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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Why sports cars make us feel good
Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.
The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.
Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior.
Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU
“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”
Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss.
For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:
From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:
- High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
- 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
- 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs
Driver state research
Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.
“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”
|Activity||Buzz Moments *|
|Game of Thrones||1.5|
* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant
Car that sees round corners
Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.
Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.
Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”
Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.
AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.