REPORT: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies starts building its first full-size passenger pod

By 2018, we will begin to see the first full-scale passenger capsule of the Hyperloop. It will run around 100 feet long, with a 9-foot diameter and a total weight of 20 tons. TechCrunch has the full story:


In the world of Hyperloop, the race is on to see who can produce the first viable commercial system. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies on Tuesday announced a key move in its own progress toward that goal: It has begun construction on its first full-scale passenger capsule, to be completed and revealed in 2018.


The capsule’s not just being built to show that HTT can make it a real thing; it’s destined for use in a commercial system that the company says it’ll announce soon, one sprung from its many negotiations ongoing with various potential clients, which also include feasibility studies to help find out where in the world it makes the most sense to build a real Hyperloop capable of transporting people at very high speeds over great distances down a near-vacuum tube.


The new HTT passenger capsule will still undergo final “integration and optimization” at the company’s research and development facility in Toulouse, France before delivery to the still-unspecified customer. It’s being made for HTT by construction partner Carbures S.A., a firm that builds parts and whole systems for use in aeronautics, defense, space and more.


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A peek into the future: More self-driving cars on the roads

Self-driving cars are no longer just a sci-fi concept. Top automakers have successfully created autonomous vehicles and while large-scale manufacturing is yet to take place, them becoming a mainstream item is not impossible at all. In fact, within the next few decades, autonomous cars can even get their own super-fast lanes.


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Scientists envision a future where all vehicles (not just cars) are connected—through digital traffic signals, road sensors, and nearby vehicles. Increased used of AI on the roads can dramatically lessen accidents and manage traffic more effectively. But while such systems have yet to be developed and installed, current self-driving cars must be tested carefully. Manufacturers must take a cautious approach to having these vehicles vetted on private facilities first, before they’re put out to interact with the public.


In California, the number of autonomous cars running on its roads has more than doubled as smaller automakers and tech startups began launching their own versions of this new automotive technology. The number of companies obtaining autonomous testing licenses in California has dramatically risen alongside the growth in the number of vehicles that are being driven on public highways.


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Industry and government support–whether directly or indirectly–for autonomous cars are similarly growing. The Trump administration is aiming for some ambitious infrastructure projects, and one of which is SmartRoads. These are roads with embedded technology that allows the vehicle to actually, actively interact with the roadway. This provides autonomous vehicles, both cars and trucks, the ability to platoon in very close formation.


Autonomous cars are just one of the many proposed transportation innovations for the future. How it will actually translate to reality is still unclear. However, it has a very good chance of becoming a big industry, especially that it can be designed to function more than just transporting one person from one place to another.

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR: The zenith of racing performance

It was about two years ago when Volkswagen launched its golf race car concept which featured a powerful 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a sequential gearbox with shift paddles located on the steering wheel, and a consistently developed racing chassis. Although its extravagant aero may say otherwise, the car is actually front wheel-driven. In addition, this beast holds large scoops and vents, and a prominent wide body, along with an enormous rear wing.


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The car model has since attracted the curiosity of the racing industry and just last year, it has been given the authorization for public distribution. Earnestly developed by the Volkswagen Motorsport Team, this touring car has been officially called the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. The company built 20 of these 330-horsepower touring cars for privateers, and they have probably been all sold by now (to teams for the FIA’s 2016 Touring Car Racing International series).

While there are no significant changes under its hood, GTI TCR is enhanced by the distinctive red “GTI” symbol in the rear and the front grille as well as bits of red trims on its front end. It carries a roll cage, racing seat, full harness, and a FIA-approved fuel tank with its lightweight interior. Moreover, this carbon-clad model boasts of a 40-cm wide chassis which is more than the size of its production versions.


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The GTI TCR is created to partake in the Touring Car Racing (TCR) International Series and in other reasonably-priced motorsport. Having gained exceptional impact during tests, it further guarantees to live up to its utmost potential during race car competitions.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR achieved double victories in the recent TCR Middle East championship in Dubai. 16-year-old Luca Engstler (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) won in race one, his very first touring car race. In race two, Brandon Gdovic took home all the spoils. The championship will end at Bahrain International Circuit on 10 March.