Introducing the World's First, Fastest (and Only) Electric Log Car

The Pioneer "Cedar Rocket" holds a few titles. In addition to being the world’s fastest log car, it also happens to be the world’s first and only log car, at least as far as Road & Track knows. Its Guinness World Record is in a category unto itself, but that doesn’t mean the cruiser isn’t impressive. 

The vehicle was constructed by log house builder Bryan Reid Sr. (you might know him from the HGTV Canada show Timber Kings) and two of his friends, a mechanic and a turbine manufacturer. Reid had been considering a log car for a while, but the idea started to pick up steam when the three friends found themselves chatting at an auto auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reid told Road & Track: “We're standing there, the three of us—there's a turbine manufacturer, a mechanic, and a log builder. Gerald started doing a little sketch, and pretty soon he had a fun-shaped log with tires and wheels. And then he sketches turbines on it. Gerald's doing this diddly-doodlin', and all of the sudden the idea comes."

The single-passenger car took more than 3000 hours of work to build. It’s made from a Western Red Cedar log (the rings suggest it’s as much as 240 years old) with repurposed parts from a Mazda RX-8. It’s an electric car powered by eight very heavy lithium-ion batteries, and weighs, in all, about 2200 lbs.

To achieve the world record, Guinness required the Cedar Rocket to make a run of 31 miles per hour within an hour, which it did, at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona.

Reid told Autoblog that the builders briefly considered a fuel engine but, "Then we starting thinking, man, this is 2016, and that's why we went totally electric. We're glad we did. It worked out great."

The car will be auctioned off at the place where the concept initially came together: the Barrett-Jackson car auction. Until then it will be on tour, impressing onlookers and raising money and awareness for veterans groups.

To see more awesome photos of the world’s first, fastest, and only electric log car, scroll below, and check out the websites for Pioneer Log Homes and The Pioneer Cedar Rocket.

Banner image via Instagram // timberkingbryansr.

[h/t Digg]

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Courtesy Umbrellium
These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Dubai Plans to Outfit Police Force With Hoverbikes
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Dubai is home to plenty of flashy fashion and architecture, and it has over-the-top police gear to match. The department already is outfitted with some of the fastest cars on the streets, including a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Now, Autoblog reports that police officers in the United Arab Emirates city are getting hoverbikes to access hard-to-reach places.

The bikes, which were developed by the Russian startup Hoversurf, debuted in early October at the Gulf Information Technology Exposition (GITEX) in Dubai. Like Hoversurf’s Scorpion-3 hoverbike, the police version is battery-powered and uses propellers at each corner to float like a drone. The newly-released model can reach maximum altitudes of 16 feet and move at speeds of up to 43 mph. Though the quadcopter can only carry one passenger at a time, it can withstand weights of up to 660 pounds. A fully charged battery is enough to fuel a 25-minute ride.

The futuristic addition to the force’s fleet of vehicles isn’t designed for chasing bad guys. Rather, the city hopes to use it to reach out-of-the-way spots during emergencies. If there’s a car wreck at the end of a traffic jam, for example, the Scorpion hoverbike could simply fly over the congestion and reach the scene faster than the department could with cars on the ground.

While cities around the world are still figuring out how low-flying drones and vehicles fit into pedestrian areas, Dubai has been quick to embrace the technology. In 2015, the city invested in jetpacks for first responders. While it's still unclear when the gadgets will be used in an official capacity, the CEO of Hoversurf has confirmed that mass production of the bikes is already underway.

[h/t Autoblog]


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