Transport Tech 

Japan’s Seven Stars cruise train offers luxury on the rails

The Japanese regional railway JR Kyushu has become the first company in Japan to build a luxury sleeper cruise train, spending close to 3 billion yen (US$29.9 million). The Seven Stars cruise train comes equipped with the latest motion control technology, 14 luxury guest rooms, two deluxe suites, three presidential suites, a lounge car, dining car and bar. “The idea for a cruise train came from our company president, Mr. Koji Karaike,” Simon Metcalfe from JR Kyushu tells Gizmag. “It was something that he had dreamed of doing since he…

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Transport Tech 

New Vehicle Technology Reinvents Our Wheels

Take a summer road trip into the future of driving: You can hop on an electric scooter designed for the modern urban jungle or get behind the wheel of a car that’s more connected than your LinkedIn profile. Want more? How about a super-posh hybrid and zero-emission fuel that’s a real waste. Young urbanites are clamoring for a greener transportation option. India-based company Mahindra has heard their cries. The GenZe utility cycle’s zero-emissions electric motor doesn’t need tune-ups or oil changes, and its larger, 16-inch front tire offers extra stability…

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Transport Tech 

USDOT reports to US Congress on DSRC for connected vehicles

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released its report to the United States Congress assessing the status of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) for connected vehicle technologies. The findings are that they are ready for deployment. DSRC is a Wi-Fi derivative developed to meet the specialized needs for secure and low-latency wireless connections in data communications. It is poised to be the standard for communicating between operating vehicles (moving or not), infrastructure, and mobile devices. The USDOT has been assessing the feasibility of the 5.9 Gigahertz broadcast frequency for short-range communications between…

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Transport Tech 

It’s No Miracle Everyone Escaped That Fiery Dubai Plane Crash

Once the smoke had cleared from the runway at Dubai International Airport, you could see the wreckage of what you’d assume was an unsurvivable crash. The fuselage of the Boeing 777 was burnt and twisted. The entire top of the plane’s body melted away, down to the level of the windows, and what was visible of the interior was charred beyond recognition. How could anyone have escaped? Yet every one of the 300 people on board got out safely after the jet landed hard and caught fire Tuesday morning. (One…

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Transport Tech 

Next stop, the future: New York subway set for train and station upgrades

Life for commuters on New York’s subway system is set to get a little more comfortable, with the announcement that both its trains and stations are set for a revamp. The new subway cars will boast bigger doors for easier access, more standing space, Wi-Fi and USB charging ports. The updates to the trains and stations are part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) US$27 billion, five-year Capital Program to renew and expand its network and follow the installation of On The Go! touchscreen information kiosks. In total, 1,025 new subway…

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Transport Tech 

The Brilliant Sorcery of England’s 7-Circle Magic Roundabout

I am from a different land—a different time, maybe—where the car people resist the circling. No circles at all costs, they say. Straight ahead is the way forward. But in this place, across the sea, the cars circle in all directions, within and without each other, a tango of mystery. This place is Swindon, they tell me. It is in south England, a land recently torn asunder. They call this swirl of movement the “magic roundabout”. But how does such sorcery work? The roundabout in its common form is already…

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Transport Tech 

Open The Solar System’s Express Lane!

On Jan. 19, 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft roared off the pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and into the record books. Perched atop a giant Atlas V rocket, the lightweight probe accelerated to about 36,000 mph, the fastest object ever launched by humans. It outdistanced the moon in nine hours, reached the orbit of Mars in 11 weeks and swung around Jupiter in February 2007. Then came the great wait. New Horizons will fly by Pluto this July and, if all goes well, return the first detailed images of the…

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Transport Tech 

IPhone-controlled car to demo at Geneva Motor Show

It can send e-mails, play video, access the Web and snap pictures, but control a car? Swiss automobile design house Rinspeed will unveil a concept electric car controlled by an iPhone at next week’s Geneva Motor Show. The iChange ditches car keys in favor of an iPhone, which clips into a holder on the dashboard to the right or left of the steering wheel. Once connected a green “start” button appears on the iPhone’s display and one push brings the iChange automobile to life. When you’re driving the car the iPhone can…

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Transport Tech 

Improved Batteries for Electric Cars Could Recharge in Seconds

Researchers may have found a way to drastically increase the performance of the lithium ion batteries that power everything from electric cars to laptops. By reconfiguring the battery to allow lithium ions to rush in and out about 100 times faster than before, researchers say they’ve created a prototype that provides fast bursts of power and also, crucially, recharges in seconds. A prototype of a battery made with the new technique could be charged in less than 20 seconds compared to the six minutes it took to charge cells made in the standard…

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Transport Tech 

You Could Roll on Land or the Seafloor in This Fanciful Concept Car

Most modern vehicles are much too specific: Cars stick to roads, boats are trapped on the water, submarines wander the ocean floor. So I came up with the Libelule: a spherical vehicle with two large wheels that allow it to travel almost anywhere. Feel like roaming the beach? Let it roll. Want to hit the water? The wheels scoop water like a paddle boat, propelling it faster than today’s amphibious crafts. When you feel like a dive, select your desired depth on the (thankfully waterproof) touch screen, let the water…

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