(via Faris Yakob)
The first episode of BMW Documentaries: Wherever You Want To Go launches today.
It has Buzz Aldrin in it. He’s completely awesome.
For the last 100 years, cities have been designed around cars.
In 1800, only 3% of people lived in cities.
In 2008, we became a primarily urban species for the first time – more of us now live in cities than in rural areas.
Soon, many of us will live in megacities [cities with more than 10 million people] and living at this level of human density will represent a shift of similar magnitude.
So, when BMW wanted to explore the future of mobility, we started with The New City.
When we developed the concept, we wanted to create a documentary that was of and for the web.
Content that reflected how content is viewed, discussed, and propagated online.
The films are designed to be non-linear, hypertextual. So you can explore additional pieces of content around the primary narrative, in real time, inside the video player, and then jump straight back into the primary narrative.
The films are designed to precipitate discussion from different points of view, so, by logging in with Facebook, you can comment on specific moments, creating conversations around them.
The future of cars: drivers not needed.
I just stumbled over this headline on CNN. If you take out the human interaction with the machine, how do sell that to the world? In theory it might be an intriguing concept. But to me, that’s not sexy anymore. Feels like a video game that plays for you. Other industries are trying to get you even more involved and connected and the automobile industry takes it out of the equation? I don’t know if they are really onto something.
Electric vehicles had many advantages over their competitors in the early 1900s. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars. Changing gears on gasoline cars was the most difficult part of driving, while electric vehicles did not require gear changes. While steam-powered cars also had no gear shifting, they suffered from long start-up times of up to 45 minutes on cold mornings. The steam cars had less range before needing water than an electric’s range on a single charge. The only good roads of the period were in town, causing most travel to be local commuting, a perfect situation for electric vehicles, since their range was limited. Read more here. (via liftlab)
- Electrobat Automobile, the world’s first electric car by the Baker Motor Vehicle Company developed in 1899 (geteconow.com)
- Toyota announces 6 new hybrids, electric cars (money.cnn.com)
- China: Aims High For Plug-In Electric Vehicles, But Can It Deliver? (eon.businesswire.com)
I need a minute to think about this innovation…(read more…)
A big concern on top of urban transportation planner’s mind is how to speed up the traffic: putting more buses on the road will jam the roads even worse and deteriorate the air; building more subway is costly and time consuming. Well, here is an cheaper, greener and fast alternative to lighten their mind up a bit: the straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District (bjnews).
What you can see from the video is traffic jams, what you can hear is noise, and there is also invisible air pollution. At present, there are mainly 4 types of public transits in China: subway, light-rail train, BRT, and normal bus. They have advantages and disadvantages, for example, subway costs a lot and takes long time to build; BRT takes up road spaces and produces noises as well as pollution to the air. How to develop environmental-friendly public transportation? Straddling bus provides a solution. Let’s watch a demonstration.
The straddling bus combines the advantages of BRT, it is also a substitution for BRT and subway in the future. As you all know, the majority vehicle on the road is car, the shortest vehicle is also car. Normally our overpass is 4.5-5.5 m high. The highlight innovation of straddling bus is that it runs above car and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road spaces, efficient and high in capacity. It can reduce up to 25-30% traffic jams on main routes. Running at an average 40 km/h, it can take 1200 people at a time, which means 300 passengers per cart.
Another strength of straddling bus is its short construction life cycle: only 1 year to build 40 km. Whereas building 40-km subway will take 3 years at best. Also the straddling bus will not need the large parking lot that normal buses demand. It can park at its own stop without affecting the passage of cars. This is what the interior looks like: it has huge skylight that will eliminate passengers’ sense of depression when enter.
There are two parts in building the straddling bus. One is remodeling the road, the other is building station platforms. Two ways to remodel the road: we can go with laying rails on both sides of car lane, which save 30% energy; or we can paint two white lines on both sides and use auto-pilot technology in the bus, which will follow the lines and run stable.
There are also two ways in dealing with station platform. One is to load/unload through the sides; the other is using the built-in ladder so that passengers can go up and to the overpass through the ceiling door.
Straddling bus is completely powered by municipal electricity and solar energy system. In terms of electricity, the setting is called relay direct current electrification. The bus itself is electrical conductor, two rails built on top to allow the charging post to run along with the bus, the next charging post will be on the rails before the earlier one leaves, that is why we call it relay charging. It is new invention, not available yet in other places.
The set here is super capacitor, a device that can charge, discharge and store electricity quickly. The power it stores during the stop can support the bus till the next stop where another round of charging takes place, achieving zero toxic gas throughout the process.
About the ultrasonic waves put forth from the end of the bus, that is to keep those high cars or trucks away from entering the tunnel. Using laser ray to scan, cars get too close to the passage will activate the alarm on the bus end. Inside the bus, there are turning lights that indicate a the bus is intending to make a turn to warn the cars inside. Also radar scanning system is embedded on the walls to warn cars from getting too close to the bus wheels.
Nowadays many big cities have remodeled their traffic signaling system, to prioritize public buses, that is to say when a bus reaches a crossing, red light on the other side of the fork will turn on automatically to give buses the right of way. Our straddling bus can learn from this BRT method. The car can make the turn with the bus if that is the direction it wants to go too; if not, the red light will be on to stop the cars beneath while the bus take the turn.
The bus is 6 m in width and 4-4.5 m high. How will people get off the bus if an accident happens to such a huge bus? Here I introduce the most advanced escaping system in the world. In the case of fire or other emergencies, the escaping door will open automatically. I believe many of you have been on a plane. Planes are equipped with inflated ladder so people can slide down on it in emergency. I put the escaping concept into the straddling bus. It is the fastest way to escape.
The bus can save up to 860 ton of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 ton of carbon emission. Presently we have passed the first stage demonstration and will get through all of the technical invalidation by the end of August. Beijing’s Mentougou District is carrying out a eco-community project, it has already planned out 186 km for our straddling bus. Construction will begin at year end. (via chinahush)
One of my favorite ways to learn about innovation is to observe real world cases of business transformation. A great comparative case study can be found in the auto-industry, one of the big industrial objects of innovation desire.
read my post on hubbleinnovations.com
Remote car starters have long been a favorite among denizens of cold climates. Now you can use your iPhone to warm up your engine remotely, thanks to the Viper SmartStart from Directed Electronics. The system, which requires hardware that must be professionally installed in your car, also lets you lock and unlock doors, pop the trunk, and set off a panic alarm. Unlike existing remote starters, it works from anywhere, as long as your phone and car have cellular connections. Cost: $499 for the complete kit; if you already have a compatible Viper system, you can pay $299 to add the cellular component. (via inc.com)
The Leaf will go for 100 miles in standard driving conditions on a single charge of the lithium-ion battery that powers the engine, at a cost of $0.90 per recharge. It is said to accelerate like a V6. Production of the Leaf at Smyrna, USA, is not expected to start until 2012. Read more about it on Huffington Post.