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Friday
Jan022015

“X” Marks the Spot

By Christopher A. Sawyer

LiquidPiston, Inc. recently unveiled its X Mini 70 cc four-stroke engine, which has just two primary moving parts and a box volume of 6.6 x 6.2 x 5.4 inches. At an indicated 10,000 rpm the prototype produces 3.5 horsepower and weighs about 4 pounds. When development is complete, LiquidPiston expects the weight to drop to three pounds, and power output to increase to five horsepower at up to 15,000 rpm. 

The engine design is based on a LiquidPiston-patented thermodynamic cycle and engine architecture that, in the past, spawned compact, low vibration, high-efficiency 40 and 70 hp compression ignition diesel engines. This is the first time LiquidPiston has paired its concept with both downsizing and spark ignition. 

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Friday
Dec192014

Third Time the Charm?

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Big changes are ahead for SYNC, Ford’s in-house infotainment system. Originally built upon Microsoft-sourced code and expanded to include the more powerful — and exasperating — MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems, SYNC 3 will be dramatically simplified and built around a kernel supplied by Blackberry-owned QNX. This is the same platform on which Chrysler’s UConnect is built, and the interface, though looking less cartoonish, is built around the same large buttons and simple graphics. MyFord Touch, on the other hand, has exasperated users to the point that it has seriously harmed Ford’s and Lincoln’s consumer reliability and quality scores.

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Friday
Dec192014

Parking Made Easy

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is becoming one of the most important auto shows in the world. It’s here that automakers trot out their latest electronic technology, and parade it in front of the technical press while hoping for an image rub-off with the general public. And, just like major consumer auto shows the world over, releasing information early has become part of the process.

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Friday
Dec192014

On a Clear Day You Can See… Everything

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Jaguar’s suite of new visualization concepts may further blur the borders between virtual reality games and real life by giving the driver 360-degree vision and a virtual chase car to follow in urban areas.The idea behind these technologies is to reduce driver distraction by keeping his eyes on the road, and making visible that which otherwise would be hidden.

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Friday
Dec052014

High-Resolution LED Headlamps

LED headlights are just making their presence known, and Mercedes is already showing what the future may hold for this technology. While the gridded high-beam module of its CLS has 24 LEDs, Mercedes is showing a light unit with 84 LEDs per headlamp and is predicting that, in the medium term, each will have as many as 1024 pixels per LED, and provide a much greater light output without dazzling oncoming drivers.

The drive behind adoption of high-resolution LEDs in Germany is down to the fact that 40% of all fatalities occur on country roads at night, despite these same roads accounting for just 20% of total mileage. Its current Multibeam LED headlamps allow individual control of the LEDs in the gridded light source, which allows high beams to remain on by masking oncoming vehicles from the glare. Soon, the company says it will add a High Range LED high beam capable of reaching out 600 meters (1,968 ft.) without dazzling oncoming traffic. It is the maximum illumination level allowed in Europe, no matter the light source.

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