A go-fast boat is a small, fast boat designed with a long narrow platform and a planing hull to enable it to reach high speeds. During the era of Prohibition, these boats joined the ranks of ‘rum-runners’ transferring illegal liquor from larger vessels waiting outside territorial waters to the mainland. The high speed of such craft enabled them to avoid interception by the Coast Guard. More recently the term ‘cigarette boat’ has become common.
The present era of cigarette boats, dating from the 1960s, owes much of their design to boats designed for offshore powerboat racing, particularly by designer and builder Donald Aronow. During this period, these boats were used by drug smugglers to transfer drugs across the Caribbean to the United States.read more »
Vimāna [vi-mah-nuh] is a mythological flying palace or chariot described in Hindu texts and Sanskrit epics. The Pushpaka Vimana of the demon king Ravana is the most quoted example. Vimanas are also found in Jain texts. The word literally means ‘measuring out, traversing.’
Oxford Sanskrit scholar Monier Monier-Williams defined it as ‘a car or a chariot of the gods, any mythical self-moving aerial car (sometimes serving as a seat or throne, sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air; other descriptions make the Vimana more like a house or palace, and one kind is said to be seven stories high).’ It may denote any car or vehicle, especially a bier (a wheeled altar for transporting coffins), or a ship as well as a palace of an emperor, especially with seven stories.read more »
The Moller Skycar is a prototype personal VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft invented by Paul Moller who has been attempting to develop such vehicles for fifty years (with limited success). The craft said to be currently under development, the M400, is purported to transport four people. It is described as a car since it is aimed at being a popular means of transport for anyone who can drive, incorporating automated flight controls, with the driver only inputting direction and speed required with a cruising speed of 305 mph.
After forty years and $100,000,000 in expenditure the Skycar demonstrated limited tethered hovering capability in 2003. No subsequent testing has occurred, although public demonstrations have been announced and then cancelled. It has been extensively marketed for pre-order sale since the 1990’s as Moller attempted to raise more money for ‘development’ but fifty years on is often cited as a real world example of physical product vaporware. In 2009, Moller filed for bankruptcy.
The Rally Fighter is the first automobile manufactured by Local Motors. The car is designed under a freely distributable Creative Commons license. It was featured in an episode of the American version of the television show ‘Top Gear.’ The Rally Fighter was also featured on the Discovery Channel television show ‘Game Changers’ showing the build process that customers who purchase a Rally Fighter would go through. The Rally Fighter is an automobile built by the customer at a Micro Factory owned and operated by Local Motors.
The Pagani Huayra [wai-rah] is a 2012-13 Italian mid-engined sports car. Succeeding the company’s previous offering, the Zonda, it will cost $1,300,000. It is named after Huayra-tata, which means ‘God of the winds’ in Quechua, the official language of the Inca Empire. The car uses a 6.0 liter twin-turbo Mercedes-AMG V-12 engine producing 720 bhp, a top speed of 231 mph, and a 0–60 mph time of 3.3 seconds. The car uses a seven-speed sequential gearbox and a single disc clutch. The choice not to use a dual-clutch in oil bath was because it would lead to an increase in weight of over 70 kg (154 lb), negating the advantage of the ability of such transmissions to change gears faster. As a result, the entire transmission of the Pagani Huayra weighs 96 kg (210 lb). The fuel consumption of the Huayra is 10 mpg in city and 14 mpg in highway.
The car is equipped with bespoke Brembo brake calipers, rotors and pads. The Huayra uses a carbotanium (a titanium / carbon fiber composite) monocoque construction. The advanced materials used in the Huayra were first employed in the Zonda R. The Huayra is different from its predecessor in that it incorporates active aerodynamics. It is capable of changing the height of the front from the ground and independently operating four flaps placed at the rear and front of the car. The behavior of the flaps is managed by a dedicated control unit that is fed information from systems such as the ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ECU (engine control unit), which pass on information about the car’s speed, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, steering angle and throttle position. This is intended to achieve minimal drag coefficient or maximum downforce depending on the situation.
A number of self-balancing unicycle have been created which are self-balancing only in the forwards-backwards direction, and still need a human being to balance them from side to side. Trevor Blackwell’s Eunicycle is an example of a human-ridable single-axis self-balancing unicycle. Focus Designs and Inventist advertises a similar commercial device, the R.I.O.T. Wheel, a ridable single-axis self-balancing unicycle with an unusually low center of gravity, with its rider in front of, rather than on top of its single wheel, balanced by a counterweight within the wheel. However, a two-axis self-balancing unicycle balances itself both forward and backward, and also side to side. In 2003, Bombardier announced a conceptual design for such a device used as a sport vehicle, the EMBRIO. It is unclear whether Bombardier ever intends to create a working prototype of this vehicle.
Aleksander Polutnik’s Enicycle (2006) is probably the first two-axis balancing human-ridable unicycle. In 2009, RYNO Motors of Portland, Oregon created a one-wheeled electric motorcycle called the Micro-Cycle. According to the company, a commercial version is scheduled to go into production in mid 2013.
A monowheel is a one-wheeled single-track vehicle similar to a unicycle. However, instead of sitting above the wheel, the rider sits either within it or next to it. The wheel is a ring, usually driven by smaller wheels pressing against its inner rim. Most are single-passenger vehicles, though multi-passenger models have been built. Hand-cranked and pedal-powered monowheels were built in the late 19th century; most built in the 20th century have been motorized. Some modern builders refer to these vehicles as monocycles, though that term is also sometimes used to describe motorized unicycles. Today, monowheels are generally built and used for fun and entertainment purposes, though from the 1860s through to the 1930s, they were proposed for use as serious transportation.
In a two-wheel mode of transportation, two systems (wheels) affect motion. Typically one wheel provides the force to control speed, while the other handles changes in direction (steering). For a monowheel, both direction and speed are controlled through the same physical apparatus; this generally makes steering more difficult. In a majority of systems, change in direction is affected by the rider shifting his or her weight, or in the sudden movement creating a shearing force between a handhold and the axis that the driver is settled on. Better control can usually be achieved at slower speeds. Because of the steering problem, monowheels never caught on as a widely accepted mode of transportation.
The DeltaWing is a racing car designed by Ben Bowlby that debuted at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. The entry will run under the Project 56 name, composed of Ben Bowlby’s DeltaWing Racing Cars (design), Dan Gurney’s All American Racers (constructor), Duncan Dayton’s Highcroft Racing (racing team) and International Motor Sports Association owner Don Panoz (advisor). Nissan’s NISMO division is also assisting in the development of the car. The project began in 2009, when Bowlby started to design a new IndyCar Series vehicle meant to be in the field starting in the 2012 season. With financial backing from Chip Ganassi, owner of major squad Chip Ganassi Racing, the prototype was unveiled in 2010 at the Chicago Auto Show. Ganassi owns the car and its patents. IndyCar chose a Dallara design instead. Bowlby then worked with Don Panoz to present the idea to representatives from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They applied for and received an invitation to race in the 2012 Le Mans race.
The DeltaWing was designed to reduce aerodynamic drag dramatically, to allow a marginally faster straight and corner speed than a 2009-2011 Dallara IndyCar on both ovals and road/street courses with half as much weight, engine power and fuel consumption. As the name suggests, it has a delta wing shape, with an unusually narrow front track and a more traditional rear track. The car lacks any front or rear wings – downforce comes from the underbody. The engine will be a four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection 300 bhp unit provided by Japanese manufacturer Nissan.
The Sinclair C5 is a battery electric vehicle invented by British entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom in 1985. The vehicle is a battery-assisted tricycle steered by a handlebar beneath the driver’s knees. Powered operation is possible making it unnecessary for the driver to pedal. Its top speed of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), is the fastest allowed in the UK without a driving licence. It is powered by a 200w or 250W motor. It sold for £399 plus £29 for delivery. It became an object of media and popular ridicule during 1980s Britain and was a commercial disaster, selling only around 17,000 units, although according to Sinclair, it was ‘the best selling electric vehicle’ until 2011 when the Nissan Leaf had sold over 20,000 units. The C5 suffered from problems: cold weather shortened battery life, the driver was exposed to the weather, and because it was low to the ground, doubts were raised about its safety in traffic. The problems were addressed with a second battery, side screens for bad weather and a reflector on tall poles – all available as extras from the launch. Users of recumbent tricycles and a study by the Department of Transport suggested visibility fears were largely unfounded, but the weight, lack of seat-to-pedal adjustment, lack of gears, short pedal cranks, and that the motor overheated on long hills were serious problems; indeed the motor was essentially useless for climbing hills, with even mild gradients necessitating significant pedal assistance.
Sir Clive Sinclair started to think about electric vehicles as a teenager, and it was an idea he toyed with for decades. In the early 1970s Sinclair Radionics was working on the project. Sinclair had Chris Curry work on the electric motor. However, the company focus shifted to calculators and no further work was done on vehicles until the late 1970s. Development began again in 1979 and progressed erratically until, in 1983, it became apparent new legislation would alter the market and make it possible to sell a vehicle closely resembling development efforts. As time went on, the Sinclair Research C5 development cost gradually increased. In 1983, Sinclair sold some of his shares in Sinclair Research Ltd and raised £12 million to finance vehicle development. A new company, Sinclair Vehicles Ltd, was formed out of Sinclair Research and a development contract entered with Lotus to take the C5 design to production. At the same time, the Hoover Company at Merthyr Tydfil contracted to manufacture the C5. This, together with the fact that the motors were made by Polymotor in Italy, started the urban myth that the C5 was powered by a washing machine motor.
The Curiosity rover is a nuclear-powered exploration vehicle that is part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The MSL spacecraft was launched in late 2011 and successfully landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater in the summer of 2012. The approximately 2 billion-year-old impact crater is hypothesized to have gradually been filled in, first by water-deposited, and then by wind-deposited sediments, possibly until it was completely covered, before wind erosion scoured out the sediments, leaving an isolated 5.5 km (3.4 mile) high mountain, Aeolis Mons, at the center of the 154 km (96 mi) wide crater.
Thus, it is believed that the rover may have the opportunity to study two billion years of Martian history in the sediments exposed in the mountain. Additionally, its landing site should be on or near an alluvial fan, which is hypothesized to be the result of a flow of ground water, either before the deposition of the eroded sediments or else in relatively recent geologic history.read more »
The Beatnik Bandit is a custom car created in 1961 by ‘Big Daddy’ Ed Roth, originally as a project for ‘Rod & Custom magazine’; instead of a steering wheel, it was controlled by a joystick.
A Hot Wheels car was made based on the Beatnik Bandit. The car is a representation of ‘Kustom Kulture,’ a neologism used to describe the oeuvre of those who drove and built custom cars and motorcycles in the US from the 1950s through today.
Submarine aircraft carriers are submarines equipped with fixed wing aircraft for observation or attack missions. These submarines saw their most extensive use during World War II, although their operational significance remained rather small.
The most famous of them were the Japanese I-400 class submarine and the French submarine Surcouf, although a few similar craft were built by other nations’ navies as well. Except for the I-400, submarine aircraft carriers used their aircraft in a supporting role (usually for reconnaissance), unlike the typical surface aircraft carrier, which describes a ship whose main function is serving as a base for combat aircraft.