I have a collection of such moments rattling around in my brain — and I’m not just talking about the scenes all shooters, pro and enthusiast, have where we mutter to ourselves, “Ugh, wish I had my camera.” I’m talking about the situations where we actually do have our cameras and are out on an explicit conquest for a great shot, but still miss the moment. There was, for instance, the beautiful, strikingly costumed witches walking to the Harry Potter convention in Philadelphia, their perfect alignment missed by mere seconds. There was the the F-22 Raptor fighter jet that materialized out of nowhere and buzzed right in front of the rising full moon in Nevada, but for which I didn’t have the right lens attached. There were more. Many, many more.
With Virtual Reality gear, you can engage in immersive experiences right in your living room, including climbing a steep cliff, floating around in a space station, racing cars, and even becoming a garage mechanic or short-order cook. Job Simulator is surprisingly satisfying. But in order for the technology to truly take off — for it to shoot past clunky goggles and the expensive gaming rigs needed to run them — it absolutely needs to appeal to the mass market. It’s not going to be video games that does that, or even jaw-dropping simulations of mountains and space. It’s going to be a whole new brand of narrative entertainment.
China's Chengdu J-20 fighter jet, which made its public debut at China’s Zhuhai Airshow last week, cuts an imposing, even frightening, figure. The supersonic, twin-engine fighter and attack aircraft packs advanced radar and sensor capabilities, with a 360-degree helmet display system that allows the pilot to see through the aircraft itself. It boasts the same kind of stealth technologies the US Air Force has been honing for decades. And it’s bigger than the F-22 Raptor it rivals, so it can carry more fuel and more weapons, extending its lethality deep into enemy territory. The jet’s debut generated ripples of panic across the globe in the wake of its boisterous exhaust. Can this plane best the best of Western stealth tech, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters?
Drones may dominate the future of flying, but human pilots aren’t going extinct for a while: The ultra-high-tech F-22 and F-35A fighters are finally entering service, and should spend decades aloft. That’s why the US Air Force is launching a competition to find the jet that will educate its next generation of fighter pilots. Trainer jets are a bit like driver’s ed cars. Their two seats each offer a full set of controls, so the experienced Top Gun can mold noob pilots into air jocks without risking their lives. The Air Force’s current top trainer, the T-38 Talon, has been flying for 50 years; the youngest of the planes are in their mid-40s.
When critics met the all-new Cadillac CT6 earlier this year, they lauded the sedan’s sharp design, luxurious interior, and impressive performance. They generally paid less attention to the rearview mirror. Understandably; the rectangle of glass and plastic usually lacks the appeal of horsepower figures, of autonomous capabilities, of night vision. But the CT6’s mirror merits a closer look.
As I arrived at the most recent Lehigh Valley Cars & Coffee event in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, one dude’s exuberant words echoed the loudest around the old Bethlehem Steel foundry buildings like a hammer pounding on freshly cooled I-beams: “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?” he shouted over and over again with dumbstruck enthusiasm.
I’m cruising around New York city on a hot summer day, making better progress than all the cars stuck in traffic, and I haven’t set foot in a hot, stanky subway. Temperatures are near triple digits, but I’m not even close to breaking a sweat. Plus, I’m having a blast. My modus commutus: an electric scooter.
[Photo Lockheed Martin] The rebirth of the airship is the perennial Next Big Thing in aviation. Of course, any talk of reviving the genre that never quite rose to meet its proponents’ lofty expectations comes with the inevitable wisecracks about the Hindenburg.
Porsche has re-engineered the Panamera for 2017, turning the pudgy, oft maligned sedan into a family car that can handle a day at the track as easily as a trip to the grocery store. And to crank out the best seller, Porsche also re-engineered its Leipzig, Germany, production facility. The $500 million expansion includes a 20,000-square foot quality center for testing parts, augmented reality, a computer-optimized system for just-in-time delivery of parts, and more.
The $98,300 Panamera may make 911 fans roll their eyes, but it makes Porsche piles of cash, so the Germans don’t hold back when it comes to making the cars just right. From the quality control room to the paint shop to the test track, here’s how Porsche builds the Panamera.
Virtual reality is finally ready for its breakthrough moment. Here's what you need to know.
The road up the side of Mauna Loa — a 13,700-foot active volcano on the island of Hawaii — is a marvel. It’s a single-lane, undulating ribbon of clean black asphalt that stretches for 17 twisty miles to a small observatory near the mountain’s summit. You drive it slowly, otherwise the relentless up-and-down and side-to-side will send you and your rental car straight into vast, tire-shredding fields of hardened lava.
The new Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge is a wickedly cool car. Not that other Rollers aren’t cool — they are, but they also trend toward, well, color. Beautiful, rich colors like blue, maroon, grey, with abundant silver-chrome detailing; colors that provide a challenge for those who possess more somber, edgier personas. You can’t glare menacingly at your adversary in the dark of night from behind the wheel of a candy-colored rolling chandelier. Black Badge fixes that.
Every tire you've ridden on is balancing act, the triangulation of qualities that negate each other. Great-handling tires don’t last. Durable tires are loud. Quiet tires can’t handle. The rubber wrapped around the wheels on every new car is a carefully crafted compromise that favors some traits over others, because you can’t have it all.
In Ghana, women don’t ride bicycles. In China, chauffeured private cars are status symbols. In Morocco, many commuters don’t have credit cards. What’s an Uber driver to do? These are the sort of challenges hundreds of global transportation planners and analysts, government bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs pondered last month in Leipzig, Germany, during the International Transport Forum. The three-day gathering offered vital lessons to anyone eager to capitalize on the rise of open data, ride-sharing, autonomous cars, and more.
Mark your calendar: August 21, 2017. Crowds from coast to coast will scramble into position. News crews will fall over themselves. Music videos will be filmed on location, memes will be born, and while some hearts will swell, others will undoubtedly be broken. But you — reading this, now — you’ll be prepared when the eclipse rolls into town
It’s a sunny morning at Sonoma Raceway, north of San Francisco—a great day for a race. My driver, Robby, pulls up to greet me. Robby is not a person. It’s a car—an autonomous racecar, to be precise—and it’s ready for a fight. Outwardly, Robby is an Audi RS7 sport sedan, bright red and tarted up with black racing stripes and a giant logo. On the inside, however, it contains some of the most sophisticated autonomous-driving equipment—cameras, laser scanners, accelerometers, precision GPS receivers, microprocessors—on the planet.
The Faroe Islands — nestled smack in the middle of a triangle in the North Atlantic formed by Norway, Iceland, and Scotland — are, on the surface, a terrible place for a solar eclipse. They’re often cloaked in clouds. The weather’s erratic. And all the tropospheric volatility makes any attempt at prediction a crapshoot. Yet there I was, driving around the windswept islands in a tinny Suzuki rental car at dawn on Friday, March 20, searching desperately for any signs of blue sky on the horizon.
I found the road by mistake. I’d gone out for a brief drive late one Saturday morning last spring and, suddenly itching for a bit more alone time, decided to investigate a state park I’d heard good things about—170 miles away. So I drove. And drove—down the interstate, onto rural routes, and through twisty back roads in the forests of north-central Pennsylvania, for no other reason than that I had an urge. Wrapped up in my meditative solitude, I missed a turn and found myself at the head of a blocked-off road. The barricade bore a “Local Traffic Only” sign, and beyond it stretched a strip of fresh, inky asphalt, winding and unblemished. They hadn’t even painted the double-yellow yet. The virgin road beckoned.