command the car to self-park via a button on the myAudi smartphone app. The car will follow the command only after everyone has exited the vehicle.

The car will feature two 3.0-liter V-6 engines. These will come in either gasoline or diesel, both fitted with mild-hybrid technology that delivers electric power via a 48-volt belt-driven start-alternator. The lithium ion battery collects energy that would be wasted in braking and helps the car under acceleration which ultimately reduces fuel usage.

BMW to Build Electric Minis for China Market

BMW says it’s in considering electric models of its Mini cars for the China market. This would be the first time the vehicles have been made outside Europe. BMW it has signed a letter of intent with a Chinese manufacturer named Great Wall Motor.

China is the world’s largest market auto market; BMW was able  to account for 560,000 vehicles in that market last year. About 35,000 were Minis. BMW already works with the manufacturer named Brilliance from China.

The company says its main Mini plant in Oxford, England, will start producing the first battery electric models next year.

BMW said making Minis in China wouldn’t call into question its commitment to manufacturing in Britain. They noted they had made “significant investments”, insinuating that they wouldn’t abandon the UK market.