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Margot Robbie meets BladeGlider, demos the future

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Actress Margot Robbie became Nissan’s new electric vehicle (EV) ambassador when she raced the carmaker’s radical all-electric BladeGlider sports car around the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix circuit at midnight.

The prototype 190km/h Nissan BladeGlider, which hits 100km/h in less than five seconds, challenges the conventional thinking of what an all-electric sports car could look like in the future. Showcasing the excitement of pure electric vehicles, the prototype is part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision of how cars could be driven, powered and integrated into society.

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Margot Robbie put the radical three-seater through its paces around the closed Monaco street circuit before racing another BladeGlider. The pair of 272PS performance cars raced through the iconic Tunnel and diced with each other along Massenet before finishing in the glamour of Casino Square.

In the film, the star of Suicide Squad and The Wolf of Wall Street is also seen demonstrating the drifting prowess of Nissan BladeGlider around one of the most famous corners in the world of motorsport: the iconic Fairmont Hairpin.

“It’s a really exciting time for electric vehicles,” said Robbie. “More people are choosing to go electric, leading the way to a more sustainable future and the Nissan BladeGlider hints at the future of smarter performance cars.”

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As the manufacturer of the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the LEAF, Nissan is also revolutionising the way energy is generated and utilised, with products like its intelligent xStorage Home unit and vehicle-to-grid technology, which harness the power of battery technology from electric vehicles.

“The electric revolution is happening,” said Gareth Dunsmore, director of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe. “As the global leader in electric vehicles, and with mass adoption just around the corner, it is more important than ever that we showcase all of the benefits of driving an electric car – from energy efficiency, to sustainability, from handling to performance.

“Having Margot on board will support us in spreading news of the personal and societal benefits of electric vehicles to more people than ever before. Nissan’s Electrify the World movement recognizes the importance of us all working together to achieve positive change in our communities. We want to inspire people to take meaningful steps towards cleaner, safer cities.”

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The Nissan BladeGlider will be on display at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show from March 7 to 19. Developed from a concept car first debuted in 2013, the all-electric sportscar is a precursor to a suite of future technologies that will combine Intelligent mobility, environmentally friendly impact and sports-car driving capabilities.

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Cars connect to traffic lights

New Jaguar Land Rover technology using Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) connects cars to traffic lights so drivers can avoid getting stuck at red and help free up traffic flow in cities.

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The world’s first traffic lights were installed exactly 150 years ago outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Since then drivers around the globe have spent billions of hours waiting for green. With Jaguar Land Rover’s latest tech, however, their days could be numbered.

The Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) system allows cars to “talk” to traffic lights and inform the driver the speed they should drive as they approach junctions or signals.

Widespread adoption of the V2X technology will prevent drivers from racing to beat the lights and improve air quality by reducing harsh acceleration or braking near lights. The goal is for the V2X revolution to create free-flowing cities with fewer delays and less commuter stress.

The connected technology is currently being trialed on a Jaguar F-PACE, as part of a £20 million (R371 million) collaborative research project.

Like all Jaguar or Land Rover vehicles today, the F-PACE already boasts a wide range of sophisticated Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) features. The connected technology trials are enhancing existing ADAS features by increasing the line of sight of a vehicle when it is connected via the internet to other vehicles and infrastructure. GLOSA is being tested alongside a host of other measures to slash the time commuters spend in traffic.

For example, Intersection Collision Warning (ICW) alerts drivers when it is unsafe to proceed at a junction. ICW informs drivers if other cars are approaching from another road and can suggest the order in which cars should proceed at a junction.

Jaguar Land Rover has also addressed time lost to searching for a parking space by providing real-time information of available spaces to drivers and developed an Emergency Vehicle Warning to alert motorists when a fire engine, police car or ambulance is approaching. The advanced technology builds on the connected systems already available on the Jaguar F-PACE such as Adaptive Cruise Control.

Oriol Quintana-Morales, Jaguar Land Rover Connected Technology Research Engineer, said: “This cutting-edge technology will radically reduce the time we waste at traffic lights. It has the potential to revolutionise driving by creating safe, free-flowing cities that take the stress out of commuting. Our research is motivated by the chance to make future journeys as comfortable and stress-free as possible for all our customers.”

The trials are part of the £20 million government-funded project, UK Autodrive, which has helped accelerate the development of Jaguar Land Rover’s future self-driving and connected technology. As well as strengthening the Midlands’ position as a hub of mobility innovation. Britain’s biggest car maker, headquartered in Coventry, is working on connected technology as part of its pledge to deliver zero accidents, zero congestion and zero emissions.

Connected technology will link the vehicle to everything around it, allowing seamless, free-flowing traffic that will pave the way for delivering self-driving vehicles.

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Roborace reveals new vehicle

Roborace has given its fans a first look at what the new competition vehicle for Season Alpha will look like at the WebSummmit conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

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DevBot 2.0 utilizes sensors similar to that in Robocar and is also fully electric, but has the addition of a cockpit for a human driver.

Season Alpha will see teams comprising of both a human driver and an AI driver. Lap times from the duo will be compared with that of other human + machine teams to determine a winner.

DevBot 2.0 will be launched in the new year but Roborace CEO Lucas Di Grassi has shared some first glimpses of what 2019 holds for the series in an interview on stage at WebSummit.

Season Alpha will see teams compete starting in Spring 2019 using the DevBot 2.0 vehicles to develop their automated driving systems, with professional drivers teaching the AI how to improve, as well as learning from the AI how to better their own performance.

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