1分快三玩法Aston Martin’s first motorbike is a conceptual masterpiece for connoisseurs
Aston Martin’s first motorbike is a conceptual masterpiece for connoisseurs
November 27, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium
British marque Aston Martin has been increasingly pushing the creative design portfolio of late. Having recently announced a luxury submarine with Triton and a hybrid-electric Volante Vision concept vehicle that takes off vertically, the luxury carmaker has revealed plans for the AMB 001 – its first motorcycle, designed in collaboration with iconic British performance-engineering motorcycle brand Brough Superior. If James Bond swaps his Aston for two wheels, expect the AMB 001 to be 007’s preferred ride.
“This is what we believe a cutting-edge design motorcycle should be and we are very proud to see the Aston Martin wings on a motorcycle for the first time,” says Aston Martin chief creative officer and executive vice-president Marek Reichman of the vehicle, which is presented in the official Aston Martin racing colours of stirling green and lime essence, and which features matte-black wheels. “The finished product is truly a beautiful motorcycle – a design and engineering work of art.”
1分快三玩法The AMB 001 displays a level of elegance not ordinarily found on racing bikes. Beauty and power are the order of the day for this track-only racer composed of carbon fibre, titanium and billet aluminium. With a 977cc V-twin engine and a turbo-charged output of 180hp, the bike boasts a strong, sculptural body form accentuated by its carbon fibre fin – a design inspired by the side strake on Aston Martin cars – that runs along the full length of the stirling green tank, passing under the saddle and out onto the rear, creating a “flowing form” along the top.
1分快三玩法“Aston Martin may be 106 years old, but the forward momentum of this company is inspiring,” says Reichman. “The same people who work on the design of our cars have worked on the AMB 001. Unlike at other car companies, our designers have the full breadth of experience and I think this is showcased in this aspirational bike.”
Hand-assembled in the Brough Superior factory in Toulouse, France, only 100 models of the AMB 001 will be made. Expect to pay a little more than HK$1 million, with 20% value-added tax. Deliveries will begin around this time next year.
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1分快三玩法Porsche and Boeing envisage a future of luxurious aerial seduction
Porsche and Boeing envisage a future of luxurious aerial seduction
November 13, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium
While notions of flying cars and air taxis have been the sci-fi darlings of the world’s manufacturers and visual media over the last decade, a study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the urban air mobility market will really pick up speed after 2025. As a result, German carmaker Porsche is collaborating with aerospace giant Boeing to explore the premium urban air mobility market and has debuted sleek, seductive images of its design.
1分快三玩法“Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility,” says Detlev von Platen, a member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche AG. “In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel. We are combining strengths to address a potential key market segment of the future.”
The study, which considers the market potential for such premium vehicles, suggests urban air mobility solutions will transport passengers quicker and more efficiently than the current methods of terrestrial transport – at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.
It’s not like Porsche is the first to jump on the air mobility sector; flying car start-up Kitty Hawk, backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, recently revealed its latest vertical take-off and landing craft, while Germany’s Volocopter demonstrated an air taxi earlier this year. (Airbus and Uber have both promised flying taxis in the near future as well.)
For Boeing, the partnership provides “an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand”, according to Steve Nordlund, vice-president of Boeing NeXt, an organisation that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. He adds, “Porsche and Boeing together bring style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”
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Get on board with the latest aviation development in our sci-fi world – passenger drones
Get on board with the latest aviation development in our sci-fi world – passenger drones
May 29, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium
It’s official: passenger drones are set to be the next big thing in aviation. Renowned brands from Airbus to Ehang and Uber are deep into the safety testing phase and are seeking approval for a range of autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) designs that have wowed trade fairs around the world. There are quadcopters, multicopters, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) models, and winged drones, all utilising a number of stunning advances made over the past 20 years in aerodynamics.
Amid much fanfare, China’s Ehang began flight-testing the Ehang 184 single-person AAV in February. A super-cool single-seat VTOL, it certainly caters to our collective futuristic imagination. Guangzhou vice-mayor Wang Dong waved the flag for the nation – high above the hazardous “dead man’s zone” from 30 to 300 feet – at speeds of up to 80mph. “Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles,” says Ehang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu. “I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.”
What the future holds is, well, somewhat up in the air. While there’s collective recognition of the great potential of urban air mobility to improve our lives, regulatory bodies and consumer mindsets (cyber-attacks, anyone?) are still in need of a lot of convincing – and the various players are experiencing a restless wait on the tarmac to be cleared for take-off.
1分快三玩法Most companies and countries are looking to bodies such as the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US for leadership on the manifold issues. And for a company like Airbus, at least, that seems to be a good thing.“In our communication with the FAA, we have found that they are eager to find regulatory solutions to the complex problems around public safety and acceptance,” says Zach Lovering, project executive of the aerospace corporation’s A³ winged drone, Vahana.
1分快三玩法The Airbus A³ Vahana stands a good chance of getting off the ground before its competitors for one very crucial reason. “As an airplane, Vahana will be type-certified to fly passengers,” confirms Lovering, who envisions the “safe, reliable and quiet” drone being used by everyday commuters as a cost-comparable replacement for short-range urban transport methods such as cars or trains; as a cargo delivery platform; as an ambulance; as a search-and-rescue vehicle; as a mobile hospital; as a limousine; and even as a tool to deploy modular infrastructure at disaster sites.
However, the regulatory framework for copter-type drones like the Ehang 184 clearly needs work before such aircraft can conform to the standards of airworthiness signified by the FAA’s type certificate. Among the policy hurdles facing products like the Ehang 184, the Workhorse SureFly and the Astro Passenger Drone in the US are the current rules stating that aircraft carrying passengers must be under “operational control” – not quite the same as a human pilot being able to take over the controls from a remote command station.
That said, Ehang recently struck a deal with the Nevada governor’s office to develop the Ehang 184 at the state’s FAA-approved test site, marking a step in the right direction.
1分快三玩法Astro Aerospace, under the Northrop Grumman umbrella, is so confident in the prospects that it went public last year on the strength of its 16-rotor VTOL. Cynics may see a looming disaster akin to the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, since drone taxis could, at worst, remain grounded due to regulatory and utility issues. But Astro is upbeat. “We’re excited to be giving the opportunity to everyone who has dreamed of flying the ability to experience the thrill in a safe and controlled environment with the Astro Passenger Drone,” says Astro CEO Bruce Bent.
1分快三玩法Interestingly, in Hong Kong, the Civil Aviation Department’s (CAD) provisions for airworthiness equally apply to manned and unmanned aircraft. So does this make Hong Kong a surprise candidate for a passenger drone boom? That notion may be pie in the sky, again because of safety concerns. “The pilotless aircraft or remotely controlled aircraft may have many limitations with the ‘see-and-avoid’ concept… It may take a while before the International Civil Aviation Organisation will issue common standards for the world to follow,” remarks a CAD spokesman.
1分快三玩法Infrastructure is another hurdle – one that, along with downtime, insurance rates and electricity, ramps up the cost of the technology. To differentiate it from regular air transport, drone operators will need to build drone ports in both population centres and popular destinations – which will be right up there with the world’s most expensive real estate.
Hence, luxury rides are set to be the first phase of this new market. This will enable companies to establish infrastructure and flight paths while negotiating with aviation bodies for more widespread and lower-priced fleets in the future. “As with nearly all new tech, we’ll charge a premium at first, since we’ll only be able to serve a small portion of the market, and as our operations expand, we’ll serve more,” says Lovering.
The appeal for executives and socialites is obvious: bypass the road traffic and clear your head with a 360-degree surround view. Some may be able to set up their own mini drone port on their extensive grounds, while penthouses in cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai or Tokyo might one day incorporate flight ports, leading to a new era of Blade Runner-style architecture.
For the not-quite-so-rich, it’ll be a matter of taking a ride to the nearest drone port, and then hopping into a waiting AAV for the glorious ride to the airport, train station, luxury mall or country mansion – where a masked ball surely awaits.
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1分快三玩法The venerable carmaker announces its plans for air taxis within a decade
The venerable carmaker announces its plans for air taxis within a decade
September 12, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium
The idea of flying vehicles still feels like science fiction, but the reality is quickly approaching us. Every potential manufacturer, from Boeing to Airbus, entrepreneurs including Larry Page at Google and Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and start-ups including Uber, Volocopter and Chinese firm eHang are all attempting to take a leading role in the personal air mobility space of tomorrow. Entire cities are at it, too; Dubai staged its first air-taxi trial last year in a bid to become a centre of innovation for robotics and drones.
1分快三玩法The latest contender to toss its name into the ring – or, more accurately, the air – is Rolls-Royce PLC, the arm of the prestigious automaker that also deals with sectors like nuclear power, jet engine technology and aeronautics. The engine-maker says it has designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi, or what it calls an “electric vertical take-off and landing” vehicle (EVTOL), that could carry four to five passengers a distance of around 500 miles while travelling at potential speeds of 402km/h. (By comparison, Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk flying air-taxi project is projected to travel at up to 180km/h). The vehicle would use gas turbine technology to generate enough electricity to power six electric propulsion units; there would also be an on-board battery to provide additional climb power. Rolls-Royce has also equipped the craft with wings that rotate 90 degrees, meaning the vehicle could take off and land vertically.
“We believe that given the work we are doing today to develop hybrid electric propulsion capabilities, this model could be available by the early to mid-2020s, provided that a viable commercial model for its introduction can be created,” the company says. Whatever the upshot, electrification is the inescapable route that industrial technology markets are taking – and far from being science fiction, today’s propulsion revolution is as real as a Rolls.
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1分快三玩法NASA’s new supersonic X-plane goes into production through Lockheed Martin
NASA’s new supersonic X-plane goes into production through Lockheed Martin
July 4, 2018 / by Ben Berg
“I feel the need… the need for speed!” Tom Cruise famously exclaimed in the 1986 film Top Gun. While he was talking about jet fighter aircraft from the surrounds of a military academy, the reality for commercial travellers on global flight paths is that despite upgrades in the comfort and fuel efficiency of aeroplanes over the last two decades, they haven’t gotten any faster. As a result, speed has become the new commercial gain line after so long in stasis.
The only way to get there remains supersonic flight, despite Concorde going out of service in 2003. NASA has started production of a plane that will fly faster than the speed of sound, but unlike Concorde, the sound of the sonic boom will be “nearly silent”.
1分快三玩法If all goes to plan, the piloted X-plane will be built and delivered to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021, with the aim of gaining approval for commercial use by 2025. The reduced boom will make overland flights viable – something Concorde could never achieve, which meant mostly flying transatlantic routes. Concorde flew New York to London in three-and-a-half hours for a flight that ordinarily takes around seven hours.
1分快三玩法“It’s super-exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale,” says Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics research at NASA. “Our long tradition of solving the technical barriers of supersonic flight to benefit everyone continues.”
NASA has given Lockheed Martin Aeronautics a contract for nearly US$250 million to build the single-pilot plane, expected to reach speeds of 940 miles per hour at a cruising altitude of 55,000 feet, compared to around 35,000 feet for conventional airliners. It will create a sound about as loud as a car door closing instead of a sonic boom.
Beginning in mid-2022, NASA is set to fly the X-plane over select US cities and collect information about community responses to the flights. This data will be provided to US and international regulators for their use in considering new sound-based rules regarding overland supersonic flight, which could enable new commercial cargo and passenger markets in faster-than-sound air travel. The world is changing – and quickly.
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After more than 20 years in the luxury yacht industry, Peter Mahony relocated from London to Singapore in 2013, working for Princess and Sunseeker in sales and management roles. In October, he took up a new Hong Kong-based position as the general manager of Benetti Asia, with a focus on supporting China-related markets in addition to the wider Asia-Pacific region
1分快三玩法After more than 20 years in the luxury yacht industry, Peter Mahony relocated from London to Singapore in 2013, working for Princess and Sunseeker in sales and management roles. In October, he took up a new Hong Kong-based position as the general manager of Benetti Asia, with a focus on supporting China-related markets in addition to the wider Asia-Pacific region
April 6, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium
How would you classify or segment Benetti’s customers in Asia?
We’re very fortunate to have a very strong group of Benetti owners throughout our region; their yachts are often cruising and being enjoyed by their owners and guests. As a custom builder, each of our yachts is unique – and so are their owners. It’s impossible to categorise them and their use. It’s the immense diversity, flexibility and capability of our yachts that appeals to this market, as well as the ultimate luxury and sophistication that is the hallmark of the Benetti range.
What are the differences between the Hong Kong and Mainland China markets?
1分快三玩法I wouldn’t say there’s too much difference between the two markets. Many of our owners enjoy their yachts almost every week and use them for day-boating around the region. But with the extensive capability of cruising in a Benetti, our fleet can also be found cruising the distant waters throughout Asia and beyond.
A number of Chinese conglomerates have taken action to get into the business, from acquiring famous brands – for example, Shangdong Heavy acquired Ferretti in 2012 and China Zhongwang acquired a majority stake in SilverYachts in 2017 – to building yachts in China for the domestic market. How’s China doing in terms of branding and manufacturing?
1分快三玩法The luxury yacht market has evolved over many, many years and is now a huge global market. Each shipyard works hard for its own identity and unique proposition. This has driven the quality, size and design of yachts to new heights – and we’re still developing. Every year, we introduce new concepts and new styles. Our recently presented Oasis and Se77antasette ships show yet another level of yacht design and building. It’s only natural for Chinese conglomerates to see this industry as excellent diversification for their portfolios and an opportunity for involvement in an ultimate luxury arena – and I’m sure this trend will continue in the future as the Chinese shipbuilding market grows and takes its full share of the marketplace.
How strongly does the overall world economy affect demand for yachts?
Confidence is key to all high-value luxury brands; when the markets are suffering, so do the order books. When one market is suffering, though, another can be booming, so in the end we focus where the interest is and keep moving forward.
Now based in Hong Kong, do you get the sense that it’s the boating capital of Asia?
It is certainly the regional hub and we have a very high concentration of ethical industry professionals here, which is of great benefit to the potential and existing yacht owners.
Especially in Hong Kong, space is critical and seems to be more difficult to secure than other places in the world. Does the city face a shortage of moorings? What are the main barriers to entry for boating enthusiasts?
1分快三玩法It’s true that there are restrictions here that are challenging boat owners – the lack of available berthing is the principal problem. There are industry lobby groups working to try to change this, as well as some operational and cruising restrictions. But with a Benetti, you aren’t restricted to one area of boating, as our yachts have extensive range and can easily cruise far from Hong Kong. We’re also seeing local buyers expanding their fleet and buying additional superyachts for other areas, such as the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Because the relationship for a Benetti owner is direct with the shipyard for after-sales and service, we have the capability to look after our yachts wherever they are in the world. So the owners aren’t limited to cruising where their dealer is based.
Today’s high-net-worth individuals not only invest in luxury, but also tend to demonstrate more social impact than before by promoting things like sport and the arts. Can luxury boating fit into this by playing a cultural role?
Anyone who has visited Monaco, Cannes, Florida and the Caribbean will have seen the significant role that superyacht and megayacht ownership plays – not only in creating commercial income by supporting infrastructure, restaurants and shops, but also as a backdrop to some of the most stunning locations in the world. These wonderful craft create excitement and intrigue wherever they go.
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1分快三玩法With automakers under pressure to switch to fully electric-powered units, the race is on to produce the hypercars of the future. Newcomers like Tesla, Chinese start-up NIO and American muscle-car maker Genovation are among those setting the pace, while Ferrari and other established supercar brands are playing catch-up
With automakers under pressure to switch to fully electric-powered units, the race is on to produce the hypercars of the future. Newcomers like Tesla, Chinese start-up NIO and American muscle-car maker Genovation are among those setting the pace, while Ferrari and other established supercar brands are playing catch-up
April 6, 2018 / by Simon Webster
They may not emit the blood-curdling sound of traditional muscle cars, but this new generation of electric-powered supercars is promising to be just as fast – and stylish. With governments around the world introducing legislation to outlaw the internal combustion engine in the coming decades, the auto industry is undergoing its biggest revolution since Henry Ford ushered in assembly-line mass production with the Model T in 1913.
1分快三玩法Thanks to hybrid or all-electric engines and online connectivity, cars will be environmentally cleaner, more energy-efficient, smarter and safer in the years ahead. The days of the gas-guzzling, high-powered V12 engine may be numbered, but huge strides in technology are allowing designers and engineers to produce cars that are equally fast yet tick all the environmental boxes.
Tesla, a pioneer in mass production of electric cars, has announced the Roadster, which the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, says will deliver a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars” when it’s launched in 2020. He says that it will reach 60mph in less than two seconds and have a top speed of 250mph, making it one of the fastest road cars ever built. Almost more importantly, it will boast a range of 620 miles on a single charge, showing that tech engineers are overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of electric cars – the distance they can travel before being plugged in for a top-up.
Hot on Tesla’s heels comes NIO, the Chinese tech start-up that has competed in Formula E since the series was launched in 2014; this year, the brand has 30-year-old British driver Oliver Turvey and Italian veteran Luca Filippi racing for it. NIO’s EP9, whose power train boasts 1360hp, has a top speed of 194mph and 265 miles of range. Proving that electric cars can compete with their traditional rivals, it set track records at the Nürburgring in Germany and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where it also broke the record for a car in autonomous driving mode – in other words, with nobody at the wheel. The Shanghai-based company has already sold six EP9s at a price tag of more than US$1 million each and is putting another ten up for sale.
1分快三玩法With equally shattering performance, but using one of the classic American muscle cars as a starting point, is the Maryland-based company Genovation, which calls itself the “Green Car Company”. It has taken the current-generation Chevrolet Corvette, stripped out its V8 engine and replaced it with two electric power units at 750hp, giving it a top speed in excess of 220mph. The Genovation GXE is scheduled to go into production at the end of 2019.
1分快三玩法With these and other innovative newcomers targeting the supercar market, what are the traditional brands doing about it? After dismissing the idea just a few years ago, Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the Italian automaker would indeed build an electric supercar. While vague on details, he vowed to have it in production before Tesla’s Roadster hits the roads in 2020.
Meanwhile, McLaren says it has been testing an electric prototype, but has no plans to put it into production in the foreseeable future. Lamborghini recently unveiled a futuristic electric concept car – the Terzo Millennio (or Third Millennium) – but given its outlandish specifications, including bodywork that repairs itself, it’s more likely to feature in a future edition of Star Wars1分快三玩法 than it is to ever find its way onto public roads.
Porsche is taking a pragmatic approach, saying it will produce hybrids and all-electric cars while also keeping its classic combustion engines for its traditionalist customers. The marque’s first electric car, the Mission E, is scheduled to be unveiled in 2019. And British luxury sports-car maker Aston Martin has announced it will launch its first all-electric model, the RapidE, next year – news that might just scare the living daylights out of Tesla and all the other new kids on the block.
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The iconic black taxis in London are going green – with a switch to zero-emission electric power
The iconic black taxis in London are going green – with a switch to zero-emission electric power
October 27, 2017 / by Mike Clarke
London’s classic black taxis will soon be turning green as they switch from diesel engines to zero-emission electric power units. The new cabs look the same as their predecessors, whose distinctive design is as much a part of the London scenery as Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. But the new TX cabs are powered by electric power units capable of giving them a range of 70 miles before switching to a back-up petrol engine that runs for a further 400 miles. That’s good news for Londoners and tourists alike, who will no longer have to breathe in the noxious diesel fumes pumped out by the city’s cabs as they sit waiting at traffic lights.
1分快三玩法The taxis are produced by the rebranded London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which was taken over by Chinese automaker Geely in 2013 when it was still called the London Taxi Company. Delivery of the electric cabs is beginning as London introduces new regulations on January 1, 2018 that state all new taxis must be capable of producing zero emissions. The city’s taxi fleet will gradually become all-electric as the old cabs are phased out.
Chris Gubbey, LEVC’s CEO, says the new cabs are good news for the environment as well as the taxi operators. The TX uses “proven electric vehicle technology and the latest advanced materials, which substantially reduces fuel costs for drivers while reducing emissions in city centres,” he says. The TX will be fitted out with six seats, with charging outlets for devices and Wi-Fi. And when it comes to keeping the taxis on the road, a network of fast-charge points is being set up.
The TX is made near Coventry, in what LEVC says is the first car factory in Britain dedicated to producing electric cars. The day may be coming when you won’t have to travel to London to see its distinctive black cabs on the road – LEVC is hoping to develop sales internationally and has already received an order from the Netherlands for 225 of the new taxis. If only we could get them to Hong Kong next…
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Get ready for a lazy day out with the new Dasher, an electric-powered “picnic boat” from Hinckley Yachts
1分快三玩法Get ready for a lazy day out with the new Dasher, an electric-powered “picnic boat” from Hinckley Yachts
October 27, 2017 / by Joel Fisher
1分快三玩法A leisurely day out on the waves just got a whole lot quieter – and more environmentally friendly – with the launch of the new Dasher, an electric-powered “picnic boat” from American shipbuilder Hinckley Yachts. The company pioneered the picnic boat concept in the 1990s when it launched the first Dasher, a craft designed for a lazy day out on calm waters with friends and family.
1分快三玩法Hinckley, which has been building handcrafted boats at its Maine dockyard for 90 years, calls the new Dasher the first electric-powered luxury yacht. It is kitted out with twin 80hp electric inboard motors, powered by lithium batteries that give a top speed of around 28mph and a range of some 40 miles. The Dasher also has a shallow draft that allows boaters to explore places normally inaccessible to similar craft.
Thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre, including in the hull, the Dasher is Hinckley’s lightest-ever boat, weighing around 3,000 kilograms. The company’s president and CEO, Peter O’Connell, says the electric boat is the latest in a long tradition of innovation. “From the early use of fibreglass in the 1960s to the adoption of jet drives on the picnic boat, we’ve always worked to combine the latest technology with cutting-edge naval architecture.”
To underscore his point, the company is using 3D printing to manufacture some of the parts for the boat. It says the technique is an “innovative way to create intricate shapes with fewer parts”. The Dasher comes with a retractable windscreen to make conversation easier when the party begins and there’s touchscreen controls to make the navigation simple. Hinckley is taking orders for the Dasher for delivery in 2018.
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Once consigned to the realm of fantasy, flying cars are quickly making sci-fi dreams a reality
1分快三玩法Once consigned to the realm of fantasy, flying cars are quickly making sci-fi dreams a reality
September 29, 2017 / by Simon Webster
You pull out of your driveway, drop the kids off at school – then hit the take-off button and soar to your first business
1分快三玩法meeting of the day 400 miles away. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the race is on to produce the first commercially available flying car, with Slovak manufacturer AeroMobil taking orders for delivery in 2020.
American automotive tycoon Henry Ford predicted in 1940 that “a combination of airplane and motorcar is coming”, but until now his vision has failed to become reality. As Harry tells Ron when they’re flying Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets1分快三玩法: “Most Muggles aren’t exactly accustomed to seeing a flying car.”
1分快三玩法But it might soon be time for Harry to rethink that stance. Tech start-ups and established giants, including Uber and Toyota, are getting involved in the business, despite the daunting challenges of regulatory red tape and safety concerns. Uber outlined its plans for flying electric-powered taxis when it held its first Elevation Summit in Dallas in April, with chief product officer Jeff Holden saying: “Flying cars have been promised for decades, but are arriving now.” He remarked that electric-powered versions would be much quieter and safer than helicopters for flights across urban areas. Uber hopes to launch demo models of its vertical take-off electric flying taxis in Dubai and Dallas in 2020. The vehicles would take off from a network of “vertiports”.
Toyota has invested in the Japanese start-up Cartivator, which is developing a flying car it hopes will be used to light the Olympic flame in Tokyo in 2020. The Zhejiang Geely-owned, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia (meaning “escape the earth”) says its Transition VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) car has received FAA approval, with aims to start deliveries in the next three years. And Munich-based Lilium has successfully tested its two-seater electric-powered Eagle prototype, and is now developing a five-seater version designed for air taxi and ridesharing services. It envisages a future where travellers can call up a flying taxi on an Uber-style app. “A flight from Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport will take around five minutes, compared to the 55 minutes it would take you by car,” according to the company.
Having a flying car may sound cool and all, but why would anybody actually buy one? They provide the “convenience and speed of air travel with the door-to-door flexibility and comfort of a private car,” explains Juraj Vaculik, co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil. “There are several scenarios for using this type of vehicle: super-commuting, weekend travel, business or just recreational flying.”
1分快三玩法In road mode, the AeroMobil can reach 100mph. It’s powered by a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged engine that on the ground generates electrical power that drives the front wheels. In the air, it can reach 225mph and has a range of 470 miles. Vaculik says that the AeroMobil has a perfectly aerodynamic teardrop shape, with the appearance of “petals opening” as the wings gradually extend.
The two-seater AeroMobil can convert from road to flying mode (and vice versa) in just three minutes, with the wings tucking away so it can fit into a regular parking space. Vaculik says AeroMobil’s potential customers come from a range of backgrounds and markets, including supercar buyers and aviation enthusiasts.
1分快三玩法“The newest AeroMobil is purposefully designed as a breathtaking, highly desirable, truly niche high-technology luxury vehicle,” says Vaculik. Beyond the convenience and novelty factor, he believes that flying cars could be the answer to relieving the worsening congestion in transport systems. “They will be a natural extension to the set of cars, airplanes and helicopters we use today.”
It’s a view shared by Uber and other major players aiming to enter the market. The main technologies available – carbon fibre and lightweight materials – and the power output of the new generation of engines are allowing designers to develop an entirely new type of vehicle.
1分快三玩法Vaculik, a self-confessed technology buff, says he became involved with AeroMobil in 2010 and funded the project out of his own pocket until 2015, when the company began to receive money from private investors and the Slovak government. He’s confident that regulatory and other potential obstacles won’t stop the development of flying cars, despite the current debates over the use of drones and driverless cars. “In Asia, markets such as China are undertaking significant investment in airport infrastructure, creating opportunities for transport innovation,” he says.
1分快三玩法AeroMobil’s goal is to build a flying car that’s ready for customers to use without requiring a “significant reworking of existing infrastructure and regulatory environments all over the world”. The AeroMobil team reflects the innovation’s hybrid nature – the 40 members of staff come from both the aviation and automobile industries. They’ve applied their expertise in employing the latest composite, weight-saving technology drawn from both motorsport and advanced aircraft design to make the AeroMobil as light and strong as possible.
With the first production scheduled for 2020, the initial AeroMobil run is planned as a limited series of 500 units, with the first 25 labelled a Founders Edition with an “expanded benefits package”, says Vaculik. If you can afford the price tag of 1.2 million euros, and hold both a driver’s and a pilot’s licence, then the dream of being able to drive and fly may soon no longer be pie in the sky.
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