Novel head-up display aims to improve lap times with video-game-like ghost car [w/video]

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GhostDash Kickstarter

Ever wish racing in real life was more like playing Gran Turismo or Forza? By that don’t mean lots of swearing and sideswiping other racers into corners, we think it would just be useful to have all of the game’s data available on-the-fly in real life – especially a ghost car for comparing previous laps. A solution for track drivers may be on the way from a company called High Rise Garage thanks to its software and giant head-up display called the GhostDash.

The whole system basically presents the entire HUD from a racing video game as an augmented reality display in an actual moving car. Looking through the 98-percent transparent screen, a driver can see a ghost car projection running its last lap. At the bottom, there’s a display for current speed, the gap and lap times. It’s supposed to make learning a faster line much easier. “We believe HUDs and ghost cars are the next step in utilizing the data racers collect to make it easier and safer,” spokesman Justin Hayes tells Autoblog. We can see applications beyond racing, too, including basic driver’s education programs.

The GhostDash is possible thanks to several pieces of technology working together. The raw data comes from a GPS unit that sends info to software running on a Windows device, which crafts it into an image. A linked projector then displays the HUD on a 15-inch holographic screen that hangs from a mount in front of the driver.

GhostDash isn’t quite ready to buy yet, though. High Rise Garage is running a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $43,500 to complete funding for the system, but the company claims the software and hardware work now. The business needs the funds for final development and manufacturing, and the company thinks it can start shipping units in January, 2015.

The Kickstarter campaign is broken into three major tiers. For $40, pledgers just get the software to run on a Windows device (the company recommends a Surface Pro tablet). For $1,900, people also get the projector and screen to display the HUD on. Finally, $3,600 also adds a Surface Pro 3 to run the software and Vbox Sport GPS unit. For the two lower levels, buyers need to supply their own GPS device and GhostDash currently supports three devices with plans to add two more.

Developing this kind of tech is a huge undertaking, but High Rise Garage is already considering the future. It eventually wants to add features like custom maps to support users who autocross and a racing line to the software. Scroll down to watch a video of the GhostDash in action and read the company’s press release about it.

Continue reading Novel head-up display aims to improve lap times with video-game-like ghost car [w/video]

Novel head-up display aims to improve lap times with video-game-like ghost car [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Land Rover spotted testing long-wheelbase Range Rover SVR at the ‘Ring

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Land Rover Range Rover L SVR spied

For the past couple of decades, Land Rover has watched pretender after contender try to topple it from its throne as the world’s ultimate purveyor of luxury SUVs. The British automaker has answered with an ever-expanding and ever-improving array of entries of its own, capped by a flagship Range Rover that seems to go more upscale every year, positioning itself as the high-riding counterpart to fellow British luxury marques like Jaguar and Bentley. It might even abide by the Leaping Cat, its sister company, launching a crossover of its own – heck, it’ll even lend a helping hand or two – but in the case of Bentley, well, it won’t be so quick to concede ground. What we’re looking at here seems to be the fight it’s preparing to put up.

This camouflaged prototype was spotted entering JLR’s test center at the Nürburgring (our base for the day when we drove the XFR-S Sportbrake and other supercharged Jaguar specials recently around the Nordschleife). But what is it, exactly? It appears to be based on the long-wheelbase version of the Range Rover introduced nearly a year ago, but if you look around back you’ll see four round tailpipes protruding from under that geometrically camo’d rear bumper – suggesting (even more than its presence at the ‘Ring) that something more potent is afoot.

The natural conclusion is that JRL’s new Special Vehicle Operations department is preparing an SVR version of the Range Rover L, which would likely feature the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8 as the XFR-S, XJR, F-Type R and (most poignantly) the new Range Rover Sport SVR. The engine will presumably arrive in similar 550-horsepower spec, but could also conceivably go for the 575 horses squeezed out for the Project 7 roadster. A sportier chassis, enhanced aero and upgraded brakes would help keep all that power and heft in check as it hustles VIPs around at breakneck speeds – and give Bentley’s forthcoming SUV (which promises unprecedented levels of luxury with a 200-mph top end) a high-speed run for its leather suitcases full of pounds sterling.

Land Rover spotted testing long-wheelbase Range Rover SVR at the ‘Ring originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini utilities await approval from German parents [w/poll]

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Lamborghini Urus concept at Beijing 2012

A cursory look at the top of the automobile market would suggest that the world’s carmakers are gunning it full steam ahead into a new stratosphere of ultra-luxury and high-performance utility vehicles. After all, companies like Bentley and Maserati are preparing to launch their very first crossovers, while established players like Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover keep producing ever more expensive sport-utes of their own. But that’s not the case across the board.

Rolls-Royce, for example, has yet to receive the green light to start working on its proposed CUV project. Though the dimensions of its sedans may already eclipse those of some crossovers, this would be the first time that Goodwood would produce a utility of its own. But while the British automaker’s financial performance may have earned it a degree of autonomy, the final call may still come down to parent company BMW, which just might be waiting to see how Bentley fares with its upcoming crossover – and how much money it brings in to the Volkswagen Group – before deciding on whether or not it should proceed.

However, Rolls-Royce may not be alone in waiting for its German parent company to approve its high-priced ute. It’s been two and a half years since we first laid eyes on the Lamborghini Urus (pictured), but the Italian automaker reportedly has not yet received approval from its parent company Audi and the greater Volkswagen Group to proceed with development and production. Envisioned to share its platform with the next Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and the production version of the Bentley EXP 9 F concept, the high-riding Lamborghini was originally set to reach production as the marque’s third model line in 2017. But while Audi drags its feet – potentially waiting to see how the Bentley version pans out – the Urus’ launch keeps getting pushed back, if it’s ever to be made at all.

Aston Martin was similarly considering a high-end crossover of its own to relaunch the Lagonda brand, but has expressed some doubts – fueled in no small part by the cold initial reception to its concept – opting in the meantime to develop a sedan instead.

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Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini utilities await approval from German parents [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

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2003 Honda Civic

Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it’s urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.

According to a statement sent to Autoblog by GM, the inaccurate entries on the earlier version came because, “The original NHTSA advisory incorrectly listed a group of 2002-2003 GM models that were part of a 2002 recall involving airbags made by other suppliers.”

This campaign has been spurred by recent discoveries from Takata about the risks from these inflators. It’s possible for the airbags to rupture in a crash and spray shrapnel at occupants. The problem is known to have caused serious injuries and several deaths, and the likelihood of a malfunction has been determined to be especially likely in high humidity areas.

The recalls related to the faulty parts go back to at least 2001, and most of the vehicles on the latest list are also among the same ones from a campaign in June. Since this isn’t a new recall and NHTSA is simply urging people to take action, it’s possible some of these models might already be repaired.

NHTSA appears to be having serious problems with the stress the Takata airbag issue is putting on its consumer website. According to The Detroit News, the agency’s VIN lookup service is down, and its daily listing of new recalls is also not working as of this writing.

Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors.

Continue reading NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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English Bulldog is the friendliest motorcycle passenger ever

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Dogs are man’s best friend, and motorcycles are a ton of fun to ride. Combine the two of them, and the result might be even better than either one alone.

Just look at this happy pup. This might not be the safest thing we’ve ever seen, but it is adorable, especially since the owner was kind enough to put some vintage-look goggles on for some extra protection and serious style. Plus, this English Bulldog appears to be extremely happy while cruising around. The canine is even courteous enough to wave at other riders with its owner.

There’s not too much to this quick clip, but it certainly makes you smile.

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English Bulldog is the friendliest motorcycle passenger ever originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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English Bulldog is the friendliest motorcycle passenger ever

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