PAL-V’s “flying car” has successfully completed its maiden voyage in the Netherlands. The “Personal Air and Land Vehicle” flies likes a gyrocopter with the help of an auto-rotating rotor and a rear folding push propeller. On the road, the company claims the PAL-V ONE drives like a sports car. “We are very proud to announce this successful maiden flight of the PAL-V and we now invite investors to create the future with us,” said Robert Dingemanse, CEO and co-founder of PAL-V. “We know there is a lot of interest for the PAL-V. Prior to announcing these test flights, we were already approached on a daily basis by potential customers and dealers wanting to be part of this exciting project.” The copter-car hybrid features a flying range between 220 miles and 315 miles and a driving range of about 750 miles, and it is capable of reaching speeds of up to 110 miles-per-hour on both land and in the air. The vehicle runs on gasoline, however the company is currently developing versions that will use biodiesel or bio-ethanol. Read on for PAL-V’s press release and video demonstration. More →
Some of you may be familiar with the mobile accessory company Powermat. The New York City based accessory manufacturer creates a line of cell phone battery covers and battery packs that aim to simplify and add greater convenience to your mobile life. We stopped by the company’s booth at Mobile World Congress and got a glimpse at where the company is now, where they hope to be, and what’s next. Spoiler: if Powermat has its way, you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about them in the future.
Powermat first came to market around 16 months ago with an innovative, but bulky, line of cases for the iPhone, the iPod touch, the Nintendo DS, and a handful of BlackBerrys. With the case attached to your mobile device, you can place the handset on Powermat’s power mat charging-base and enjoy a cordless charge. Pick up the device, it stops charging. Put it down, it starts charging again. Fast forward to today: the cases have slimmed down, the mat has been sexified, new mobile power accessories have been announced, and the company is looking to expand its position in the smartphone market place and take its proprietary technology beyond the mat. Hit the jump to read about how Powermat wants to keep you powered on, sans cord. More →
If you are a Mercedes owner and a BGR reader, you might have noticed that your car falls a bit short in the technology department regarding music and video playback (any model Mercedes). The Media Interface Plus accessory is a just-released plug and play Bluetooth box that’s now available for purchase, and since it offers a whole heap of enhancements, we decided it was worth checking out for ourselves. For starters, here is what the Media Interface Plus can do that your Mercedes currently can’t: control the Pandora app from your iPhone (including changing songs and even rating songs thumbs down or thumbs up from the steering wheel), streaming music from your Bluetooth device (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, iPod touch, etc.), allowing you to view your SMS messages from the car’s COMAND display, and even playing back iPod video from your iPhone or iPod. Hit the jump to find out what else this little accessory can do, and check out our video overview. More →
Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane to the late-90’s. Back to a much simpler time when cheap gas, overinflated technology stocks, and unattractive computer hardware (and haircuts) reigned supreme. If, during this time, you happened to be the proud owner of a frumpy laptop (unattractive haircut optional), there is a good chance you had a certain connectivity peripheral protruding from the side of your machine… a PCMCIA network interface card (NIC).
PCMCIA stood for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, which was the name of the group that governed the cards standards. PCMCIA NICs adhering to the standard had a dual-row 68-pin configuration, were 54mm wide, and came in a variety of thicknesses — depending on which type of card you had (Type I, II, and III were the most common).
The PCMCIA NIC card was a standard after market accessory for laptops in the late 90’s. If you were interested in using your portable computer on the Internet with that new-fangled “ethernet” technology you were going to need one of these bad boys as ethernet ports were still not standard on laptops at this time. Often accompanied by a dongle, the PCMCIA ethernet adapter provided users high-speed connectivity in a dial-up world. 3Com and Xircom were two of the major PCMCIA manufacturers.
The general consensus around the BGR office is that these cards were one of the least reliable pieces of hardware one could own. Jonathan, Zach, and myself can all recount buying, returning, and exchanging, multiple PCMCIA NIC cards due to various hardware failures, driver issues, and software incompatibilities. But, at that time, they were a necessary evil.
What say you? Can you remember the days of yore when ethernet was a privilege and a bent pin or lost dongle could totally ruin your day? More →
Mercedes-Benz is on an environmentally conscious tear as of late, launching two hybrid vehicles last year, and now an entirely zero emission fuel cell car this December. We were given an opportunity to test drive the new F-Cell vehicle in Manhattan and learn more about the car. For starters, when thinking about what Mercedes has done with this specific vehicle, it’s mind blowing in itself. A non-combustion engine car that is powered off of hydrogen with zero emissions. Did you ever think you’d see the day? As a car lover, just hopping into the driver’s seat of the F-Cell was an experience. Zipping around downtown New York City in the car was… just like driving a gas-powered vehicle, except, there was no noise. I’ve driven dual-mode hybrid cars before, and I have gotten used to not hearing an engine at some times, but no engine sound at all? Borderline ghostly. While the B-Class-based F-Cell has an all electric motor rated at 136 horsepower and 214 pounds of torque, it definitely didn’t feel underpowered. Plus, once we got over the sound of no sound from the engine, there wasn’t much to complain about. It’s the first fuel-cell car from Mercedes, and while it’s not exactly the most luxurious or stylish model in their lineup, neither is a Prius. Being powered 100% by hydrogen lends itself to one main issue: finding a hydrogen refueling station. Now, there are a couple around the NYC area (White Plains, NY, Wallingford, CT, Bronx, NY), but when the F-Cell touches down in December for consumer leasing, it’s going to be heading to the state of California — mostly Los Angeles and San Francisco where there are plenty of hydrogen stations. You might notice how we said leasing and not purchasing, and that’s because the car will only be offered by way of a lease, and while Mercedes wouldn’t confirm pricing information to us, we’ve heard it will run around $550-$750/month. Definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, but for a car that literally emits water instead of toxic sludge — representing the future of the automotive industry — all we can say is, sign us up.
Yesterday, we reported on the Chevy Volt electric car and it’s $41,000 price tag. Now, we know some of you were probably thinking that a Chevy doesn’t exactly fit your personal steez, but we might have something for you. The Porsche supervisory board has green lighted the production of the 918 Spyder hybrid, complete with a 500-horsepower V8 and 109-horsepower electric motor. The new Porsche will allegedly net 78 miles per gallon and will retail for slightly more than the Volt, at around $650,000. We’re unclear as to how a 500-hp Porsche is going to get 78 mpg while a 140-hp Prius gets around 40 mpg… but hey, here’s to hoping those crazy Germans know something we don’t! More →
Mobile giant Nokia and car-systems specialists Clarion have announced a partnership to push a technology they are calling Terminal Mode. As the press release reads, “Terminal Mode, [is] a technology that will enable a totally new way of mobile devices and car infotainment systems to seamlessly work together.” This is a technology that Nokia and Clarion plan on supplementing with content from Nokia’s Ovi Store, and one hopes will be and “industry standard.” The idea is to create a back-end system, and front-end interface, that will become the standard for car manufactures, allowing both OEMs and consumers to customize and tailor their in-car experience. We’ve got the full release for you after the bounce. More →
In-car video entertainment is hardly something uncommon these days. Any run-of-the-mill mini van or SUV can be fitted with a nice DVD / console entertainment system for a fraction of what it used to cost, typically directly from the dealer. If you want to give your front passenger something to focus on during those long trips however, it’s a slightly different story. Sure you can have your local shop slap a flat panel into your passenger-side visor but unless you’re a teenager you’re or prepping for an appearance on Cribs, you might get a few funny looks. Don’t sweat it though, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch might just have the cure for what ails you – assuming you can squeeze a new S-Class into your budget next year. The duo have developed a new display technology dubbed SPLITVIEW that will allow a single screen to display two different pictures depending on the viewing angle. Using a combination of clever pixel placement and a unique filter, SPLITVIEW will allow a centrally-located monitor in the dash to display navigation or control information to the driver while displaying a DVD or even TV channels to the passenger. The passenger will also have the option of using headphones, freeing up the car’s speakers for music or turn-by-turn navigation instructions. Pretty slick, eh? Expect SPLITVIEW to make its first appearance in production 2010 S-Class cars this summer.