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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Tesla delivers big Autopilot upgrade with new firmware

    Tesla saw plenty of bad press thanks to a fatal crash in Autopilot mode earlier this year. However, the latest firmware update is heavily focused on improving this department. In a blog post detailing version 8.0 of the Model S firmware, Tesla explained that radar is now becoming the primary control sensor for Autopilot mode. Previously, it was used to feed supplementary data to the camera and image processing system. The company outlined some challenges in using radar as the main sensor. Radar isn't perfect "The radar can see people, but they appear partially translucent. Something made of wood or painted plastic, though opaque to...

  • US-based Liberty Media to buy F1 in huge shakeup

    There have been murmurings for a while now, but it's now official. Liberty Media has agreed to acquire Formula One in a deal valuing the motorsport at US$8-billion. The corporation agreed to buy an initial 18.7% stake in the sport, with a 100% sale "subject to satisfaction of conditions". Liberty Media shed more light on the sale in a press statement. "After completion of the acquisition, Liberty Media will own Formula One and it will be attributed to the Liberty Media Group which will be renamed the Formula One Group. The consortium of sellers led by CVC will own approximately 65% of the...

  • Listen: this is the sound of new Formula E cars

    The third season of Formula E is set to take place later this year and sees a prominent new entrant in the form of the Jaguar team. The new season will see a few rule changes taking place, such as a slightly lower weight (from 888 kilograms to 880) and a higher level of regeneration (from 100KW to 150). These factors will in turn make for faster cars and longer runs compared to current rules. With this in mind, Jaguar and the rest of the field went testing at Donington Park recently, allowing people to hear the sound of season three's cars for...

  • Confirmed: Felipe Massa to retire at end of 2016

    Williams driver Felipe Massa will be retiring from Formula One at the end of 2016, the Brazilian has announced. Massa, who is ranked ninth for all-time starts (at 242), is set to have 250 starts under his belt when the chequered flag drops in Abu Dhabi. "I must start by especially thanking my wife and my father, my whole family, my manager Nicolas and all the people who have supported me throughout my career. Thank you to God for giving me the opportunities I have had in life and, above all, for protecting me," Massa said in an official statement. Felipe Massa is...

  • How many BMW i3 and i8 electric cars have been sold in SA?

    BMW and Nissan have announced the launch of the first joint charging stations for electric cars in South Africa - but buried in the press release was a rather interesting bit of news... The German automaker revealed that it sold 300 electric vehicles in the country since their introduction. But which model was more popular though? "In South Africa, BMW has sold a total of 141 BMW i3s and 159 BMW i8s units since its local introduction, making BMW i3 the most successful EV in the market," the automaker noted. We're not sure what BMW means about the i3 being the most...

  • BMW, Nissan launch first joint charging stations in Cape Town

    Following their memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year, BMW and Nissan have launched their first joint charging stations for electric vehicles in South Africa. The two manufacturers launched three charging stations (for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, BMW South Africa said in a statement. "The charging stations will supplement the stations already installed by BMW across 27 BMW dealerships, at the Melrose Arch Precinct and at BMW’s Head office in Midrand to support the adoption of EVs in South Africa’s urban areas," the German manufacturer added. The charging stations use Type 2 connections, which...

  • 1960 Belgian Grand Prix: F1’s other dark weekend

    The 1994 San Marino Grand Prix is widely considered to be one of F1's darkest weekends -- with just cause. Aside from Ayrton Senna's death during the race, the weekend also saw rookie Roland Ratzenberger die in qualifying and Rubens Barrichello almost dying on Friday. But before that horrible weekend in Imola, the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix was one of the most infamous weekends. A far cry from today's era of safety The 1960 season took place at a dangerous time, when drivers didn't wear full-face helmets, fireproof overalls weren't mandatory and roll hoops weren't used. Hell, many drivers didn't care for seat belts,...

  • Nvidia’s neural network taught itself to drive cars

    Self-driving cars are quickly becoming one of the hottest things in the automotive industry. But is driving easy enough for a neural network to learn with little human input? Well, Nvidia has done just this. The tech company fed data from the steering wheel and a front-facing camera in the car to "convolutional neural networks" (CNNs). The neural networks then conducted steering commands in reaction to said data. "This powerful end-to-end approach means that with minimum training data from humans, the system learns to steer, with or without lane markings, on both local roads and highways. The system can also operate in areas with unclear visual guidance...

  • These might be the road signs of the future…

    From bus lanes and yield notifications to stop signs and speed limits, road signs haven't changed much over the years, it would seem. But automotive innovation is moving at a rapid pace, so UK-based website Car Keys came up with several road signs we might see in the future... Autonomous cars only Between Google, Tesla and other firms dabbling in this field, it seems like a matter of time until we get lanes for autonomous cars only. Expect these lanes to be the safest - unless a human driver decides to get in on the action. Charging lanes to be a thing? Much like autonomous technology, several firms are experimenting with...

  • How will 2017’s F1 cars look compared to 2016’s racers?

    The F1 season has passed the halfway mark, and several teams are already looking to the 2017 season. Next year brings a raft of rule changes that will change the way cars look in a rather dramatic way. Technical illustrator Giorgio Piola teamed up with Motorsport.com to show off the 2017 cars and how they stacked up to your average 2016 model. So then, how do they compare? Watch the video and read all about the changes below... Wings? Perhaps the biggest visual change is a longer nose with a wider, swept front-wing. This was done in a bid to boost overtaking. The rear wing also...

  • Michael Schumacher: The real King of Spa?

    The Formula One summer break is in full swing, featuring a three week break from the German Grand Prix to the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian circuit is widely considered to be one of the greatest racetracks in the world, offering drastic elevation changes, iconic corners (Eau Rouge/Radillon), high-speed sections and notoriously tricky weather. Winning here is thus considered a badge of honour compared to almost all the other races on the calendar - only Monaco can possibly compare. In terms of race victories, Michael Schumacher can stake a claim to being the King of Spa, at six victories. But wins...

  • Watch Ayrton Senna’s ‘message’ for Brazil’s Olympians

    Three time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna may have died over 20 years ago, but he still managed to deliver a 'message' for Brazilians competing at the Olympics. In a partnership between the Ayrton Senna Institute, JWT and Le Cube, a video was produced, chronicling Senna's epic 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix win. In that race, the F1 legend managed to take victory despite being stuck in 5th gear and suffering from shoulder spasms. The video was meant to inspire Brazil's athletes to win at home as well. "Ayrton Senna lost eight times before winning the Brazilian GP, and when he did, it was with...

  • Want to get into endurance racing? WEC now has a feeder series

    Finding a path to Formula One usually means being successful in GP3 and GP2, but what if you want to join the World Endurance Championship (WEC)? The route to the championship has become a lot clearer with news that the Formula V8 3.5 open-wheel series will serve as a feeder series from 2017. The deal will see Formula V8 3.5 races taking place in support of WEC events. "The agreement includes a minimum of three overseas rounds in Mexico, Japan and Bahrain, the last being the final event of the endurance championship, in addition to three of the four European events on the WEC...

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