Mercedes-Benz’ Intelligent World Drive Coming to a Continent Near You

Mercedes-Benz’ Intelligent World Drive is parading its semi-autonomous S-Class on a five-continent trip to better understand the world’s traffic problems and adapt its driver assistance suite to each region.

First introduced at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, the goal of the Intelligent World Drive tour is to understand the types of automated and semi-autonomous driving functions needed based on each country’s driving behavior, real traffic conditions, and road composition, heavily focused on urban traffic areas.

With driving peculiarities different in each region, the tour hopes to nail down a universal set of automated driving functions and to better adapt its automated driving technology to each location’s rules and regulations.

“Recording, processing and interpreting highly complex traffic situations is the key to safe automated and autonomous driving. This is particularly demanding in dense urban traffic,” said Ola Källenius, Daimler AG group research & Mercedes-Benz cars development board member. “This is why we are deliberately testing our automated driving functions in everyday driving situations in large cities. In this way not only do our vehicles become more intelligent, they also become safer.”

The tour first launched in Germany, with future stops scheduled or already taking place in China (October), Australia (November), and South Africa (December). Its final stop is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in Jan. 2018. Research is expected to vary between each location, such as digital map testing in Melbourne and a study of highway right-side traffic from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

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Workhorse Wants To Put Its Hybrid Electric Octocopter In Your Garage By 2019

Workhorse Group Inc. has announced a plan to debut its hybrid electric octocopter at the January 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.

Its hybrid-electric octocopter, dubbed the SureFly, is a personal 2-seater that runs on eight carbon fiber propeller motors, a gas engine, dual lithium battery packs packing 7.5-kWh each, and a ballistic parachute that drops in the event of a global apocalypse. Its gas engine will generate the electricity with a backup power source using the battery pack. Workhorse Group Inc. claims an estimated range of 70-miles and a top speed of 70 mph, translating to an hour of flight time for every tank of gas.

No word yet on interior specifications other than drone-like maneuverability with a joystick to go up, down, and to either side.

First introduced at the June Paris Air Show, the Consumer Electronics Show will mark the Surefly’s U.S. debut, and production is targeted for 2019. Also a mystery at this stage is the exact price but the range is expected to be around $200,000. In the future, Workhorse Group Inc. hopes to introduce autonomous models with 400 pounds payloads. At the moment, the Surefly is pilot-operated, awaiting FAA approval.

According to the Surefly website, the personal octocopter will carry a multitude of users, primarily to serve precision agriculture, emergency response, city commutes, and military applications.

Past electric models by Workhorse have focused on cargo and transportation, particularly with its drivable W-15 electric pickup truck concept. This one has seen orders from fleet management company Ryder System Inc. and UPS with production and delivery set to start by the end of 2018. Also, Workhorse is making a bid to produce the U.S. Postal Service’s new mail delivery trucks with prototypes under development.

Workhorse Group Inc. is also planning to unveil an electric pickup truck and a new electric delivery “N-Gen” van at the Consumer Electronics Show. Its N-Gen electric delivery van is claimed to hold 100-miles of all-electric range with range extension and integrated unmanned package delivery capabilities, along with a very low floor to improve cargo capacity.

“CES is the perfect technology venue for us to showcase our three new technology firsts,” said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. “We know technology-informed people come to CES from all over the world, and we are very excited to show them our SureFly, our low delivery-platform electric N-Gen van, and our W-15 electric pickup.”

The Workhorse brand started in March of 2015 after being acquired by AMP Electric Vehicles, a vehicle electrification company that began electrifying two-seaters before entering a nationwide Progressive Insurance competition to introduce an electric production vehicle to market. After becoming a finalist, the company branched out to electrification package creation for larger vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz ML350 and the Chevy Equinox before going public in 2010. Later,  AMP changed its name to Workhorse Group Incorporated, now traded on the NASDAQ.

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New BMW X5

The next iteration of BMW’s X5 midsize crossover is taking shape and appears to be on schedule for launch in the second half of 2018, possibly as a 2019 model. The redesign appears conservative — except for the X5’s new snout.

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