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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

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Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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Google to begin building its own self-driving cars

Google is to begin construction of its own self-driving vehicles, rather than modifying existing cars built by other manufacturers. The new electric vehicle, revealed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin at a California conference, will feature no steering wheel or pedals, with passengers restricted to a simple stop-go button interface.


“[The cars will] be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention,” revealed a Google statement. “They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work. The vehicles will be very basic – we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible – but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”
The vehicles’ speed will be capped at 40km/h, and there will be room for just two passengers with a few belongings. The controls will consist of a button to stop and start the car, and a screen to display the route.


Google plans to build approximately 100 of the vehicles to be used in a pilot program in California. Initial cars will retain manual controls, and will be tested by safety drivers, with a control-free version to follow.
The goal of the program is to remove human error from driving, using an array of laser and radar sensors to detect objects “to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions,” states the company’s self-driving blog. In theory, the program could increase mobility for elderly and disabled drivers, lower urban congestion and provide an alternative for drunk drivers.
Critics of the scheme highlight the lack of human input in an emergency situation, and suggest that drivers would become unaccustomed to driving their vehicles as a result.

28 May 2014


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