If you are one of the lucky ones to be living or working in NYC’s Chinatown, you can be one of the first to try out the city’s new robotic parking. So far the device has only been successful in China, but Robotic Parking feels confident that the glitches will be worked out by next month. The garage can hold up to 67 cars in a space that would otherwise fit only 24.
Drivers leave their cars on pallets, which are then lowered and set into vacant spaces with a computer controlled elevator that can run both vertically and horizontally. Fees of $25.00 a day or $400.00 a month will be charged. We understand that a similar unit had some problems in 2002 when a Cadillac was dropped 6 floors. We will just allow others to test this one out before we rush to put our beaters in the Chinatown structure.
Read More | AP
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Read More | The Bleeding Edge
If you want to see and hear being “Lost in the Ozone Again” simultaneously, JVCs EXAD Series KD-NX5000 might be the ticket. Unveiled at last week’s CES 2007, not only is the 1-DIN HDD device capable of tracking, it also is a DVD/CD receiver equipped with a 40 GB Hard Drive. The gadget features a 3.5-inch screen for navigational data, 3 million POIs and maps of the U.S. and Canada, traffic information, Bluetooth capabilities, and a remote. The music server is capable of storing store approximately 5000 songs in MP3, WAV, or WMA. It also offers an optional RDS/TMC tuner and satellite radio. Set to come out next month, the MSRP should be around $1,100.00.
Read More | JVC Mobile
Walking into last week’s NAIAS, we received a rather tacky-looking plastic card emblazoned with the words “Discover It!” “It” turned out to be HD Radio, the future of music. The FCC has approved this as the new standard but most experts predict that the service will not become commonplace until about 2010. BMW is one of the few companies that is offering it as an option now.
With HD Radio, stations will have the ability to offer several different programming selections on the same frequency with no more snap, crackle, and pop of current radio reception. On the other hand, if you are on the edge of a station, you probably won’t hear it at all. Although HD Radio is already available in about 900 stations and free to the public online, receivers are not, and a quick survey of them were priced at ~$249.00 on the low end.
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Now that Bush has decided to send 20,000 more troops off to war, we would suggest a much safer alternative. iRobot, another company that attended the CES 2007, has created the unmanned R-Gator in cooperation with John Deere. It can act as scout, “point man,” perimeter guard, and pack/ammo/supply carrier. The bot features teleoperation, autonomous waypoint navigation, obstacle avoidance, and manual operation. Released in 2006 in limited numbers, we think it would be an interesting idea to spend tax dollars on robots that cannot be killed as opposed to humans that can.
Read More | iRobot
Before we leave the NAIAS, we have to show you the answer to your futuristic automotive prayers. This is the Ryuga (Japanese for “gracious flow”,) a concept car created by Mazda. Destined to come out around the year 2020, it will probably run on hydrogen fuel. Note that there are no door handles (we suspect it opens with an electronic touch keypad) and it looks like you have to slink into it. Of course, you’re not allowed to sit in, touch, or even breathe too closely to the concept cars, but we can’t help but remember when we saw something like this 20 years ago in Sci-fi movies. As we recall, it was also airborne.
Read More | Mazda
Not only were the MINI Coopers fun to sit in, we found about 6 more excuses to stick around that area. This remote car racing game was consistently full of business men in CIA-looking suits.
Another tabletop game was more fun to crash and burn than to stay on the road. Finally, Mike had some difficulty finding which way to go in Volkswagen’s “Need For Speed.”
The point here is that if you get a chance to visit the NAIAS, head for the BMW/MINI Cooper/Volkswagen corner.
Read More | NAIAS 2007
One of our favorite places to be at the NAIAS was behind the wheel of the MINI Cooper Sidewalk Convertible. Making its debut here, it comes with stylish paintwork, light-alloy wheels, and exclusive leather upholstery. It features a 1.6 litre four-cylinder turbo-charged 128kW/175 hp engine and your choice of 5 (standard) or 6-speed or automatic transmission. It reaches 100km/h in 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 133 mph.
The soft top opens automatically in 15 seconds and its windscreen takes over. The convertible also features a pump-up seat for us shorter folk, PDC (Park Distance Control), a Tire Defect indicator that warns you if your pressure is too low, surround sound even in the doors, and a dashboard with AM/FM mini boost radio, SAT, CD, and MEDIA buttons, indicative of many of the new higher end cars being shown. We don’t care if the Sidewalk’s base price is $21,850. We still want one.
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Mike was ready to roll on this BMW G650 Xchallenge. The bike features a single-cylinder powerplant which they claim is 4.5 lbs. lighter than its earlier 650 engine. It puts out 53 horsepower at 7,000 rpm with a torque performance of 44 pound per foot at 5,250 rpm. It sports a bridge frame of tubular steel with aluminum handlebar, side sections, rear frame, and swingarm, and a stainless steel tailpipe. With a closed loop 3-way catalytic converter, a fuel tank under its seat, spoke wheels, and a MSRP of $8,925.00, no matter how much we want one, we’ll just hang on to the photo.
Read More | BMW Motorcycles
The Ford Focus will be one of the cars being issued this fall that will feature Sync, and they are keeping it on the downlow. We couldn’t get a price, (“It will blow away the competition,”) any pictures of it in a vehicle, or even mention the name of the dude who was telling us what we weren’t supposed to know. Maybe Microsoft is saving the info for the CES. All we were told/shown was that Ford has the exclusive rights until 2008, that it will play and/or recharge your iPod via USB, interrupt your tunes if you have an incoming call, and has text message/voice recognition capability.
Read More | Ford