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  • Mechanical Automated Parking System (MAPS) in KL

    The heart of Kuala Lumpur is set to receive a premier parking tower on Jalan Tun Razak soon, aimed at solving the perennial shortage of parking spaces in the city centre. The Mechanical Automated Parking System (MAPS) towers will be able to meet the needs of consumers with the diversity of services offered, said M.A Intelligent Parking (MAIP) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Muhammad Isa Kasim.

    The multi-storey car park uses an integrated multi-level parking system from Japan, and includes valet services, as well as provision for seasonal parking and premier parking. The multi-level parking system consists of an array of hoists which allows parked cars to be stacked one atop another, thereby populating the car park vertically in a more space-efficient manner.

    When the parking tower opens to the public within two months, parking rates are RM13 per entry and RM2 for each subsequent hour. The parking tower has 199 parking bays and operates 24 hours. Efficiency of space is an advantage of the parking tower, as this particular building takes up just one acre of land, Isa said.

    “We will use our expertise, as well as our counterpart in Japan to implement the system all over the country. The project revolves around places like hospitals and shopping malls where parking is in demand,” he added, saying his company has already started similar multi-level parking building projects in Kedah, Perlis, Pahang and Terengganu. According to Bernama, MAIP aims to build 20 MAPS in the country next year, at an investment of RM1.8 billion.

     
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  • Mercedes-AMG G65 Final Edition debuts – 65 units

    The Mercedes-AMG G 65 is certainly a vehicle with presence, not just because of the way it looks, but also due to what lies under its bonnet. With a hand-built 6.0 litre biturbo V12 engine, the G 65 has at its disposal 621 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, enough to get the big brute from a rest to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 230 km/h.

    Alas, all good things must come to an end, as AMG will soon discontinue the G-Wagen variant. As a last hurrah, the company will offer the G 65 in an exclusive Final Edition, which will be limited to just 65 units worldwide. Each unit will be priced from 310,233 euros (RM1,549,334) if you want one.

    For the money, you’ll get the aforementioned V12 engine that is paired with an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G?Tronic automatic transmission and permanent all-wheel drive system. The off-roader’s characteristic high ground clearance and long suspension travel also makes it pretty handy when traversing difficult terrain.

    Among the important figures include a maximum fording depth of 60 cm when driving through water and mud, slope climbing ability of up to 80% on suitable surfaces, driving stability at angles of 28°, angle of approach/departure of 27° and breakover angle of 22°.

    The Final Edition comes fitted with 21-inch five-twin-spoke alloy wheels in bronze, silver brake callipers and AMG Sport trim strips on the sides. Other details include a matte bronze finish for the underride guard, trim elements in the bumpers, grille surround and side mirrors. There’s plenty of black bits too like the radiator grille mesh, running boards, tailpipes and exterior protective strips.

    While it may look menacing from the outside, the Final Edition retains the G-Class’ luxurious approach when it comes to the interior. The designo Exclusive package introduces designo black nappa leather with seat side bolsters in a carbon-fibre look and topstitching in light brown.

    You’ll also find carbon-fibre trim elements, bronze decorative stitching, AMG Performance steering wheel in black nappa leather and multicontour and climatised seats for driver and front passenger. Last but not least, milled Edition lettering can be found on the grab handle plus floor mats with leather edging in light brown and topstitching in black.

     
  • 2018 Audi A7 Sportback – all models hybrid, Audi AI

    Audi has finally revealed its second-generation A7 Sportback, featuring some of the company’s latest cutting edge driving assistance technologies like that found on the Audi A8. In terms of looks, the A7 retains the familiar Sportback silhouette as its predecessor, but the rest of the grand tourer is new.

    The front fascia is flanked by Audi’s signature Singleframe grille that’s wider and lower than the A8’s and a much sleeker pair of headlamps. It’s available in three versions: LED, Matrix LED and Matrix LED with laser light – the latter two featuring 12 individual LED bars with dynamic lighting. Primary illumination (low beam) is provided by twin LED projectors – the top-end laser spot tech is for the high beam only.

    The back is entirely new and, according to Audi, is tapered like that of a yacht. Within its tailgate is an electronic spoiler which automatically protracts at 120 km/h (like the TT). The long, new tail lights underscore its chiselled rump, now with a flat LED strip – a feature Audi wants to make common for its top models – spanning the car’s width. Like the front, it gets 13 separate LED bars with varying sets of animations from the minute you unlock the car.

    Audi offers up to 15 colour choices – eight of which are new – with wheel sizes up to 21 inches in diameter. The A7’s proportions however, tread really close to its predecessor with a measurement of 4,969 mm long (same as before), 1,908 mm wide (three mm narrower), 1,422 mm tall (two mm shorter) and a wheelbase of 2,926 mm (-12 mm). As usual, an S line pack is optional, with gloss black enhancements done to the front grille and air inlets, side sills as well as the front and rear diffusers.

    While the exterior remains familiar to most, it’s the cabin that gets the biggest revamp. Let’s start from the driver’s seat. There’s a new three-spoke leather steering wheel with the usual integrated controls, behind which rests the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit that the company is becoming well known for. Next to it you’ll find the headlamps control, now in the form of a touchpad instead of the good old dial.

    The centre dash is now home to two touchscreen displays. The upper unit is a 10.1-inch screen (with haptic feedback!) that is tilted towards the driver for ease of view and is designed to “disappear” into the dashboard when switched off. The lower 8.6-inch touchscreen unit is for the climate control, heated/ventilated seats, lane-keep assist and engine start/stop disabler. It also doubles as a touchpad for text input. Below that you’ll find the electronic gear rocker that’s wide enough for the driver to rest his/her wrist on.

    MMI radio comes as standard, but this can be upgraded to MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus for a small fee. There’s also a choice of four sound systems – the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 3D sound is the range topper.

    At its debut, a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 (A7 55 TFSI; learn Audi’s new nomenclatures here) will take first charge, pushing 340 hp and 500 Nm of torque. It’s paired to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and is good for a century sprint time of 5.3 seconds with an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. All engines used in the new grand tourer will be electrified with Audi’s new mild hybrid system (MHEV).

    MHEV is a 48-volt electrical system which lends a hand in efficiency. Audi says it helps reduce fuel consumption by 0.7 litres per 100 km (it freewheels between 55 and 160 km/h while coasting), bringing the combined rating down to 6.8 litres per 100 km while emitting 154 grammes of CO2. Other four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines – both petrol and diesel – will be offered in due course, as well as a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 for the S and RS variant.

    Customers can choose between four suspension setups: conventional hydraulics with steel springs, sports suspension (lowers ride height by 10 mm), electronically-controlled damping or self-levelling adaptive air suspension. The steering wheel also gets a quicker ratio (between 9.1:1 to 16.5:1), but it’s a progressive rack, which means it can be even quicker in Sports mode. Options include all-wheel steering with electronic chassis program (ECP) and sports differential.

    Lastly, the A7 Sportback is fitted with Audi AI, now split into three packages: Audi AI parking pack (remote parking with remote garage pilot), City assist pack with crossing assist and Tour assist pack. The last comes with efficiency assistant and adaptive driving assistant, both of which work in tandem with adaptive cruise control. Owners can also auto-park the new A7 through the myAudi smartphone app. Depending on the variant, there can as many as five radar sensors, five cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner.

    The A7 Sportback will be built at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant and will go on sale in Germany by February 2018. The starting price in Europe/Germany for the A7 55 TFSI quattro is €67,800 euros (RM340k).

     
  • Petronas revamps Mornings@Mesra breakfast combos

    Petronas Dagangan Berhad (PDB) has introduced its revamped range of breakfast combos under the Mornings@Mesra banner launched earlier this year, aimed at commuters looking for a quick bite on the go. Priced at RM5, the new offerings are available at over 450 participating stations nationwide.

    Aside from the currently available combo of nasi lemak and Nescafé, customers can now choose from a selection that includes nasi kerabu, mee goreng and bihun goreng as well as Milo. The initiative is meant to assist local vendors and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their businesses, and all items are supplied by vetted vendors to ensure quality.

    “The latest addition to the menu takes into account our customers’ favourite local dishes across different regions and hence the Mornings@Mesra breakfast combo packs have been customised to suit local tastebuds,” said head of retail business Aadrin Azly. “We are greatly encouraged by the positive feedback received and we endeavour to make this initiative a staple part of making our customers’ mornings better.”

    From now until November 15, customers who purchase five Mornings@Mesra combos will receive a 10% Lazada discount voucher worth up to RM15. Digi users will also be able to purchase a combo pack at 99 sen by downloading the Superdeal on the MyDigi app (limited to one deal per person) and presenting it at participating Mesra stores during the same period.

    To promote the product, PDB is giving away complimentary breakfast combos at selected regions outside the Klang Valley, starting with Raub on October 9. The next giveaway is in Bintulu on October 27.

     
  • Fernando Alonso to remain with McLaren in 2018

    Fernando Alonso has confirmed he will contest the 2018 Formula 1 season for McLaren, ending speculation that he will leave the team after a frustrating number of races. The two-time world champion has been tipped to re-sign with the Woking race team following the announcement that McLaren will switch from Honda to Renault power next year.

    “It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren. It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here. This is a fantastic team, full of incredible people, with a warmth and friendliness that I’ve never experienced elsewhere in Formula 1. I’m incredibly happy to be racing here,” said Alonso.

    “Just as important, McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1. Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgotten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon,” he added. Alonso will again race alongside current teammate Stoffel Vandoorne for the 2018 season.

    Next year will mark Alonso’s fourth successive season with McLaren since he joined in 2015, and his fifth in total with a stint in 2007. The Spaniard has yet to place better than fifth in Honda-powered machinery, and has been pretty vocal about performance and reliability issues.

    “The last three years have given us the momentum to plan and build for the future, and I’m looking forward to that journey. I’m excited for our future together – and I’m already working hard to make it a success,” Alonso noted.

    “With Fernando, you really can’t ask for a better driver to deliver a result for you on a Sunday afternoon – and I think everybody in Formula 1 would acknowledge that sentiment,” commented Eric Boullier, racing director at McLaren.

    “He’s always been clear to me that this is a team he loves, and that his heart has always been set on staying. Today’s announcement shows that he’s fully committed to racing and winning as a McLaren driver, and, while we’ve often shared his frustrations over the past few years, we now feel that we can deliver on our promise to give him a competitive car next season,” he added.

     
  • Nissan suspending vehicle production in Japan to address inappropriate inspections misconduct

    Nissan’s recently revealed misconduct in its final inspection procedures is another blow to the ‘Made in Japan’ reputation, which is also being damaged by Kobe Steel’s data falsification scandal. Japan’s second-largest carmaker is now suspending domestic production of vehicles for at least two weeks to address the issue, which led to a recall.

    Production at Nissan’s six Japanese plants that churn out cars for the domestic market will be stopped to consolidate their inspection lines to comply with Japan’s transport ministry requirements, Reuters reports.

    The report points out that Nissan produced around 79,300 passenger and commercial vehicles in Japan in August, and from that, around 27,600 were JDM cars, representing around 6% of its global production.

    Nissan admitted that uncertified technicians performed final checks for domestic market models because some inspection steps had been transferred to other inspection lines, in violation of ministry rules. Checks by uncertified inspectors continued even after Nissan said it had strengthened control of its inspection processes when the issue first came to light late September.

    “Our emergency measures were not enough. We were unable to change our bad habits,” CEO Hiroto Saikawa said, adding that it appeared that a focus on increasing the efficiency of the inspection process had contributed to the issue, while poor communication between plant managers and foremen also may have been a factor.

    This “misconduct” has already forced Nissan to recall all 1.2 million new passenger cars sold in Japan over the past three years for re-inspection. Yesterday, Nissan announced that around 34,000 more cars would be re-inspected.

    To recap, Japan’s transport ministry had discovered that uncertified technicians at Nissan plants were using the stamps of certified technicians to sign off on final vehicle inspections, in violation of ministry guidelines. Nissan has admitted wrongdoing, but said the misconduct has no impact on the quality of its vehicles. Also, the issue does not affect exported vehicles, as the certification process for final inspections does not apply to vehicles shipped overseas.

    Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported today that inappropriate inspection practices had been going on at Nissan for at least 20 years.

     
  • Volkswagen teases 2018 Pikes Peak electric race car

    Volkswagen’s push for electric vehicles will not only involve the humdrum hatchback and microbus, but also the realm of motorsport as well. The company’s motorsport division (Volkswagen Motorsport) recently teased an all-electric prototype that will aim to set a record next year at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.

    “The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,” said Frank Welsch, member of the Board responsible for development.

    “Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies,” he continued.

    “The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,” added Sven Smeets, director of Volkswagen Motorsport. The car will feature an all-wheel drive system to tackle the 19.99 km-long race course, which climbs 1,440 m to the summit at 4,300 m above sea level.

    The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, which was set by US driver Rhys Millen (e0 PP100) in 2016.

     
  • Hennessey Venom F5 set to debut at SEMA Show

    Hennessey Performance has chosen this year’s SEMA Show to unveil the new Venom F5, the successor to the Venom GT and contender to be the fastest car in the world.

    To attain that title, the Venom F5 will have to defeat one of the biggest names in the business – Bugatti. Much like how the Venom GT went head to head against the Veyron, the Venom F5 will have to beat the Chiron in terms of outright top speed.

    Big power is a necessity here, and it seems John Hennessey’s new baby will be fitted with a twin-turbo V8 that delivers more output than the Chiron’s 1,500 PS 8.0 litre quad-turbo W16 engine. A Top Gear UK interview with the man reveals the Venom F5’s engine will be paired with a single-clutch automatic with a six-speed manual being an option.

    Unlike the Venom GT that is based on the Lotus Exige, the new car will feature a carbon-fibre tub along with its own unique chassis, design and aerodynamic package. Put together, the end product is claimed to weigh nearly 500 kg less than the nearly two tonne Chiron (kerb weight).

    “I think something in the 290 mph (466.71 km/h) range will be possible,” said Hennessey. That is a big number, one that dwarves the 431.072 km/h set by the Veyron Super Sport, the current Guinness World Record holder.

    The Chiron is electronically limited to a top speed of 420 km/h, and the company won’t attempt to test its unrestricted top speed until 2018. So, which car do you think will take the top speed crown?

     
  • Toyota Sora – fuel cell bus concept with 200 km range

    Toyota has finally given a name – Sora – to its fuel cell bus concept, along with a sleeker new design. The Japanese company plans to introduce over 100 fully functioning units to operate within the Tokyo metropolitan area before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    It’s a zero-emissions fuel cell bus that embodies Toyota’s commitment to build environmentally-friendly vehicles for the world. As implied, it’s powered by the same propulsion technology found in the Mirai and Fine-Comfort Ride concept. Under the skin are 10 tanks (with a nominal working pressure of 70 MPa) carrying 600 litres of hydrogen, enough for a fuel cell range of 200 km.

    Refuelling all tanks takes about 10 minutes, and the system will have an energy capacity of 235 kWh. The hydrogen then gets fed to two on-board fuel cell stacks that power a pair of electric motors. Combined, the system produces 226 kW (308 PS) and 670 Nm. The bus also doubles as a power generator in the event of disasters. Acceleration is deliberately tweaked to be smoother – gone are the days of lurching in a stop/go situation, because there’s no need for gear shifting as well.

    What’s new this time around are the horizontal seats, which feature an automatic storage mechanism (pictured above), providing passengers more space for large items like strollers or wheelchairs. This is the first in Japan, according to Toyota. There are also eight HD cameras fitted inside and outside of the bus for pedestrian and bicycle detection, allowing the driver to safely navigate through busy city streets. The cameras help provide better peripheral monitoring, and visibility is aided by LED headlamps and LED tail lamps as well.

    Sora will also get ITS Connect, which utilises vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to facilitate safe driving. This works together with systems that support bus convoys and provide priority at traffic signals (PTPS5).

    For dimensions, the bus is 10,525 mm long, 2,490 mm wide and 3,340 mm tall; large enough to ferry 79 individuals (22 seated, 56 standing) including the driver. The Sora FC bus concept will make its debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, alongside the Fine-Comfort Ride concept.

     
  • Uber creates simulated city to test autonomous cars

    In its efforts toward developing self-driving vehicles, ride-sharing company Uber has constructed a purpose-built ‘fake city’ for the testing of its autonomous cars, which already run in San Francisco. Dubbed Almono, the facility is built on a 11,000 sq ft plot of land comprising a veritable smorgasbord of obstacles including roadways, complicated intersections, fake cars and unpredictable pedestrians.

    Uber has plans to further expand the facility by another 13,000 sq ft, which will go towards the company’s efforts in testing their self-driving vehicles’ abilities before they reach service on public roads. The obstacles put in place are meant to test Uber’s self-driving vehicles far beyond what they may encounter in real-life deployment, Uber said.

    “We have obstacles and mannequins that move and can cross the street in front of the car. We have prop vehicles zooming around. In most situations, we simulate those in such a way that they’re worse than anything you would see out on public roads,” said Uber vehicle operator Rick McKahan.

    Behind the computer-intensive operations of autonomous driving, Uber’s human operators are tested here too. Following written tests, the company’s vehicle operators are also assessed on the Almono testing grounds before they are cleared to monitor the self-driving cars out in the real world.

    The ride-sharing company hasn’t revealed its latest list of autonomous vehicles, though it has partnered with Volvo and Ford in earlier autonomous technology developments, while each automaker embarked on their own autonomous tech work.

     
 

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Last Updated 19 Oct 2017


 

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