Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The X-Factor In Musk's Human Transport Concept Gets A Boost

Hyperloop capsules being loaded with human and luggage cargo for a very quick and insulated trip that will be amongst the fastest type of public/commercial transportation devised by man. Image Credit: Daily Mail via Space X (2014)

The X-Factor In Musk's Human Transport Concept Gets A Boost

While standing in a long line at a Costco Wholesale during the Christmas season holiday, one may notice how communication from the checkout cashpoint to the central management office is accomplished.

The "Checker" at the cashpoint, with the all of the scanners, credit card terminals, and printers, also is equipped with a tube system that allows one to take checks, money, and other paper-based monied communications, place them in a cylinder, which is then placed in the tube and sucked through vacuum pressure where at the other end of the tube, the information is delivered almost instantly. 

Marshall Fields central communications (1947) - Before the invention of phones and fax machines, people in cities sent messages through a huge system of underground tubes filled with compressed air. Image Credit: chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress-dot-com
Management is assured that these communications that result in good profits never become breached from point-to-point due the closed nature of this pneumatic tube system.

A typical Costco Wholesale cashpoint section where the pneumatic tubes of the money transfer system can be seen routed along the ceiling of the store. Image Credit: Flickr
This is the precise idea behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk. He believes that the findings of a recent 76-page report may go a long way in proving his pneumatic tube proposal/argument that a human transport system such as this vacuum "hyperloop" that is in use at all Costco stores is the future of human mass transportation from point-to-point.

Infographic of the proposed Hyperloop human transport system (video presentation link). Image Credit: via Space X (2014)

This edited and excerpted from USAToday -

Report: Elon Musk's 'hyperloop' idea could work
By Chris Woodyard - 12-22-2014 - USAToday

Enthusiasts behind Elon Musk's "hyperloop" proposal -- an intercity tube that speeds passengers riding in capsules at 600 miles per hour -- have taken the next step, producing a report outlining some of the big issues around the project.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies' 76-page report focuses issues surrounding a system that could connect San Francisco with Los Angeles. The report says, however, that there are many city pairs around the world that would be candidates for a hyperloop.

The 400-plus-mile trip would take less than an hour, compared to more than six hours of driving. The goal is to keep the ticket price in the $20 to $30 range, although the report points out that at total cost estimates of $16 billion, they could go higher. Still, it says, hyperloop would be a bargain compared to alternatives. "If this same overall price point were preserved for other city pairings, it could dramatically change the way people live and work in cities," the report says.
"The Hyperloop design uses a combination of low air pressure and magnetic acceleration to get people from LA to SF in just about 30 minutes," the report says. It would produce its own electricity from solar power.
Passengers would travel in aerodynamic pods the size of vans inside the tube. HTT envisions developing three designs -- one each for luxury passengers, economy economy passengers and freight.
HTT estimates that the cost of the system would be $20 million to $45 million a mile, as contrast from what it says are costs of up to $200 million a mile for conventional mass transportation system.
[Reference Here]

The report does point out one of the many problems of a self-contained closed loop pneumatic tube system ... how would passengers deal with an uncontrollable "Nature Calls" or a "Mile High Club"-like situation?

Good question.

... notes from The EDJE

<a href="http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/would-you-travel-from-la-to-sf-in-a-tube-video/question-4639050/" title="Would you travel from LA to SF in a tube (video)?">Would you travel from LA to SF in a tube (video)?</a>

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

BMW At The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

The 2015 BMW X6 M and X5 M. Image Credit: BMW AG

BMW At The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

As usual, BMW did not disappoint the car enthusiast with its presentations at Los Angeles.  BMW chose diversity in unveiling four models at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Two of these were World Premiers while the other two are new to the US market.

The aggressive 2015 BMW X6 M in Laguna Seca Blue as seen at the LA Auto Show. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

"Innovative technology and powerful presence" is the way BMW describes the new X5 M and the X6 M.  Both making their world premier in Los Angeles. These vehicles are unfazed by any weather and road conditions and yet can be "thrillingly dynamic" on the track. Like all Motorsport BMW's they have been designed for an exceptional driving experience.

The 2015 X5 M as seen at the LA Auto Show. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

Both the X5 M and X6 M are powered by the same V8 with M Twin Power Turbo technology generating an output of 575 hp and a maximum torque of 553 ft. lbs.  Both vehicles are equipped as standard with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic propelling them from 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds. Even with this substantial power, fuel economy and CO2 emissions are about 20% lower than previous models.

The interior of the X6 M. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

Joey Hand, of BMW racing fame, was on hand for the premier. Stepping out of his current ride, a BMW M4 DTM, he had a chance to take the X6 M for a few laps at Texas and was impressed with the its agility, speed, and stopping power. He was looking forward to driving the car more at Laguna Seca which is one of his favorite tracks. It sounds like BMW hit the mark again with it's new X6 M.

The US Premier of the 2015 BMW 228i Convertible. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

One of the new models for introduction into the US market in February 2015 is the BMW 2-Series Convertible.  Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW North America mentioned that Los Angeles was the perfect location to unveil this new model because of its great top-down year round weather.  The electrically operated soft-top is acoustically optimized for comfort and can be closed in 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

The 2-Series Convertible will be available as two models; the 320 hp M 235i and the 240 hp 228i.  The M 235i will go from 0-62 mph in 5.2 seconds while the 228i takes 6.1 seconds.  The M 235i can be equipped with a Six-Speed manual transmission or the Eight-Speed  Steptronic Sport transmission which will be standard on xDrive versions as well as the 228i Convertible.

The driver oriented interior of the 2015 BMW 228i Convertible with optional red leather. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

The interior is driver focused and contains the high-quality materials that BMW is noted for.  The specially designed climate control panel features a display with white readouts.  With the top down the standard climate control system takes into account the impact of the airstream on the temperature.  The optional leather trim includes surfaces that use SunReflective technology to reduce the extent the leather is heated by the sun.

The rear seating area as seen on the 2015 BMW 228i Convertible. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

Intelligent connectivity between driver, vehicle, and the outside world is another step forward for BMW. Among items found in the BMW ConnectedDrive program are the rear view camera, Parking Assistant, System Driving Assistant which includes Lane Departure Warning and Collision Warning.  The 2-Series Convertible is BMW's first model that can be upgraded with the new-generation Navigation system Professional which allows free over -the-air updates via the built-in SIM card.

The 2015 BMW X6 making its debut at the LA Auto Show. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

The final vehicle making it's first US showing is the 2nd generation BMW X6. The X6 captures the imagination of the Sport Activity Coupe with its even more potent presence, the extrovert athleticism of its design, and its standout performance.  The X6 will be offered as two models.  The xDrive 50i offering 445 hp and the xDrive 35i offering 300 hp.

The beautiful interior as seen on the 2015 BMW X6. Image Credit: Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images

Both models come equipped with the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission and BMW xDrive all wheel drive technology. Optioned with one of the three Adaptive Suspension packages the new X6 offers a supreme driving experience to any type of driver wanting the sporty looks and functionality that the X6 offers in a larger sport activity coupe.
(words and photographs by Brandon O'Brien / Motor Driven Images unless otherwise noted)

... notes from The EDJE