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Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Unveils Unique, Angular “Cybertruck”

Yesterday, Tesla introduced the newest entry in its line of electric vehicles, the sci-fi inspired “Cybertruck.” With a design resembling no other consumer vehicle on the market, the Cybertruck features a completely angular aesthetic, and Tesla founder Elon Musk described it as inspired by the visuals of Blade Runner. The vehicle’s design came as a surprise to members of the press, as the truck’s appearance was not leaked ahead of the event, an accomplishment for Tesla during a time when technology is frequently leaked to the press before being officially unveiled. While rumors had circulated that Tesla was designing a pickup truck, no one had predicted that it would look so unusual, appearing more like a prop in a science-fiction movie than a real consumer product.

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During Tesla’s press event, the Cybertruck was marketed for its unique and unusual characteristics, and the presenters made it abundantly clear that nothing else like it exists on the market today. The truck has a stainless-steel “ultimate exoskeleton,” as Tesla calls it, and in order to demonstrate the strength of the truck’s exterior, an on-stage presenter hit the truck with a sledgehammer, leaving no visible mark. Musk claimed the truck was “literally bulletproof,” as its exterior is able to withstand shots from a 9mm handgun. Musk also made bold claims about the strength of the glass used in the truck’s windshield and windows, and tried to demonstrate this strength by having someone throw a metal ball at it; however, in a moment that prompted laughter from the audience, the metal ball shattered the drivers’ side window, and then shattered the truck’s rear drivers’ side window when the demonstration was tried again.

Musk has said that he doesn’t care whether people like the design of the truck

The truck has several distinctive features; most strikingly, the design features virtually no curves, instead being shaped by triangles and quadrilaterals. Though the vehicle does not resemble a pickup truck, it features 100 square feet of lockable exterior storage and a payload limit of up to 3,500 pounds. The Cybertruck has an adaptive tire pressure system, allowing drivers to adjust the ride height of the vehicle depending on the situation using a built-in air compressor. Additionally, Tesla advertised an electric ATV, called the “Cyberquad,” which can be stored in the truck’s bed, allowing the truck to recharge the ATV’s battery. Though it appears to be an optional accessory for the Cybertruck, Tesla has not yet announced if and when the Cyberquad will be available for purchase.

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Elon Musk boasted impressive statistics for the truck’s performance, both on the road and off. On-road, the fully-upgraded model of the truck accelerates from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and can drive a quarter mile in 10.8 seconds. And when used off-road, the truck has “the best approach angle, clearance height, and departure angle,” according to Musk. Additionally, the vehicle comes in three battery capacity options, allowing a range of 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles, respectively. The Cybertruck includes Tesla’s autopilot technology as a standard option, with an additional upgrade enabling full self-driving capabilities as soon as the software is authorized for widespread use. The truck starts at $39,900 for the single motor AWD option; other options include dual motor AWD for $49,900 and triple motor AWD for $69,900.

Reactions to the unique truck’s unveiling were predictably mixed. Many were skeptical of the “outlandish” product, with some going so far as to question whether Tesla was “for real.” Others called the vehicle “a niche product at best,” questioning its commercial viability. Journalists had a chance to take a ride in the Cybertruck, which features a starkly minimalistic interior and spacious, comfortable seating. While no one argued that any part of the unveiling was boring, many questioned the practicality of such a vehicle, and suggested that the design was too weird for the product to enjoy mass-market success. Musk has said that he doesn’t care whether people like the design of the truck, and this lack of concern for the general public’s opinion certainly informed the vehicle’s appearance. 

Tokyo Olympics

Toyota Bringing Self-Driving Taxi’s To Tokyo For 2020 Olympic Games

Toyota is taking over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with their newest and most innovative car technology yet. Self-driving cars have been an image of the future ever since Tesla’s got mainstreamed into the realm of vehicles; now Toyota, the largest automobile maker, will be introducing their first ever self-driving cars as cabs for individuals in Japan who will be travelling all throughout Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic games. 

The vehicles are known as “SAE Level-4 automated vehicles,” the SAE stands for Society of Automobile Engineers, and “Level 4” references this specific groups ranking for a vehicle’s advancement. Level 4 assumes that the vehicle can “perform all driving tasks under any specific set of conditions such as weather or geography,” according to The Verge. While these automobiles may have that advanced classification, Japanese law states that an individual must always be present behind the wheel of any moving vehicle, regardless of its technological capabilities. So if you’re attending the 2020 Tokyo games, don’t expect an empty car to arrive to take you to and from the games. Toyota is ensuring that while the cars will be driving themselves for the entirety of the automobiles residency in Japan, there will always be someone behind the wheel who will be ready to take control of the vehicle should it become necessary. 

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self-driving taxi trial on a test track 

“Toyota is only offering rides in its cars for a small window of time: July to September. The cars will be geofenced, meaning they will be restricted to a specific geographic area within Tokyo’s busy Odaiba district. Odaiba’s complex environment of pedestrians, vehicle traffic, diverse road infrastructure and tall glass buildings provide a challenging setting in which to demonstrate the capabilities of Toyota’s automated driving technology,” Toyota said in their official press release regarding their Level-4 vehicles.  

The Toyota Research Institute, based in Silicon Valley, has been testing these vehicles for this specific event for a few years now, (Verge). For the tests the group traveled to Ottawa Lake, Michigan in order to have a large enough space to prepare. In Michigan, engineers and researchers created a closed-course facility that exactly replicated Odaiba districts most challenging driving characteristics and common driving scenarios. They spent their time in Michigan specifically ensuring that these Level 4 vehicles were equipped and prepared to handle a multitude of conditions once actually in Japan. 

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The specific technology from Toyota is known as their “Chauffeur” software, which executives described in the press release as “focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain.” The “premiere” of these vehicles to the public being specifically for the Olympics, which are being held in the homeland base of Toyota, is also meant to put a spotlight on the companies new long lasting and advanced batteries for their electric vehicles. 

Toyota also said it will be providing “3,700 mobility products and/or vehicles for the Olympics, 90 percent of which will be ‘electrified.’ That can mean either battery-electric, hydrogen-powered, or even gas-electric hybrids. Of the 3,700 vehicles, 850 will be battery-electric and 500 will be fuel-cell electric.”

Finally, Toyota reminded crowds that last year they made a massive business deal with the company Uber. Toyota agreed to invest $500 million in a joint self-driving project with Uber. The two companies are now working together to make self driving cab cars the new wave of the future, why buy an expensive self driving car when you can just order it for the day?