CES, motorcycles

CES: Damon Hypersport electric motorcycle promises 200-mile range, active safety, adjustable seating position


Electric motorcycles are coming to market quickly and Vancouver-based Damon has a new spin on two-wheeled emission-free riding.

The Damon Hypersport HS was announced last month and made an appearance this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The electric motorcycle comes with active safety features that help keep its rider safe and offers multiple seating positions to better suit the road and driving style. Damon said the motorcycle will cost at least $24,995 before applicable state and federal tax breaks, and interested buyers can reserve theirs for $100 via Damon’s website.

The Hypersport HS creates more than 200 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque from its electric motor. Damon didn’t say how big the Hypersport’s battery is, but said the motorcycle would deliver about 200 miles of range at 60 mph, about 160 miles at 70 mph, and about 300 miles in the city. The motorcycle takes less than three hours to recharge on a Level 2 plug, according to the company. Damon claims the motorcycle’s top speed is 200 mph and 0-60-mph time is less than 3 seconds.

Damon Hypersport electric motorcycle

Damon says the Hypersport will use advanced safety features typically reserved for cars. The bike uses two cameras, radar, and other sensors to track the road and warn riders of possible dangers via visual alerts and haptic feedback in the grips. The system uses Blackberry-based software to track up to 64 objects on the road and displays information on a 6.0-inch screen that doubles as a digital instrument cluster.

The motorcycle also uploads sensor data to a cloud-based network to help refine safety warnings. Software can be updated via over-the-air updates.

Riders can change their seating position from a supersport to an upright touring position. According to Damon, the Hypersport can shift its seat, windshield, pegs, and handlebars between a supersport riding position and more upright touring position.

The first 25 Hypersport models will be called the Hypersport Premier. They will feature Brembo brakes, Öhlins dampers, and a single-sided carbon fiber swing arm. Damon didn’t say how much Premier model will cost.

Electric motorcycles aren’t new, but they have struggled to reach a broader audience. Harley-Davidson’s Livewire motorcycle reached dealerships last year, but a production issue forced the company to temporarily halt production. The Livewire offers up to 146 miles of range from its battery and costs nearly $30,000.

Damon says deliveries of the Hypersport will begin next year and advanced prototypes will be on the road by the middle of this year.

For more news from CES, see our dedicated hub.



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CES: Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR is unobtainium that looks to a zero-impact future


Mercedes-Benz teamed up with the “Avatar” movie franchise to create a concept car. The Vision AVTR is a unique concept car that looks to the distant future and you can’t have it—it’s unobtanium.

Introduced Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Vision AVTR (short for Advanced Vehicle Transformation) explores a new relationship between human, machine, and nature, and depicts a future where cars are symbiotic with their surroundings.

The car interfaces with the driver through a biometric connection. The driver places a hand on the center console and the car recognizes him or her by heartbeat and breathing. The center console also acts as the control unit through which the driver operates the vehicles; there is no steering wheel. It can drive autonomously in Comfort mode or the driver or other passengers can take control.

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

The driver’s palm has a menu of functions that can be selected with gestures. For example, they can view real-time 3D graphics of the fictional world of Pandora. A curved display acts as the dash. It provides a connection to the outside world for all passengers and offers multiple perspectives, including a bird’s eye view. The interior has no buttons.

Sustainable materials are used throughout the cabin, such as Dinamica, a synthetic leather, for the upholstery and rattan wood on the floor. The car’s haptic seats can monitor breathing and adjust the interior based on the emotional state and stress of the driver and other passengers. Haptic feedback also alerts occupants to objects outside the car. A “Magic Pool” infotainment system is integrated into the back of the front seats. It includes games and augmented reality designed for children.

The design consists of one flowing line that snakes from the exterior through the interior and back out. The body has 33 scale-like “bionic flaps” that can be used to communicate to the outside world via flowing movements. They also act as solar plates to provide the energy needed for sensors, computer chips, and other components, and they can adjust their orientation to aid vehicle maneuvers. Nature is brought inside through transparent doors that open upward. The center console was inspired by the “Tree of Souls,” the most sacred place for the Na’vi people in “Avatar,” and it extends through the A-pillars to the roof.

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept

The Vision AVTR is an electric vehicle and Mercedes imagines a battery with graphene-based organic cell chemistry and no rare-earth metals. Mercedes says that the battery is compostable, recyclable, and completely free of fossil fuels. Likewise, the whole car would have zero impact on the planet. Mercedes says the battery would also charge quickly, in just 15 minutes, through conductive charging. With a capacity of about 110 kwh, Mercedes says it would give the car a range of more than 435 miles.

The car features four electric motors mounted near the wheels with a total output of 469 horsepower. Each wheel can be driven individually, and the front and rear axles can be driven in the same or opposite directions. That gives the car the ability to “crab walk” diagonally at an up to 30-degree angle.

Mercedes will certainly not build the Vision AVTR, but its user experience, design, and battery concepts are signposts for a possible future in which cars interface with their occupants and have no negative effect on the planet.

For more from CES, see our dedicated hub.



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CES: Toyota’s building a city where the future full of robots and AI


Toyota is the biggest automaker in the world, and it started out as a manufacturer of looms for weaving. Now it can add “city developer” to its resume.

On Monday at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toyota announced it will build a prototype city it calls the Woven City.

Woven City will be based at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan on 175 acres of land and will be based on a clean-sheet design. Designed for efficiency and ease of mobility, the city will allow Toyota to develop and test autonomous systems, robotics, smart-home systems, artificial intelligence, and future transportation systems in a real-world environment.

The city will have designated streets for three types of vehicles: faster vehicles, mixed usage for lower-speed personal mobility systems (i.e. scooters or pod-like vehicles) and pedestrians, and park-like promenades for pedestrian-usage only.

Toyota’s all-electric e-Palette concept car and Micro-Pallette concept package delivery robot will be used to cart people around and deliver packages. The LQ concept will also be used. This next-generation EV is planned to have Level 4 self-driving capability and an AI system called Yui that will learn the driver’s preferences and tastes. Walking-area battery electric devices like wheel chairs and scooters will also help get people around the promenades. In addition to vehicles, the city will use robots dubbed HSRs that will execute simple commands via voice control—Toyota didn’t outline what those commands might be.

The man tasked with sketching out this futuristic city is a Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect who is the CEO of Bjarke Ingels Group. If that name sounds familiar it’s because his team worked on the World Trade Center in New York, Lego House in Denmark, and Google’s Mountain View and London headquarters.

Toyota’s Woven City

Toyota's Woven City

Toyota’s Woven City

Toyota's Woven City

Toyota’s Woven City

Toyota's Woven City

Toyota’s Woven City

Plans call for the city to be built from sustainable materials with buildings mostly made from wood. Rooftops will feature solar panels, and native vegetation and hydroponics will be found throughout the city, perhaps inside and out.

The entire city will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells, and Toyota plans to treat it like a living laboratory with full-time residents living within the city.

The buildings, vehicles, and people will all be connected and be able to communicate data via sensors. Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda said the automaker will test artificial intelligence technology both in virtual and physical forms to maximize its potential.

Homes will have robots (finally getting Rosie from “The Jetsons”) and sensor-based AI systems that will be able to monitor occupants’ health.

Initially, the city will be populated with 2,000 Toyota employees, their families, retirees, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners, and it will have the potential to expand as the project continues. Toyota plans to break ground in early 2021.

For more news from CES, see our dedicated hub.



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CES: Hyundai to develop flying Uber air taxis for next-gen cities


Hyundai’s vision for the future includes self-driving pods, flying taxis, and hubs that bring these two forms of transportation together.

The vision and first examples of these two vehicles were laid out on Monday at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

While it all sounds pie in the sky, Hyundai is serious about this future. It’s so serious that it announced a partnership with Uber to develop flying taxis as part of this plan.

Hyundai’s Smart Mobility Solution UAM-PBV-Hub

Hyundai S-A1

Hyundai S-A1

Hyundai S-A1

Hyundai S-A1

The partnership calls for the Korean automaker to develop and build the flying taxis while Uber provides everything else, including airspace, ground transportation, and all customer service aspects of the service.

Hyundai showed the first flying taxi design, which is dubbed the S-A1. Capable of vertical take off and a full transition to wing-borne flight, the S-A1 is capable of cruising speed up to 180 mph at an altitude of around 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground. Its all-electric propulsion system has up to 60 miles of range and can be recharged in about five to seven minutes, according to Hyundai.

Eventually, the S-A1 will be autonomous, Hyundai says, but it will initially be flown by a pilot.

Inside, it has room for four passengers and a pilot, along with space for one backpack or personal bag per passenger.

Hyundai's PBV

Hyundai’s PBV

Hyundai’s Purpose Built Vehicle is a fully autonomous pod that acts as a living space on wheels to free up traffic congestion. Hyundai calls this type of transportation clustered mobility. The PBVs are designed to be functional and can be set up as rolling restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, pharmacies, or simple multi-person transportation pods.

The all-electric rolling bricks are driven by artificial intelligence that will theoretically give them the ability to navigate the best routes while charging in-transit thanks to larger PBVs that would act as mobile charging stations. The PBVs will be able to platoon, which means they will drive together while communicating with each other, thus creating less on-road congestion and allowing for better logistics of personal deliveries.

Hyundai's Smart Mobility Solution UAM-PBV-Hub

Hyundai’s Smart Mobility Solution UAM-PBV-Hub

Hubs will connect these new transportation concepts. Hyundai expects these locations to have skyports for the flying taxis to land and docking stations for the PBVs. The automaker also theorized these hubs could become attractions or malls by connecting a fleet of PBVs together.

Hyundai and Uber provided no timeline for this vision of the future.

For more news from CES, see our dedicated hub.



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Bosch’s new car sun visor uses AI to track your face


Engines, transmissions, lights, and electronics have all been upgraded in the last century. The car’s sun visor hasn’t. Bosch is ready to change that.

Ahead of the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bosch unveiled this week its Virtual Visor technology that could finally change the way sun visors work after 95 years.

Current sun visors are opaque, typically made from plastic wrapped in some material such cloth, vinyl, leather, or suede. A traditional visor can block the sun, but it also blocks part of the driver’s field of vision and creates blind spots. Bosch’s Virtual Visor is clear LCD screen that can automatically darken to block the sunlight from a driver’s view.

Bosch’s Virtual Visor

Bosch's Virtual Visor

Bosch’s Virtual Visor

Bosch's Virtual Visor

Bosch’s Virtual Visor

The LCD panel uses a driver-facing camera, artificial intelligence, and tracing software to determine where occupant’s faces are, specifically their eyes, nose, and mouth, to determine where the sun might be glaring into a driver’s vision. The panel darkens to shield the driver’s eyes, but only in sections to reduce glare Unlike traditional visors, this technology blocks the sun but not the whole road ahead.

The tech could save lives and make roads safer. Bosch notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports thousands of sun glare-related crashes each year while a study from Medicine Baltimore found that the risk of a life-threatening crash is 16 percent higher during periods of bright sunlight than normal weather. Bosch’s Virtual Visor is aimed at lowering these statistics and making it easier, safer, and more comfortable to drive in bright sunlight.

Bosch’s Virtual Visor was named a Best of Innovation in CES 2020 Innovation Awards before the show started. The Virtual Visor will be on display at CES.



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Camera system that eliminates blind spots previewed on Aston Martin DBS Superleggera


Digital rearview mirrors that stream video from from a rear-facing camera have been around for a while. Now, Zeeland, Michigan-based Gentex is ready to showcase a potential evolution for the technology.

Gentex is a company that specializes in auto-dimming rearview mirrors, and at the upcoming 2020 Consumer Electronics Show it will present a new digital rearview camera that integrates video from two cameras covering a vehicle’s blind spots.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system

It means that instead of a warning light that current blind spot monitors provide, the Gentex system shows video of the actual road—and whatever objects that might be there—that is blocked by the blind spot. Gentex’s system uses three cameras, one mounted to each of the side mirrors and a third at the rear edge of the roof. It is being demonstrated on an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

The system features an auto-adjust element that alters the video feeds from the cameras at each of the side mirrors should a driver adjust the mirror position. And while all of the information in the rearview mirror will probably take some getting used to, there’s the option to switch it off, in which case the rearview mirror behaves like a standard auto-dimming mirror.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system

Gentex points out that since the system retains the standard side mirrors, it meets all existing safety regulations—unlike systems that completely replace the side mirrors with cameras. In addition, the system can be tuned to meet various regulatory field-of-view requirements around the world with simple alterations to the video viewing modes, the company said.

Gentex hasn’t announced production plans yet but Aston Martin has praised the technology and has hinted that the system might eventually feature in its cars.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system

“The goal of this development program with Gentex is to ultimately implement a unique (camera monitoring system) solution that enriches the Aston Martin driving experience for our customers around the world,” Aston Martin Chief Marketing Officer Simon Sproule said in a statement.

CES runs from January 7-10 in Las Vegas. For our full coverage on the event, head to our dedicated hub.



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FCA hints at all-digital dash with Airflow Vision concept


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a busy schedule planned for the upcoming 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

In addition to rolling out plug-in hybrid versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass and Renegade, the automaker will also roll out a concept that hints at future cabin technologies coming to its various brands’ cars.

Called the Airflow Vision, the concept features a spacious cabin with seating for four. The real highlight is the dash which features multiple digital screens, including for the instrument cluster, the infotainment hub, and the climate settings. Yes, FCA could start replacing more physical buttons and knobs with touchscreen interfaces in the future. It’s a trend that other automakers including the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Audi are also investigating.

Teaser for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Airflow Vision concept debuting at 2020 CES

In the Airflow Vision, additional screens will feature in the rear compartment. The concept has been designed so that information can be easily shared with all passengers by swiping, for example a restaurant suggestion or the location of a drop-off point.

Interestingly, FCA said in an announcement on Thursday that the exterior also hints at the automaker’s future design. The automaker also said the concept’s wheel design was inspired by the internal workings of an electric motor, suggesting that the concept might feature an battery-electric powertrain.

CES runs from January 7-10. For our complete coverage on the event, head to our dedicated hub.



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CES, Fisker Automotive, fisker ocean

Fisker Ocean electric SUV to debut at 2020 CES, add 200 miles of range in 30 minutes


It’s been just over three years since Danish automotive designer Henrik Fisker announced plans to relaunch his failed EV startup, Fisker.

Since then, the revived Fisker has unveiled the EMotion sedan and announced it is developing solid-state batteries. Now, Fisker is ready to show us a new model, the Ocean SUV, which will debut at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7.

“I have been eagerly waiting to show our revolutionary Fisker Ocean luxury SUV to the public, so we decided to debut the full prototype, reflecting the actual production vehicle, at CES,” said Henrik Fisker, CEO and chairman of Fisker.

While plans for the EMotion and solid-state batteries have been put on the back burner, Fisker is already accepting reservations for the Ocean and aims to start production in late 2021, with deliveries to follow in early 2022. No production site has been announced but Fisker has hired some former manufacturing execs from Toyota and Volkswagen.

Henrik Fisker

The Ocean is a small SUV that Fisker has previously said will be priced from below $40,000 for anyone looking to purchase one outright, undercutting the rival Tesla Model Y which is promised with a starting price of $41,200. You’ll also be able to lease one from $379 per month, with the lease price including the cost of all repairs and maintenance.

For the interior, Fisker has previously said there will be a large head-up display and a “unique” interface complemented by high-quality materials. There will also be something called a “California Mode,” which Fisker said will allow occupants to “experience the sun, fresh air and an open feeling without being in a convertible.”

The Ocean will come with rear- and all-wheel-drive options, plus an 80-kilowatt-hour battery good for up to 300 miles on a charge. Speaking of charging, Fisker has partnered with Electrify America to develop a charging system for the Ocean that will allow 200 miles of range to be delivered in just 30 minutes of charging. The Ocean features a CCS Type 2 Combo plug.

The Ocean is one of three “affordable models” on the drawing board at Fisker. The other two will follow the SUV and then Fisker plans to launch its EMotion sedan which could retail for as much as $190,000 in top grade.



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