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April 2015 News Round Up

McLaren at the Shanghai Motor show

The Shanghai Motor Show returns - with goggles

The 16th annual Shanghai Motor Show is under way, and so far it has not disappointed. BMW, Mercedes and Volvo have already unveiled new concepts and production models. But these aren't the only names making waves this year. Now one of the biggest auto shows in the world, Shanghai is unique in its mixing of international brands and upstart Chinese manufacturers. BYD, Changan and Jiangling (all domestic car makers) have turned heads with their new models – unfortunately intended solely for the Chinese market.

MINIs augmented vision system

However, the true highlight of the Shanghai Motor Show might not have been a car at all. MINI came to Shanghai with one purpose in mind - to introduce their new technology, a pair of hi-tech driving goggles. Called the Augmented Vision system, the headwear is designed to aid in navigation and hazard detection.

“It’s ... basically like a head-up display, but with a much larger field of view,” explained MINI's project leader, Dr Joerg Preissinger, “There are two types of information displayed. The first type is fixed and moves when you move your head, the second is fixed to the outside world, so it highlights a parking space or a turning, and stays there even when your head moves.”

The 'Vuforia' tracking technology in the glass of the goggles creates pop-up visuals on the road and surroundings. Parking spaces light up, arrows guide the driver around corners, and exterior cameras in the side of the car allow the driver to essentially see through the car doors, allowing for a greater, safer field of vision.

Dr Preissinger wasn't sure, though, about when we'd see the tech on the road, “A lot of companies are working on such technology, but who knows when it will arrive.”

You can see more about the Shanghai Motor Show here.

Toroidion 1MW Concept

Toroidion unveil their 1MW concept

The Toroidion 1MW has arrived, and it's the world's first electric megacar. Clocking in at 1341bhp, the Finnish 1MW joins the Koenigsegg One:1 and friends in the exclusive 'mega' power classification.

The 1MW, announced at Monaco's Top Marques show, combines a number of different stylistic choices in its appearance. Flavourings of the Aston DB7 and Volkswagen XL1 compliment each other nicely - though for the company, it's not really about looks. Toroidion aim to create an entirely electric Le Mans contender. The interior is then suitably sparse, with a pair of racing seats and not much else. The 1MW is old school vibe charged with the latest technology, and so it's no surprise we've got former Jaguar designer Pasi Pennanen to thank for it.

Dehydration could be as bad as drink driving

The average driver will make more than twice as many mistakes when they are mildly dehydrated, says a new study. The research showed that drivers who had 25ml of water an hour (or less) made more than double the mistakes of those who were properly hydrated. These results mirror the findings of studies about the effects of alcohol on drivers.

Prof. Ron Maughan, lead researcher on the study, said, "We all deplore drink driving, but we don't usually think about the effects of other things that affect our driving skills. Our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated. To put our results into perspective, the levels of driver errors we found are of a similar magnitude to those found in people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the current UK legal driving limit.

In other words drivers who are not properly hydrated make the same number of errors as people who are over the drink drive limit.” Read more about the study here.

And finally...

The staff of a Chinese car showroom were rather surprised when a local entrepreneur arrived to purchase a BMW - with small change. In paying for the £10k vehicle, business owner Ms Li handed over more than 100,000 one yuan notes, each worth about 10p. Not ones to turn away legal tender, the sales staff set about counting the 220lbs (97.8kgs) worth of bank notes, and six hours later a happy Ms Li drove away in her new BMW.