The Ripsaw M5 is a miniature robotic tank

Transcript: A mini robotic tank. The Ripsaw M5 is an unmanned tank. Howe & Howe collaborated with Textron Systems to create the Ripsaw M5. The modular design allows it to be configured to fit mission needs. It has a top speed of 40 mph, a 360 degree view of its surroundings, and it can be remotely operated from over a half mile away. The M5 is the 5th generation of Howe & Howe’s Ripsaw. No word yet if this robo-tank will join the military. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Giant X-ray trucks helping keep Super Bowl LIV safe

As one of the biggest events in the United States and one of the largest sporting events in the world, the Super Bowl will always be regarded as a potential target of attack. No security cost is seen as too overboard, which is how Hard Rock Stadium ended up with gigantic X-ray machines to screen incoming trucks and other vehicles. The mobile scanners, which are attached to commercial Ford trucks, were recently captured in action by WPLG in Florida. 

To be clear, there is no known plot or information that suggests any tangible plan to attack Super Bowl LIV, which will be played this Sunday, February 2, in Miami. According to WPLG, however, federal and state authorities sent out a joint assessment warning that discussed foreign and domestic terror attacks. It also pointed out heightened awareness due to recent tensions with Iran. Again, this is just a warning, and all security, which has been in the planning for 18 months, is preventative.

Although this type of technology is not new, as these types of machines have been used for border control and cargo screening for many years, the device is not cheap. According to WPLG, each unit costs approximately $1.2 million. 

The million-dollar trucks will be put through their paces, as every single truck and vehicle that comes into the area will need to be scanned. Similar to waiting in line at the airport, each vehicle will be checked before entering Hard Rock Stadium. The mobile scanner drives over a vehicle, and the image is processed and displayed within seconds. If the operators notice any sort of anomalies, the vehicle will be checked further. Additionally, several other safety measures such as K-9 units will be on hand, as well. 

For more information on the security surrounding the game, head to WPLG.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Dodge debuts 2020 Durango SRT Black appearance package

Dodge is going back to the well with yet another round of aesthetic options for the 2020 Durango SUV, focusing yet again on the high-performance SRT model with a new Black package and optional “Redline” stripes. 

Like most of FCA’s dress-up packages, these are geared toward the sporty crowd. The SRT Black package adds lots of black and dark gray elements, including gray SRT badges on the grille and fenders, gloss black mirror caps, 20-inch matte gray wheels, blacked-out exhaust tips, a satin black “Dodge” logo on the tailgate, and gray “Durango” and “SRT” tailgate badges. 

If you want a little color variety, you can swap out the gray alloys for the existing Brass Monkey accessory wheels at no cost. You can also add the Redline stripe package (shown here), which adds matte black full-length stripes with red accent pin-striping on the outer edges.  

And while the package may be called the SRT Black, it’s actually available in 10 colors: Billet Silver, DB Black, Destroyer Grey, F8 Green, Granite Crystal, Octane Red, Reactor Blue, Redline, White Knuckle and Vice White.

Plenty of cars aren’t even available in 10 finishes. 

The SRT Black package offers a treatment similar to that of the Blacktop package, which is available on lower trims; Black and Redline are both exclusive to the range-topping SRT model. 

The Durango SRT Black will run you $1,495; Redline is an extra $1,295. These packages will make their public debuts at the Chicago Auto Show next week alongside some other goodies from FCA. Stay tuned. 

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Source: AutoBlog.com

2020 Hyundai Accent Drivers’ Notes Review | Same goodness, more efficiency

The 2020 Hyundai Accent represents the entry point to the Hyundai line, and as you’ll see, it’s a pleasant little sedan. An affordable one, too, with a base model starting at just $16,250 with a manual transmission. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 120 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque, which is down 10 horsepower and 6 pound-feet of torque from last year. Yet, that reduction comes with improved efficiency by way of both the updated engine and a new transmission: last year’s 6-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a CVT. With it, the Accent breaks 40 mpg on the highway.

Our test car was a top trim Limited model. It only had a set of optional floormats, which brought the total price to $20,365. Included as standard are automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, fog lights, LED daytime running lights and taillights,  automatic climate control, automatic headlights, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a six-speaker sound system, and a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: The Accent feels huge inside for a subcompact, and it’s not just my imagination. The EPA rates it a size up in terms of interior volume, which is pretty impressive for a sedan with a footprint this small. The low seating position makes it even more pronounced, and it feels more like a full-blown compact or even a smaller midsize. 

I recently drove the new Nissan Versa, and although it doesn’t feel anywhere near as big inside as the Accent (the Versa shrunk a bit for its all-new generation), I can’t help but think that it’s just a little bit better inside in most of the ways that count. The Versa has a larger trunk, so maybe that’s where Nissan decided to splurge on volume?

Of the two, I think I’d ultimately pick the Hyundai, but considering how marginalized subcompact sedans have become in the modern market, the fact that there are multiple competitive, appealing options floating around is good news for buyers who just need a new-car warranty for the least possible cash outlay. 

2018 Hyundai Accent2018 Hyundai Accent

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: Small, cheap cars like the Hyundai Accent consistently get passed over in favor of slightly taller, faux-rugged crossovers these days. It’s a shame, because at $20,365, this Accent is remarkably well equipped and is also pleasant to drive. The big change for 2020 is the change from a six-speed automatic transmission to a CVT. Most of the time, we’d lament the loss of a slightly more engaging automatic transmission for a soul-sucking CVT. However, this CVT ain’t that bad. Just like other new Hyundais and Kias equipped with the company’s new CVT, it tries to replicate “shifts” during acceleration. The engine gets rather buzzy at full throttle, but in most conditions the transmission and engine are no more noticeable than before. Acceleration needs patience, but keeping up with rush hour traffic was never a maximum foot-through-the-firewall panic event.

I think the switch to a CVT was totally worthwhile and beneficial. The significant boost in fuel economy is worth any extra nagging from the engine, and it’s not as though the Accent was a sporty car before, either. Grabbing an extra 3 mpg on the highway is huge, and I found the minor CVT penalty to be one worth living with. Byron’s comparison to the Versa is a good one, and I’m going to agree with the verdict. The Versa is way better now that it’s been redesigned, but the Accent is still my top pick in this shrinking segment.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: I’ve had a soft spot for this generation of the Accent ever since I first drove one in base spec with a manual. Though low on power and buzzy, the engine is eager and feels more potent than it is. The Accent is very roomy, comes with a good selection of basic features such as cruise control and an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible infotainment. It’s even a handsome little thing in higher trims. I also agree that, although not the best CVT I’ve experienced, it was a good choice for fuel economy. On a highway drive, I was getting right around the 40 mpg it’s rated for.

All this means is that I would still highly recommend an Accent for someone looking for a cheap new car. But I would also tell them to take a look at the 2020 Hyundai Venue. It’s a bit more expensive, and it’s not as frugal, but it’s much more stylish with a chiseled body and funky interior. Plus it’s a hatchback, so it has more cargo versatility. It also drives almost identically to the Accent, except with a slightly better ride. Just something to keep in mind.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Autoblog is Live: Playing NASCAR Heat 4

Buckle up everyone, Autoblog is jumping into the live stream game. Every Tuesday and Thursday we’ve been going live at 2 P.M. EST to play all kinds of racing and driving games on Twitch and Youtube.

So far we’ve played:

  • NASCAR Heat 4
  • NFS: Heat
  • Garfield Kart: Furious Racing
  • GRID
  • WRC 8
  • Supermarket Shriek
  • Overland
  • Wreckfest
  • F1 2019
  • GRIP
  • FIA Truck Racing Championship
  • MudRunner
  • Crash Team Racing
  • The Grand Tour Game
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • NASCAR Heat 3
  • Rocket League
  • Roblox
  • Dangerous Driving
  • Onrush
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Grand Theft Auto V

And we’ll be swapping in as many as we can throughout the year.

We’ve also got a rotating cast of your favorite Autoblog editors popping in and out at all times, giving us some behind the scenes info on stories they’re working on, opinions on cars they’ve driven, and even some hot takes on breaking news.

If you’re familiar with live streaming already and want to hang out, then come join us in the Twitch chat, spam the now infamous Autoblog Dorito emote any time anything ridiculous happens and get stoked with us when our stream gets raided.

If you have no idea what any of that means but you like cars and you like games then don’t let that intimidate you, feel free to just sit back and watch the stream like any other video.

If you’re looking to do some streaming yourself, here is our setup:
Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
Logitech G920 Racing Wheel
StreamLabs OBS
Nightbot.tv
AverMedia Extremecap U3
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
Shure SM7B Mic
Cloud Lifter CL-1 (for the mic)
Apogee Quartet (audio interface)

We recently started doing merch as well! You can check out our shirts, mugs, and more here at our Redbubble store.

Looking forward to seeing you in the chat!

Autoblog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. These deals are available through our affiliate partnership with Amazon.com. Deals are subject to Amazon’s schedule and availability.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin considering two £200m, 20% bids, including from Stroll

Racing Point Formula 1 owner Lawrence Stroll is one of two bidders for a 20% stake in troubled sportscar brand Aston Martin, according to a report in the Financial Times.Stroll, who led a consortium that bought the beleaguered Force India team – which has since become Racing Point – in 2018, could be announced as an Aston Martin investor as early as Friday.However, the Canadian faces strong competition from Chinese manufacturer Geely, which is also keen to acquire a shareholding in Aston.According to the Financial Times, the two rival bids were to be considered at a board meeting on Thursday evening.Both interested parties are said to be willing to pay £200million for a 20% stake in the company, and would be able to invest some money immediately, while the details are finalised.Aston Martin is in urgent need of extra funding.Its share price has fallen dramatically and its profits have been squeezed since an initial public offering in October 2018, and Aston recently issued a profits warning, stating that its final 2019 numbers would be worse than had been anticipated.The company also confirmed it “remains in discussions with potential strategic investors, which may or may not involve an equity investment into the company.”The FT says that the decision on which investor to go with could be swayed by what else they can bring to the table.Geely, which already owns or has significant stakes in Lotus, Proton and Volvo, has an obvious interest in technical partnerships across its brands.Stroll has his motorsport connections, with an Aston Martin link to his Racing Point team having been mooted some weeks ago.
Source: AutoSport.com

Geely and Stroll in final talks to invest in Aston Martin – report

Aston Martin confirmed that it was in talks with potential investors late last year, following a story broken by Autocar and RaceFans.net, which first revealed interest in the firm from Stroll. Both the Racing Point F1 team and Aston Martin currently have bases at Silverstone, although Aston’s headquarters are in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Aston, Stroll and Geely have not commented on the latest reports.

The majority of Aston’s shares are currently held by the Kuwait-based Adeem/Primewagon group, while the Strategic European Investment Group, part of the Italian private equity group Investindustrial, currently holds around a one-third holding in the company. Mercedes parent Daimler also owns 4% of the firm – as well as supplying engines to the Racing Point F1 team owned by Stroll.

Both Geely and Lawrence Stroll have so far declined to comment on any of the reports.

The firm has come under intense scrutiny since floating in 2018, with a valuation of around £4.5bn. Today the share price has fallen by around 80% from that point.

Earlier this year Aston issued an unexpected profit warning due to “challenging trading conditions”. Revealing the firm sold 5819 cars in 2019, 7% down on 2018, chief executive Andy Palmer said Aston had suffered a “very disappointing year [in 2019]”.

“The challenging trading conditions highlighted in November continued through the peak delivery period of December resulting in lower sales, higher selling costs and lower margins,” said Palmer.

As a result Palmer said that Aston’s earnings margin for 2019 will be 12.5-13.5 per cent. Last summer it issued a warning that the margin would be 20%, triggering a substantial fall in its stock price. Palmer added that adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation will be £130-140m, around £60m below expectations.

Palmer also revealed Aston spent more on marketing and underwriting finance than previously.

“Whilst we are disappointed with trading performance in 2019, our focus is now on revitalising the business, launching DBX and ensuring profitable growth in the medium-term,” added Palmer.

Additional reporting by Dieter Rencken

READ MORE

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Source: AutoCar.co.uk

This rolling platform can move a helicopter into any tight space

Transcript: 360 degree helicopter mover. Typhoon by Tiger Tugs is an omnidirectional helicopter mover. Designed to move choppers in tight spaces for quick storage and deployment, it’s operated by a wireless remote control and can rotate and move sideways. Tiger Tugs plans on creating a Typhoon with the ability to carry 10,000 lbs.

Source: AutoBlog.com

You can now build your own R2-D2 for less than $50

Transcript: Build your own R2-D2 sidekick. The Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit from Littlebits. Build and control your own droid. The kit aims to help kids learn about programming and coding. Explore 22+ missions and challenges. Customize your droid with new abilities and give it tasks to complete using block-based coding to perform the activities. There are also in-app educational activities. The R2-D2 droid comes with 20 authentic droid sounds from the Star Wars films. Littlebits’ Star Wars droid inventor kit is currently 58% off bringing the price down to just $41.95 on Amazon. Check the description to learn more. Get yours here.


Autoblog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. These deals are available through our affiliate partnership with Amazon.com. Deals are subject to Amazon’s schedule and availability.

Source: AutoBlog.com

UPS ordering 10,000 EV delivery vans from Arrival, using Waymo for deliveries

LOS ANGELES — United Parcel Service on Wednesday said it is ordering 10,000 electric delivery trucks from UK-based Arrival Ltd and teaming with self-driving startup Waymo, as package carriers work to cut costs and tailpipe pollution.

The UPS/Arrival partnership includes a minority investment from the world’s biggest package delivery firm and lands four months after customer-turned-rival Amazon ordered 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, a Michigan startup partially funded by the world’s largest online retailer.

UPS’ six-month test with Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc, starts next month. UPS will pay Waymo to use autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans to shuttle packages from Phoenix UPS stores to a nearby sorting center several times a day, starting with one route.

The Arrival and Waymo projects “will help us continue to push the envelope on technology and new delivery models that can complement the way our drivers work,” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer at UPS.

Amazon’s growing delivery network is piling pressure on UPS and rival FedEx, which are racing to squeeze more profits from surging e-commerce deliveries that are upending their business models.

Electric vehicles have no tailpipe pollution — which is critical as more cities worldwide crack down on emissions from idling delivery trucks. Broad corporate adoption of electric vehicles could cut sticker prices and make them cheaper to operate and maintain than fossil fuel-burning vehicles. Eventually, removing human drivers might cut costs further.

Perez said the Waymo test will not replace the driver on the affected route. That driver will still make the scheduled daily UPS Store stop.

For Waymo, the deal with UPS is the latest in a series of moves to expand use of its robotic “Waymo Driver” system beyond robo-taxis. Waymo recently expanded testing of its autonomous trucks and vans to Texas and New Mexico. Waymo also has extended a deal with vehicle retail chain AutoNation Inc to deliver parts to Phoenix area stores. AutoNation in turn services Waymo vehicles.

Atlanta-based UPS plans to take ownership of all 10,000 Arrival zero-emission electric vehicles by 2025. The first trucks should hit streets in Paris, London and undisclosed U.S. cities in the second half of this year.

The Arrival trucks have a modular design that promises to be cheaper to build, maintain and customize.

Vehicle components are swappable and designed to be changed in 15 minutes or less. For example, left and right headlights are the same and can be installed in any size truck, “almost like putting Legos together,” said Scott Phillippi, senior director of automotive maintenance and engineering at UPS.

The trucks also have “advanced driver-assistance systems” including collision avoidance and features that could one day enable UPS, which already deploys self-driving tugs that transport large packages in some facilities, to run more automated vehicles in its depots.

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Source: AutoBlog.com