Elon Musk Just Unveiled Tesla’s Brand New Roadster

Tonight was the official launch of Tesla’s new electric semi. At the event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the key features of the new haulers, such as their 250-mile range and upgraded seating structure. He also unveiled something entirely unexpected. The new roadster.

You read that right. In typical Elon Musk fashion, at tonight’s launch event for the Tesla semi, Musk officially unveiled the new roadster. No warning. No big pre-launch lead-up. Just a car driving out onto a stage. And this car comes with some pretty remarkable numbers. For starters, it can go from 0 to 60 in just 1.9 seconds. This would make it the first production vehicle to break past the 2-second mark. If that’s not impressive enough, it can go from 0-100 in a staggering 4.2 seconds.

At the time of the unveiling, Musk asserted that it is the fastest production car ever made. He went on to add that it has a top speed of 250 mph and that the car will be able to travel around a quarter mile drag strip in just under nine seconds.

It will lay the “smackdown” to the fossil fuel obsessed auto-industry.

But perhaps the most notable thing revealed is that it has a range of over 600 miles. At the event, Musk clarified that this comes thanks to the vehicles’ 200 kWh battery pack…and that it is this pack that will, to quote Musk, lay the “smackdown” to the fossil fuel obsessed auto-industry. If the numbers hold true, it will be hard to argue against Musk. Picture driving from New York to Florida without stopping for a charge (or for gas).

The somewhat less impressive — but nonetheless important — facts are that the car is a 2 by 2 four-seater, and it is currently slated to be available in 2020. However, if the model 3 production serves as an accurate baseline, it is fairly reasonable to assume that production will hit snags and the release date will be extended for some time. The price was, unfortunately, not released.

Stay tuned for more updates as they come in or watch the event below.

The post Elon Musk Just Unveiled Tesla’s Brand New Roadster appeared first on Futurism.


Ethereum’s Co-Founder Just Unveiled His Plan for the Future of Cryptocurrency

Solving the Scalability Problem

When it comes to hosting secure transactions, blockchain continues to be an attractive option for a number of industries. Arguably, the top blockchain option for enterprise and app use is Ethereum — and its co-founder Vitalik Buterin, wants to keep it that way. At Devcon3, Ethereum Foundation’s third developer’s conference in Cancún, Mexico, Buterin presented what he called a “modest proposal” for the future of the Ethereum blockchain and cryptocurrency.

On Thursday, Buterin discussed a three to four year long-term plan for Ethereum. The roadmap primarily covers technical improvements and changes designed to facilitate scalability, i.e. Ethereum’s capacity to handle transactions. “The amount of activity on the blockchain is orders of magnitude larger than it was just a couple of years ago,” 23-year old Buterin told the audience, as reported by Coindesk. The daily transaction rate on the Ethereum network has gone up to more than 20,000 nodes.

To keep up with and to continue this growth, Buterin’s priority is to come up with solutions that mitigate the cost of expanding storage as the system continues to hold more transactions. “Scalability is probably problem number one […] There’s a graveyard of systems that claim to solve the scalability problem but don’t,” he pointed out. “It’s a very significant and hard challenge. These are just known facts.”

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Encouraging Ethereum’s Growth

For Buterin, the most probable solution is a technical improvement he calls “sharding” or the partitioning of data into subsets, where each node would only have to store a small part of the entire Ethereum network. The idea has been around for a while now, and it looks good in theory. Each node is able to, supposedly, rely on other nodes for data to keep the entire system accountable — despite being kept in subsets.

For sharding to work and keep the network secure by preventing nodes form sending false information to other nodes, Buterin proposed a new sharding infrastructure that’s different from other ideas developers have been considering. The new proposal involves partitioning Ethereum into different types of shards, where the main shard would be the current Ethereum network, and other shards (which Buterin called other “universes”) would hold other transactions.

“Other universes where all this stuff we’ve been working on these last few years can be rolled out much much faster,” Buterin said, according to Coindesk. This means changes can be easily implemented on these other shards, while keeping the main Ethereum network secure and intact. Difficulties in scaling were a contributing cause of Bitcoin’s recent blockchain troubles, meaning solving the scalability problem is of the essence for other cryptocurrencies in the market who want to avoid a similar fate.

Apart from sharding, Buterin also presented a number of other improvements as part of Ethereum’s new roadmap. There would be upgrades to the ethereum virtual machine (EVM), which is the technology that compiles smart contracts. Then there’s project eWASM, which would allow for running Ethereum on a web browser, as well as plans to help clients sync more quickly to the network. Details on each of these, including the research behind each, are available in Ethereum’s Github page.

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Nissan Just Unveiled A Singing Electric Car That Warns Pedestrians

A Future of Safer Cars

One of the biggest selling points for autonomous vehicles is the safety they supposedly guarantee by removing the number one cause of car crashes, the human driver. Now, Nissan wants to make their driverless cars and electric vehicles even safer through a new feature: the singing electric car, a function designed to alert nearby pedestrians.

Launched at the Tokyo Motor Show this past week, Nissan calls this new feature “Canto”—which means “I sing” in Italian. It doesn’t literally make EVs sing, of course. Instead, it emits noise that sound “like a demonic string quartet tuning its instruments,” according to WIRED.

“What you just heard was the sound of the future. It is a sound that we call ‘Canto.’ Soon, it will be heard from our Nissan cars on streets around the world,” Daniele Schillaci, Nissan EVP, told the press during the launch. Schillaci described Canto as a important feature for what the company calls Nissan Intelligent Mobility, although a similar pedestrian-warning function was initially released in the 2011 LEAF.

Nissan launched an electric version of the Leaf back in September, which Schillaci said is already selling like hotcakes. “In just one month, we have already sold more than half of what we sold last year,” he said in the press conference, adding that he sees the LEAF as not just an EV. Instead, he sees it as part of this intelligent mobility, “because EV technology alone is not enough to move people to a better world.”

A Future of Intelligent Mobility

EVs have engines that work more quietly than the usual internal combustion engine. While that’s a good thing for the environment, it can cause some trouble for the unknowing pedestrian or the occasional cyclist, especially those who are visually impaired. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s 35 percent more likely for EVs and hybrids to be in a pedestrian-involved crash, and they are 57 percent more likely to hit cyclists.

Hence, the Canto, which serves as a warning signal for walkers and cyclists. While it works with the Nissan LEAF, the company is also designing more advanced EVs and driverless vehicles for this technology. “[T]he new Nissan LEAF is only the latest chapter in the ongoing story of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” Schillaci said.

Daniele Schialli unveils the Nissan IMx concept, which will be a singing electric car feature, at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Daniele Schialli unveils the Nissan IMx concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. (Image credit: Nissan)

“A few minutes ago, you heard what the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility will sound like. Now, let me show you what it will look like,” Schillaci added as he unveiled a new zero-emission concept car called the Nissan IMx. This cross-over concept isn’t just electric, it’s also fully autonomous, with a driving range of more than 600 kilometers (some 373 miles). Nissan is betting its future in this so-called Intelligent Mobility, and the “Canto” and IMx are a part of it. The company also recently tested its next generation autonomous system, called the ProPILOT, on the streets of Tokyo.

Nissan isn’t the only car maker with vehicles that can produce sound to warn pedestrians, WIRED noted. There’s the Chevrolet Volt, which chirps; the Toyota hybrid Rav4 can beep; and the Prius supposedly hums. The cars of the future will not just look and work differently compared to today’s vehicles. They’re bound to sound different, too.

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Saudi Arabia Just Unveiled a Futuristic “Mega City” 33 Times The Size of NYC

Middle Eastern Mega City

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter, but falling oil prices have made it more difficult for the country to pay its oil workers.

Now the Saudi Arabian government has come up with a project that could give its economy a boost: a $ 500 billion mega-city that will connect to Jordan and Egypt and be powered completely by renewable energy.

On Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the project, called NEOM, at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. It will be financed by the Saudi government and private investors, according to Reuters.

A screenshot from the “Discover NEOM” website. Image Credit: Discover NEOM

The business and industrial-focused city will span 10,230 square miles. To put that size in perspective, 10,230 square miles is more than 33 times the land area of New York City.

NEOM’s larger goal is to lessen Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, which could expand the country’s economy beyond oil,  bin Salman said at the conference. The city will focus on a variety of industries, including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing, and entertainment. Saudi Arabia hasn’t released a masterplan yet for what it will look like.

No Fossil Fuels Allowed

The country appointed Klaus Kleinfeld, a former chief executive of Siemens AG and Alcoa Inc, to run the NEOM project. Officials hope that a funding program, which includes selling 5% of oil giant Saudi Aramco, will raise $ 300 billion for NEOM’s construction.

The project could make NEOM one of the largest cities to run without fossil fuels. In the US, one of the largest cities to run on 100% renewable energy is Burlington, Vermont, which doesn’t come close to the planned size of NEOM. Cities in Iceland and Norway also claim to be close to achieving entirely renewable electrical grids with help from natural resources like hydropower and geothermal heat.

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

Saudi Arabia expects to complete NEOM’s first section by 2025.

“This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world,” bin Salman said on a panel at the conference. “The strong political will and the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to create something big in Saudi Arabia.”

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Nokia 7 unveiled, with a Snapdragon 630, glass back, and ‘bothie’ camera mode

Yesterday in China, HMD Global announced the newest member of its range of Nokia branded Android smartphones. We’ve seen the wallet-friendly Nokia 3 and 5, the mid-range Nokia 6, and most recently came the flagship Nokia 8. While it might appear that HMD doesn’t know how to count, the Nokia 7 announcement at least takes us one step closer to a full house. The Nokia 2 and 9 are on the way soon, too.

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Nokia 7 unveiled, with a Snapdragon 630, glass back, and ‘bothie’ camera mode was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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