64 ZiNG July - September 2009 protons and electrons ( in a device called a fuel cell) that creates a current that drives an electric motor. The only emission is water vapour. GM's HydroGen4 is unique in that it packs more fuel cells ( 440) than other hydrogen cars, allowing for much better reliability and the ability to operate in extreme temperatures. Perfect for the Caribbean, then. THE DRIVERLESS CAR Astonishing as it may sound, General Motors is claiming that the driverless car could be on sale before 2020. More amazing perhaps is that many of us are already using the technologies that form the basis of the driverless car - GPS sat- nav, voice- Timeline Now Early anti- crash technology. Petrol/ electric hybrid powertrains. Hydrogen- powered car trials. 2012 Further integration of sustainable materials. Diesel/ electric hybrid 4WDs. 2015 The fi rst part- driverless cars. 2018 Fully adaptable 4WD transmissions ( crab- steer, fully rotating cars - see Jeep Hurricane) 2020 Early trials of GPS satellite car control and anti- crash network. 2020+ Zero- emission, off- road capable, self- drive anti- crash cars! recognition, parking sensors, lane warning alerts and stability control systems. Unite these functions and add the computing power of a monstrously advanced electronic brain and you have the driverless car. Don't believe us? Last year a team from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA won a competition to create a car that could drive itself over a 60- mile road course in California. According to the regulations, the car would have to be ' autonomous' and manoeuvre in a ' mock city environment, executing simulated military supply missions while merging into moving traffi c, navigating traffi c circles, negotiating busy intersections and avoiding obstacles.' Eleven teams entered. Some of the cars crashed into each other, but Carnegie's GM- based driverless car ( a Chevrolet Tahoe) completed the course successfully to win the US$ 2million prize donated by the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. So, perhaps by 2020 it'll be possible to get in a driverless taxi at Trinidad's airport, speak your destination to the car and arrive in Manzanilla a little while later feeling refreshed and happy. That is, of course, if you have the constitution to surrender control to a computer- controlled driverless car. Two V8 engines power this groundbreaking concept car GM claims that the driverless car could be on sale as early as 2020 Riding in the Hurricane As with HG Wells' time traveller, the driver tugs on levers and presses ornate switches while the Hurricane hums and whirrs expectantly. Then an engine - a mighty 5.7- litre V8 - erupts into life. Our driver presses another switch and the other engine starts up. Yes... the other engine! Boom! The Hurricane's suspension dips 12 inches at the rear, then, just fi ve seconds later, it has accelerated to 60mph - that's as fast as most Porsches. The driver stops, presses more levers and suddenly fl oors the throttle pedal. You're expecting the car to accelerate away as before, but no. The car spins within its own length. And spins. And spins. The front and rear wheels steer in unison, and the Hurricane crabs sideways and then up and over an obstacle. An amazing, unforgettable ride. came up with the idea in his sleep. " He just woke up one night, sketched it, and went back to sleep," says Jeep design boss John Sgalia. Aaron's sketch outlined a Jeep with a complex steering mechanism front and rear that allowed the car to crab sideways or turn within its own diameter. Remarkably, the team responsible for the Jeep Hurricane initially came up with an idea for a car that had no wheels and ' walked' on legs like the AT- AT machines in Star Wars! The idea was never turned into an operable concept, but Honda has mastered ' walking' technology with its ' Asimo' robot, so it won't be long before a car manufacturer unveils an ' AT- AT' style walking car. THE HYDROGEN CAR Car manufacturers admit that hydrogen-powered cars are still some way off replacing petrol- powered vehicles, but General Motors has instigated a fascinating programme that sees over 100 of its hydrogen- powered ' HydroGen4' cars currently being tested by approximately 100 families and businesses around the world. The data they are collecting from the everyday use of these cars is invaluable in the development of the concept car. So, how does it work? The driver fi lls up with compressed hydrogen from a regular-looking pump. The hydrogen is then divided into the ride wind
July - September 2009 ZiNG 65 The electric 4WD The Renegade is a fully operating concept car from Jeep that displays not only a planet-nurturing side, but also a sporty, fun- loving character. Jeep describe it as a " minimised two- seater ideally suited for the all- weather fun of dune- surfing or rock- crawling". It has two electric motors that power each axle - giving true 4WD traction and adaptability plus a small- displacement ( 1.5- litre, 3- cylinder) ' range- extending' diesel engine. In full electric mode, the Renegade can travel around 40miles, but with the diesel engine engaged it can travel ten times further. Innovative construction techniques include one- piece soy- based foam seats and doors, a one- piece instrument panel with a urethane skin, an aluminium/ silicone steering wheel, a one- piece chassis created without using environmentally- harmful resins, and a one- piece interior compartment ' tub'. The reason? To minimise the number of parts required for assembly and function. At its heart, this is a true ' go- anywhere' Jeep. The Renegade's 4WD transmission is fitted with low range and locking differentials and the wireless interior electronics and drain plugs in the floor mean it can be hosed down after a long, muddy drive. l The Jeep Renegade displays not only a planet-nurturing side, but also a sporty, fun- loving character CARS The FUTURE Land Rover With its compact size, lighter weight and sustainability- focused technologies, the Land Rover LRX concept shows how the famous 4WD manufacturer intends to tackle the needs of a changing world. Instantly recognisable as a Land Rover thanks to design cues such as the signature ' clamshell' bonnet and the ' wheel- at- each-corner' stance, the LRX gains a clean and efficient diesel/ electric hybrid powertrain. The 2.0- litre turbodiesel engine is capable of running on biofuel while the LRX also features Land Rover's newly developed Electric Rear Axle Drive ( ERAD). This allows the car to drive in a fully electric mode at low speeds. Also, the LRX achieves 50mpg and emits just 120g/ km of CO2, meeting tough new emissions legislations due to be introduced in 2012. The LRX also demonstrates Land Rover's commitment to sustainable technologies. The seat and trim leather is vegetable- tanned and chromium- free ( better for recycling), the carpeting is made of felt using sustainable sources and the luxurious ' fine suede' on the door inserts is actually a fully recycled material made from used plastic bottles! The anti- crash car The cars we'll be driving in the Caribbean in 2020 will be fitted with some kind of ' anti- crash' technology. How do we know this? Well, three car manufacturers - Volvo, Mercedes and Honda - already build cars today that are equipped with anti-crash technology. Volvo's ' City Safety' device is arguably the most sophisticated of these technologies. The system operates up to 20mph and uses a laser radar mounted on the roof that responds if a vehicle in front has stopped, or is slowing. If a potential collision is recognised, ' City Safety' cuts the throttle and applies the brakes. If the car is travelling at 10mph, Volvo is confident that the system prevents collisions entirely, while at speeds of up to 20mph the impact force will be reduced by half. In the future, fully- developed anti- crash technologies will operate via sophisticated GPS. This will require every car to be fitted with a location- knowing GPS device ( big brother is here), but the benefit will be a significant reduction, if not eradication, of accidents. The GPS will act as a vast traffic control system, much like air- traffic control, but with computers constantly ' reading' the road network and either providing proximity warnings should another car get too close, or actually taking control to avoid an accident.