BMW is building autonomous robots with the i3’s battery

By: Vijay Pattni

Anyone else getting a ‘Cyberdyne Systems’ sort of vibe? Just us?

It can’t be reasoned with. It can’t be bargained with. It doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop… until it has safely delivered up to one ton’s worth of palleted goods safely to its destination on the factory floor.
 
Heck, it’s even got a name that emanates a shiny, bright future. Remember this day, friends. For it is the day the BMW Group announced a new wholly owned subsidiary called… IDEALworks. Its mission? To become a supplier of autonomous robots.
 
Why are we telling you about autonomous logistics robots on a car website? Because a) this year hasn’t afforded much opportunity to shoehorn in mediocre The Terminator jokes and so we couldn’t resist, and b) because these BMW robots use the battery from the game-changing little i3 electric car.
 
Indeed, BMW built its first autobot back in 2015 – the Smart Transport Robot – and is using this new venture to branch out of the automotive world. Said Smart Transport Robot is able to autonomously transport goods up to one ton to their precise destination, calculating the best route and moving “freely” around the space on the factory floor.
 
The algorithm it uses doesn’t require the installation of navigation transmitters within buildings, and thus these autobots can be “set up quickly in a new environment”. Which doesn’t sound mildly terrifying in the slightest. Not one bit.
 
The STRs have been using i3 batteries since 2015, able to power the robots over an entire shift’s worth of labor. The next-gen T-800s – sorry, STRs – are scheduled to be rolled out at the end of the year, and we have Questions. Is the software able to be tweaked so these robots could start drag-racing each other between shifts? Can you fit cute little BMW grilles on the front? (There’s a better, less polite grille joke in there, but we’ll leave that to you.)
 
“Our perspective is changing now,” explains IDEALworks CTO Jimmy Nassif. “We are becoming a provider of logistics robotics beyond the automotive industry. We are preparing some innovations for the coming months.”
 
We can only hope said innovations do not involve a microprocessor-controlled hyperalloy combat chassis that’s very tough…
 

The Bugatti Bolide is a mind-blowing 1,824bhp track car

By: Rowan Horncastle

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It’s a question we’ve all figuratively asked but never thought we’d get answered: what would happen if Bugatti made an extreme track-only, lightweight hypercar? Wonder no more. This is the Bugatti Bolide – Molsheim’s 1,842bhp, 1,240kg downforcetastic love letter to bleeding-edge engineering and organ-bruising lap times. 5m 23.1s around the Nordschleife kinda lap times. Yikes. That’s not all, in a low downforce setting Bugatti claims the Bolide could also do more than 310mph. And thanks to all-wheel-drive, can also shoot from 0-62mph in 2.17 seconds. So no matter how you like your fast served, the Bolide will dish it up. We just hope you’re hungry.
 
It follows on from the current vogue for high end can’t-drive-on-the-road, can’t-race-in-a-championship hypercar track toys. Y’know, things like Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, McLaren’s Senna GTR, the Mercedes Project One and Ferrari FXXK. Just like them, the Bolide uses the modern race car’s recipe of minimal weight and maximum downforce. But then takes the concept of a track-only hypercar to another level, by pairing those ingredients with an absolute juggernaut of an engine.
 
Nestled snuggly in the heart of a carbon fiber monocoque is the same 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 unit we’ve come to know and love from Bugatti. But where it comes with 1,479bhp in a standard Chiron and 1,578bhp in the production version of the record-setting Chiron Super Sport 300+, the Bolide boots the doors down with 1,842bhp when running 110 octane racing fuel. It’s also got a lot less weight to push around. Thanks to a fighter-jet inspired design wrapped around a skeletal structure, the thing only weighs 1,240kg – 100kg lighter than a Porsche Cayman GT4. Some quick math equates that to an insane power-to-weight ratio of 1,471bhp per ton. Which is a truly monstrous figure when you compare it to the then jaw-dropping 644bhp per ton that left us speechless with the Veyron SS a decade ago.
 
We’re told Bolide is a rolling concept to be used for future technology and it’s taken Bugatti’s engineers just eight months to churn out. Talk about a productive lockdown. Yep, instead of feeling guilty about not doing Joe Wicks’ workout, Bugatti’s biggest brains hopped on Zoom and decided to blow the top off blue-sky thinking to try and get into another stratosphere of fast. How? Through the use of exotic materials, no rules and brain-melting ideas. It looks like they’ve succeeded.
 
Let’s start with the power. To get that extra oomph over standard, engineers bolted four new turbochargers with new optimized blades to make the engine build more boost pressure and power at higher engine speeds. At 7,000rpm the W16 now produces 1,842bhp and 1,364lb ft of torque. But more power and torque means more energy, and therefore more heat, so the whole oil and cooling systems have also been redesigned – including the introduction of air-to-air intercooling with water pre-cooling, rather than the standard water-to-air. And as there’s a lot more speed to scrub off before going into corners, new hybrid carbon titanium turbofan radial compressors ventilate and cool F1-style racing brakes finished with ceramic discs and coatings.
 
But it’s the diet that Bugatti has put its track racer on that really makes you think. Not since Christian Bale in The Machinist has anyone lost so much chunk for a dedicated role. In total, the Bolide has lost 755kg – the same as throwing an original Mini with a set of dumbells in the boot in the bin. Where weight could be saved, it has. So the driveline was gutted for grams, carbon fiber bodywork was kept to a minimum, any screw or fastening device is made out of titanium, and where possible, 3D printed aerospace titanium alloy was used. Just like the original Type 35 that had a hollow-bored and forged front axle, any weight that could then be scooped out of a component was. This all adds up. The brake calipers for example only weigh 2.4kgs each. The front forged magnesium rims 7.4kgs. The rears, 8.4kgs – meaning even weaklings like us could curl them in the gym. If we went to the gym.
 
Aerospace alloys that give crazy levels of single-fiber stiffness (350,000 newtons per square millimeter, if you’re counting) are present but also traditional elements that have been honed for purpose. Take the rear frame. It’s made of welded high-strength stainless steel… but is only 1mm thick. There’s also a morphable skin on the intake scoop on the roof which, depending on the situation, will deform to optimize airflow.
In case you hadn’t guessed, downforce is also present. The Bolide has more than any other Bugatti that’s come before. At 198mph, 1,800 kgs of force is being sat on the rear wing and 800kgs at the front. The suspension is rated to take 3.5 tons of force – or nearly two Chirons. If that’s not enough to keep you planted to the tarmac, there’s also Michelin racing slicks stickier than a Kellogg’s Fruit Winder that’s been stuck in a lunchbox on a summer’s day. They’re thicc boys too, 340mm on the front axle and 400 millimeters on the rear. Just for context, a boggo Chiron runs 285 mm at the front and 355 mm at the rear. With all this grip, we’re told you can expect up to 2.8g. Or what people in LA call a ‘cheap facelift’.
And check out the way it looks! It’s like a cosmic LMP1 car with all that wild, minimalist bare carbon bodywork and extrusions that help deflect air to the right places to keep things cool and/or plunge the thing into the ground. Right at the front you’ve got the iconic horseshoe grille – making it instantly recognizable as a Bugatti. But from there back everything is taught and sweptback as holes punctuate all parts of the car; cutting into the bodywork inboard of the front wheels to release the pressure, holes that become a framework to see the gorgeous front double wishbone pushrod suspension and horizontal dampers.
Hopping over the snorkel you’re greeted by a dorsal fin to stabilize the car at high speed that then spreads into an outrageous full-width rear wing assembly. Looking at it from dead behind is a menacing prospect. A giant ‘X’ signature highlighted by LEDs that draw your attention to four double-stacked exhausts and a whopper of a blue-tipped diffuser. As you may have noticed, the ‘X’ shape is used relentlessly throughout the design. This isn’t a happy accident, rather a nod to the Bell X-1 flown by Chuck Yeager in 1947, the first person to break the sound barrier. The good thing about the ‘X’ shape though is that it allows room for more holiness, so you can not only see the rear suspension, but also to act as a gully to channel air efficiently, not too dissimilar from the Lotus Evija.
Standing at only 995 millimeters tall (the same height as an original Bugatti Type 35, or just less than those giant Toblerones you used to get in airports depending on your frame of reference), drivers have to slot themselves in through gullwing doors before dropping down into the arse-down-feet-up racing driving position with the pedals moving towards or away from you. Inside there’s just enough room for you and someone to scare senseless. It may not be as luxurious as a standard Chiron but decked out in Alcantara and fitted with a dashboard and door pulls, it’s the Ritz in comparison to other race cars. Safe too, with all the features the FIA likes to see: HANS device compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, towing device, pressure refueling with fuel bladder, central locks for the wheels, lightweight polycarbonate windows, six-point harness system and air jacks for a quick tire change.
The stats that Bugatti claim for the Bolide are potty in anyone’s books. A 0-311mph-0 time of 33.62 seconds. A Nordschliefe lap just off the Porsche 919 Evo’s record and a Le Mans lap time of 3:07.1, good enough for it to snatch pole at this year’s race by eight seconds. Obviously, these times are all currently simulated, and whether we’ll ever actually see the camouflaged Bugatti Bolide that’s been testing at Paul Ricard driven in anger remains to be seen. But Bugatti has gone and answered the question we’ve all figuratively asked but never thought we’d get answered: what would happen if Bugatti made an extreme track-only, lightweight hypercar? Now we know. But here’s another, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Simon reportedly in talks with Amazon to convert former Sears, JCPenney stores into distribution cen

What Howard Rudzki Says:

Partnerships you will see more of as we reemerge from COVID 19 era.

Is an Amazon distribution center coming to your local Simon Property Group mall?

Seattle-based Amazon is reportedly in talks with the nation’s largest mall operator to convert empty department stores including Sears and J.C. Penney anchor spaces into distribution centers.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the possible talks, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Simon’s discussions with Amazon began before the coronavirus pandemic led to temporary store closures.

Sears and J.C. Penney declined to comment while Amazon said it has a “policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.” Simon didn’t immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

FULL ARTICLE

Simon Property Group

Simon is a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our properties across North America, Europe and Asia provide community gathering places for millions of people every day and generate billions in annual sales.

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Howard Marks released a new memo to clients about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

What Howard Rudzki said:

Compelling information to make sound business decisions at this point in time

Howard Marks, co-founder and co-chairman at Oaktree Capital, the largest investor in distressed securities worldwide, warns the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury can’t keep stimulating the economy forever. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker on “Bloomberg Markets.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Watch full interview with the Oaktree Capital co-founder here

howard rudzkiPosted inHistorical

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Review & Road Test

Video Link The Lexus LC is a grand tourer manufactured by Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division. Based on the 2012 LF-LC Concept, it was revealed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It replaced the SC, which was produced from 1991 to 2010. It is the first Lexus model to utilize the GA-L platform, which, along with other components, is shared with the full-size LS 500 sedan. According to Lexus, the name “LC” stands for “Luxury Coupe”. Wikipedia

Lamborghini’s new supercar isn’t legal to drive on public roads

What Howard Rudzki Says: Born and bred on race track and can only be used on race track. Lamborghini has just unveiled a new supercar, known as the Essenza SCV12, that owners won’t be able to legally drive on public roads. That’s why, if you buy one, Lamborghini recommends you let the company keep it for you in a special garage at the company’s headquarters in Italy. Owners will have access to a secure web cam feed so they can look at the car whenever they want. If they want to drive the car, Lamborghini will arrange for it to be transported to almost any racetrack in the world and the owner will be able to drive it there. Lamborghini will also provide a professional racecar driver to provide coaching in how to get the most speed and enjoyment from their V12-powered supercar. The company will host a few special events throughout the year to let Essenza SCV12 owners get together and enjoy their cars as a group. FULL ARTICLE Twitter

Posted inHistorical