Awesome Stunt Driving Game ‘REKT!’ Gets New Arena and New Cars in Latest Update

One game I’ve been having a ton of fun with since its release in early October is the stunt driving game REKT! [$ 1.99] from the Little Chicken Game Company. It gives you a handful of different stunts you can perform with your car, and then sets you loose in a big arena to go seek out the highest-scoring tricks and lines in the limited time of your run. It’s kind of like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets an over-the-top stunt driving game. It’s great! We loved REKT! in our review. One of the biggest requests I’ve seen since it came out though was for more levels to play in. The initial release came with just one level, and although it’s pretty huge and filled with tons of ramps and obstacles, variety is the spice of life. So the developers listened to those requests and have just released a new update which adds a new level called The Bowl for players to explore.

As its name implies this new level does in fact have a bowl in it which makes for some interesting driving, but it’s also filled with tons of other cool new obstacles to get tricky with. I don’t have any actual size comparisons to go on but The Bowl feels even larger than the original level, so if you’ve already been having fun with REKT! then this essentially doubles the amount of fun you can have. It’s not free though! Not in an “actual money” kind of way, but The Bowl will cost you 2,000 in-game coins to unlock before you can play it. And since this is a paid game with no IAP, you’re going to have to earn that fake money the old-fashioned way.

While the new level is the star of this update, there’s also a very welcome new Practice Mode added to the game which means you can cruise around either of the levels for as long as you want with no time restrictions. You can’t earn achievements or unlock any new vehicles in Practice Mode for obvious reasons, but it’s definitely nice to be able to have all the time you need to seek out all the cool lines and obstacles in each course. Finally, this update also adds in two new unlockable cars as well as four hidden vehicles to discover. You might even get a glimpse of a couple of the new cars if you visit the game’s discussion thread in our forums. Overall this is a case of an awesome game getting even better by way of meaty free updates, and it sounds like there’s even more content in the pipeline for REKT! in the not too distant future.


Volvo has agreed to sell 24,000 SUVs to Uber for a network of self-driving cars

The automaker will sell these base vehicles to Uber starting in 2019.

Uber and Volvo are taking the next step in their self-driving relationship.

Volvo, which first began working with the ride-hail player in August 2016, has agreed to sell 24,000 SUVs to Uber between 2019 and 2021, the automaker announced on Monday.

The Volvo XC90s will have the “core” technology — like redundant processors — needed to enable autonomous driving, to which the ride-hail company will add some of its own technology after the fact.

It’s unclear whether Uber intends to work with Volvo in the future on producing these cars with the software integrated. For now, Uber and Volvo work together on some parts of the technology before it’s produced and then Uber adds its own sensor kit. We’ve asked if Uber adds its own software before or after and will update when we hear back.

So far, this is the largest number of cars that any two companies have agreed to develop that will serve in a commercial driverless fleet. Alphabet’s self-driving arm Waymo only recently announced that it would begin testing 600 Chrysler Pacificas on the road.

It’s also unclear if Uber will continue this ownership model wherein the company simply buys cars from an automaker. While self-driving cars will likely increase profitability — given Uber will take home the entire fare instead of divvying up around 75 percent of it to drivers — but the costs of owning and maintaining the cars are lofty. With autonomous vehicles, there’s also a likelihood that these cars will rack up more miles quickly since there’s little reason to stop and have to be replaced sooner.

For a company that is in the middle of cutting its losses as it prepares to go public, having tens of thousands of cars on its balance sheet isn’t exactly ideal. That’s why Uber has also struck a separate relationship with Daimler that is easier on its purse strings. Through that relationship, Daimler will simply plug its own driverless cars into Uber’s network when it’s ready.

While Uber’s U.S. rival Lyft certainly has struck more automaker relationships, Uber’s partnership with Volvo at least appears to have progressed far more.

The $ 69 billion ride-hail company has also been developing its own autonomous tech at least two years longer than Lyft has. That said, Uber’s self-driving tech has been slow to progress. As of March 2017, the company’s safety drivers had to take over the autonomous system once every .8 miles.

Being first to market with a fleet of fully self-driving cars is increasingly important for a company like Uber. In addition to the financial benefits and competitive advantage over Lyft, being the first with driverless cars operating in an on-demand fleet has significant technological benefits.

But Uber is facing steep competition from Waymo, which just rolled out the first fleet of driverless cars in Phoenix, AZ, and other players like GM’s Cruise.

Uber’s self-driving division is also facing off against Waymo in another arena. Waymo is suing the ride-hail company for allegedly misappropriating self-driving trade secrets and is expected to begin the trial in this lawsuit on December 4.

This is developing …

Recode – All

Volkswagen Has Pledged to Spend $40 Billion on Electric and Hybrid Cars

Volkswagen Ups the Ecologic Ante

Yet another automaker has stepped up to the plate in making their vehicles more environmentally friendly. Volkswagen (VW) has announced that they plan to spend more than 34 billion euros, or $ 40 billion, between 2018 and 2022 on developing electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and new technology.  Most of that money, the company stated after a supervisory meeting, will be spent on updating Volkswagen’s current models to into electric or hybrid.

This projection is significantly larger than a different pledge, released two months ago, that VW would invest 20 billion euros through 2030 on electric and self-driving cars.

The ID BUZZ, one of many electric models Volkswagen has announced. (Image Credit: Volkswagen)
The ID BUZZ, one of many electric models Volkswagen has announced. Image Credit: Volkswagen

“With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world’s No. 1 player in electric mobility by 2025,” said Matthias Mueller, VW Chief Executive, in a press conference, Reuters reports.

Diverse Choices

The German automaker already has four electric models on the road, and has unveiled plans for several more, including an electric crossover with autonomous features and the retro-inspired electric ID BUZZ.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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The company’s push for more eco-friendly vehicles comes as little surprise in the wake of their 2015 emissions-cheating scandal. The scandal erupted when the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that VW vehicles contained a device that allowed them to meet emissions standards when an emissions test was detected, but emit up to 40 times more greenhouse gases than the legal U.S. limit otherwise.

The shift is also being prompted by quotas requiring the shift to electric cars in China, where more electric vehicles (EVs) are sold than anywhere else. CNN reports that Volkswagen plans to invest as much as 10 billion euro, around $ 11.8 billion, in China over the next seven to eight years. This will include developing as many as 40 new electric and hybrid models by 2025.

Not to mention, Volkswagen may find itself forced to switch over as EVs begin to dominate the auto market — many of VW’s competitors, including General Motors, Porsche, Ford, Honda, and even Lamborghini have announced plans to go hybrid or fully electric.

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