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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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Bloodhound land speed record attempt in SA back on track

The Bloodhound land speed record attempt is back on track, with the news that the team will be going to Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in October for high-speed testing.

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The Bloodhound land speed record attempt is back on track, with the news that the Bloodhound team will be going to Hakskeen Pan in South Africa in October 2019 for high-speed testing.

The plans were confirmed at a press conference last week by Bloodhound LSR CEO Ian Warhurst.

“I’m thrilled that we can announce Bloodhound’s first trip to South Africa for these high-speed testing runs,” he said

“This world land speed record campaign is unlike any other, with the opportunities opened up by digital technology that enabled the team to test the car’s design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and that will allow us to gather and share data about the car’s performance in real-time.”

Why High-Speed Testing?
The Bloodhound LSR team says it has been hard at work preparing the car for these high-speed test runs, upgrading and changing many aspects of the car following successful low-speed test runs at Cornwall Airport Newquay in 2017.

It said in a newsletter last week: “We’ll be using the high speed runs to test the car’s performance and handling at much higher speeds. It will also be a full dress rehearsal for the overall record-breaking campaign. This will include developing operational procedures, perfecting our practices for desert working and testing radio communications.”

One of the most obvious changes to the car is the wheels, which have been swapped for the specially designed solid aluminium desert wheels.

Warhurst said: “We’re running the car on a brand new surface. The wheels have been designed specifically for this desert lake bed, but it will still be vital to test them at high speeds before making record speed runs.”

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This car responds to moods

Jaguar Land Rover is developing new AI technology to better understand changes in the driver’s mood while behind the wheel

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Jaguar Land Rover is researching new artificial intelligence (AI) technology to understand our state of mind while driving – and adjust cabin settings to improve driver wellbeing.

The technology uses a driver-facing camera and biometric sensing to monitor and evaluate the driver’s mood and adapt a host of cabin features, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, media and ambient lighting. The settings will be altered in response to the driver’s facial expressions to help tackle stress. Reports suggest 74 per cent of us admit to feeling stressed or overwhelmed every day*. 

The mood-detection system will use the latest AI techniques to continually adapt to nuances in the driver’s facial expressions and implement appropriate settings automatically. In time the system will learn a driver’s preference and make increasingly tailored adjustments.

Personalisation settings could include changing the ambient lighting to calming colours if the system detects the driver is under stress, selecting a favourite playlist if signs of weariness are identified, and lowering the temperature in response to yawning or other signs of tiring.

Jaguar Land Rover is also trialing similar technology for rear passengers, with a camera mounted in the headrest. If the system detects signs of tiredness, it could dim the lights, tint the windows and raise the temperature in the back, to help an occupant get to sleep.

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, said: “As we move towards a self-driving future, the emphasis for us remains as much on the driver as it ever has. By taking a holistic approach to the individual driver, and implementing much of what we’ve learnt from the advances in research around personal wellbeing over the last 10 or 15 years, we can make sure our customers remain comfortable, engaged and alert behind the wheel in all driving scenarios, even monotonous motorway journeys.”

The new mood–detection system is one of a suite of technologies that Jaguar Land Rover is exploring as part of its ‘tranquil sanctuary’ vision to improve the driving experience. Designed to create a sanctuary inside each of its luxury vehicles, the manufacturer is trialing a wide range of driver and passenger wellbeing features, to ensure occupants are as comfortable as possible whilst ensuring the driver remains mindful, alert and in control.

Mood-detection software is the next-generation of Jaguar Land Rover’s existing driver tracking technology. The Driver Condition Monitor, which is capable of detecting if a driver is starting to feel drowsy and will give an early warning to take a break, is available on all Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. 

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