TECH

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KOMBI OF THE FUTURE

AT Las Vegas’ 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Volkswagen showcased its Microbus of the future under the name BUDD-e. It is an all-electric vehicle with a massive 101 kWh battery pack that should give it a range of around 600 km. the BUDD-e is built on a new MEB platform and forecasts electric mobility in 2019. Motive force is provided by an electric motor on each axle that effectively turns it into an all-wheel-drive vehicle and the BUDD-e achieves a top speed of 150 km/h.

The BUDD-e lacks external mirrors and door handles because cameras have replaced the former and smart connectivity the latter. Meanwhile, the interior is designed to show the future of human-machine-interface development at Volkswagen. The traditional divide between the instrument cluster and central display has been removed and replaced by a single information hub, which consists of two configurable screens merged into one. Controlling the system is Gesture Control 2,0, which is significantly enhanced from the setup displayed in the Golf R at CES 2015. This technology also works outside, as a simple hand gesture by the driver is enough to open the sliding doors.

 
 

SMART-PHONE-CONTROLLED ADAPTIVE DAMPERS

Thinking of upgrading your car’s suspension? Consider the new KW range of adaptive suspension systems controllable via your smartphone using a secure Wi-Fi connection. But good luck explaining to the traffic officer who has just pulled you over that you were not talking on your phone but tuning your suspension… For more info, visit www.kwsuspensions.net

 

ANOTHER TESLA?

CES introduced a new electric-vehicle company to the automotive world – Faraday Future – that has managed to poach key technical personnel from both Tesla and BMW i. Electric-vehicle start-ups are nothing new, but when a company reveals a concept supercar like the FFZERO1, it is bound to be noticed. Built on a scalable platform that will underpin a line-up of vehicles, including SUVs, the FFZERO1 is claimed to develop 1 000 hp (746 kW) and reach 100 km/h in less than three seconds, before hitting a top speed of more than 320›km/h. Drive is provided by four electric motors.

The FFZERO1 is a fully connected vehicle and offers autonomous-drive capability, but not only the type that gets you to work; the idea is to take you for hot laps around your favourite racetrack. According to Faraday Future, that’s a good way to learn the track and safely experience the full capabilities of the vehicle. Sounds like fun.

 

WHO BUMPED MY CAR?

Have you returned to your parked car only to find it’s been damaged? BMW might have the solution. At CES, it showed Bumper Detect, which monitors slight vehicle movements and then records the surroundings in order to capture an image of the culprit (or their vehicle’s number plate). The system can also send an alert and images to your phone.

A camera feed instead of a rear-view mirror has been shown before, but BMW has revised the system on the i8 Future Interaction. It merges images from three cameras to give the driver an uncluttered, full rear-view picture.

BMW has also evolved Gesture Control (as seen on the new 7 Series) to AirTouch, where the driver (or passenger) can control the infotainment screen, as they would a smartphone screen, but without actually touching it. Sensors in the dash recognise hand movements and enable the depth-perspective software to realise when a pointed finger moves forward to simulate a button press.