A steering wheel developed by Jaguar Land Rover could help keep drivers’ eyes on the road – by using heat to tell drivers when to turn left or right. Pic:SUPPLIED
A steering wheel developed by Jaguar Land Rover could help keep drivers’ eyes on the road – by using heat to tell drivers when to turn left or right. Pic:SUPPLIED

Google Maps warns of speed traps

Google Maps is introducing a feature that will alert drivers to roadblocks and speed cameras.  

The feature will be rolled out in 40 countries, including SA.

The current speed limit will be visible in the bottom corner of the app, while speed traps will show up as icons on the roads.

According to TechCrunch, the feature will be available on Android and iOS.

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Android users will also be able to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras, with iOS and Android users being able to see those updates.

In an interview on CapeTalk, Justice Project SA spokesperson Howard Dembovsky said the app is not breaking any laws.

“There is nothing in our law that prevents this. It is not defeating the ends of justice and there’s nothing new about it. This has been a feature in navigation devices from the outset,” said Dembovsky.

JLR takes hi-tech steering to next level

A steering wheel developed by Jaguar Land Rover could help keep drivers’ eyes on the road — by using heat to tell drivers when to turn left or right.

The research, in partnership with Glasgow University, has created a “sensory steering wheel”, parts of which can be quickly heated and cooled to inform drivers where to turn, when to change lane or to warn of an approaching junction.

Alexandros Mouzakitis, Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research senior manager, said: “Safety is a number one priority for Jaguar Land Rover and we are committed to continuously improving our vehicles with the latest technological developments as well as preparing the business for a self-driving future.

“The ‘sensory steering wheel’ is all part of this vision, with thermal cues able to reduce the amount of time drivers have to take their eyes off the road. Research has shown people readily understand the heating and cooling dynamics to denote directions and the subtlety of temperature change can be perfect for certain feedback that doesn’t require a more intrusive audio or vibration-based cue.”

MPerformance aggro for imminent BMW X3M and X4M. Pic:SUPPLIED
MPerformance aggro for imminent BMW X3M and X4M. Pic:SUPPLIED

M Performance Parts for X3M & X4M

New M Performance Parts for the BMW X3M and X4M have been unveiled. The components, made of polished carbon fibre, are aimed at greater visual emphasis and have been especially developed for the duo of SUVs.

The carbon fibre is found on the radiator grille, air breathers and as door sill finishers. The BMW X3 M can also be enhanced with a roof edge spoiler in high-gloss black. The exclusive rear fins for the BMW X4 M are also finished in high-gloss black.

Finally, the M Performance motor racing lettering for front, rear and side is recommended as a perfect supplement to the exterior parts. Providing a striking accentuation in the characteristic M colours complete with M Performance inscription, it establishes a clear link with motor racing while at the same time conveying a sense of exclusivity and individuality.

Thanks to the BMW LED door projectors it is possible to have the BMW M logo or other sports-style graphics projected onto the ground. For the interior a selection of M Performance components available include an M Performance Pro steering wheel with leather and carbon fibre Alcantara trim and shift paddles, central marking in motor racing blue and three-colour M seam, and velvet velour floor mats with embroidered M Performance inscription.

The prototype Skai is the flying vehicle to be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Pic:SUPPLIED
The prototype Skai is the flying vehicle to be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Pic:SUPPLIED

Hydrogen-powered transport drone shown

A multirotor hovercraft display model has been developed and is billed as the first flying vehicle to be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Though it never left the ground, a full-scale model of the aircraft dubbed “Skai” was recently unveiled outside BMW Group’s Designworks studio in Newbury Park, north of Los Angeles.

It’s about the size of a minivan, resembles a five-seat SUV with landing skids and an array of six horizontal rotors attached at the end of arms protruding from the roof of the craft. It is built by Alaka’i Technologies, a privately held company based in Massachusetts.

Powered by six hydrogen fuel cell batteries — one for each rotor engine — the aircraft are designed for a range of about 482km but are envisioned mainly for short urban hops or flights between nearby cities.

The display model is a replica of the company’s only full-size operational prototype, which is expected to begin remote-controlled test flights soon, said CEO Steve Hanvey, adding that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification is pending.

He said the relative simplicity of the aircraft and its operation compared with conventional helicopters should ease the FAA approval process as development progresses from experimental to commercial production.

Hanvey said he expects to make its first aircraft available for sale in early 2021, before ramping up production, envisaged at more than 10,000 vehicles a year, with a price that would be about the same as a luxury car.                                                

They will be built in three basic configurations — for taxi or personal passenger flights, for emergency medical transport and for cargo delivery.

For safety, they will be equipped with a redundant autopilot system, a propulsion design that can fly with the loss of at least one motor, and a parachute attached to the vehicle’s airframe. Although FAA rules will require pilot operation, developers expect the vehicles ultimately will be flown autonomously by preprogrammed guidance systems.

A pair of gearhead movies to debut in 2019

A film based on the 2008 novel titled The Art of Racing in the Rain will debut in August. It’s by Garth Stein and it follows the story of Denny Swift, a race car driver, as told through the eyes and mind of Enzo, Swift’s dog.

Enzo believes in reincarnation, and throughout the plot, prepares for his next life as a human. Thus, Enzo is a humble pup who works to help Swift through life’s challenges on and off the racetrack.

Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) and (This Is Us) will play Swift, while Amanda Seyfried will portray Swift’s love interest. As for Enzo the dog, Kevin Costner will lend his voice to tell the story.

While the film isn’t dedicated to racing, it should provide a wonderful backstory for enthusiasts as we watch Enzo’s storytelling unfold. Some of the cars look wonderful, too, including a few vintage Porsches, Ferraris, a BMW race car, and more.

Perhaps if The Art of Racing in the Rain doesn’t rev your soul, Ford vs Ferrari should prove more action-packed. It chronicles the famous 1960s Le Mans rivalry between the two brands where Ford GT40s annihilated Ferrari’s P4s.

Ford vs Ferrari is set for a November release.