Google's New Patent Draws Attention


2014. day, another headline about Google taking steps to revolutionize the driving experience. New information about the future of driving came forward yesterday as Google's latest patent application was published. 

The patent, which was filed in May 2014, describes a system in which vehicles can be operated by handheld devices. According to the application, the portable computing device will execute software that enables individuals within the vehicle to perform control actions that "would otherwise take a flip of a switch, turning of a knob, or pressing of a pedal". These tasks include everything from activating the car's interior lights and readjusting the radio to steering and applying the brakes.

Some capabilities will be location specific, however. For example, you may be able to drive your car only if the device is "located in the area of the driver seat". The application also lists that control of the entertainment system would be accessible only when the device is being used by the driver or co-pilot.

Listed as examples of handheld devices include a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a portable gaming device. Some form of wireless connection will be necessary to link the device to the vehicle.

While the technology is one of many advances Google is making in the automobile space, the system may have other benefits. According to the 2010 US Census, one in five people have a disability. The Census found that nearly 30.6 million people were listed as having difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or used a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker. Another 19.9 million had difficulty lifting and grasping. Perhaps this will make those with physical ailments more independent by allowing them to operate a vehicle successfully through touch-screen technology.

Read the complete US Patent application here. For more information about Google's Self-Driving Project click here.

Are you intrigued by new technology in the auto-world? This video is for you!

Quad Backflipping into History


This may be the coolest thing done on two wheels in years. New Zealand BMX rider Jed Mildon recently became the very first BMX rider to complete a quad backflip. The 29-year-old adrenaline junkie is a member of Nitro Circus, a "crew full of action sports enthusiasts in search of the biggest, baddest, and craziest stunts" according to the group's YouTube page.

Photo: NitroCircus

After nine months of working on the rotation technique and landing on a giant airbag, Mildon took to a 21 foot ramp and let it fly. Million is no stranger to taking things to the next level- he was the first to land the triple flip in 2011- but this jaw-dropping trick surpasses that on every level. Check out the video of the incredible feat (and a few gruesome attempts) below. 

To read the complete interview with Mildon click here.

Want more crazy things you can do on a set of wheels? Well, how about turning four of them into an unconventional ice cream truck... 

You Will Soon be Able to Buy a 3-D Car


Local Motors announced this week that they will be releasing two 3-D printed cars models for sale next year. The startup based out of Phoenix, is credited for creating the world's first 3-D printed car in September-- not to be confused with the first 3-D printed supercar the Blade

The design for the vehicle named ReLoad Redacted was submitted to Local Motors' Project Redacted Challenge by Kevin Lo. It boasts a "flexible foundation that can support many different styles and technology options", according to the contest press release. The ReLoad will come in two models: the Swim and the Sport. Lo's creations were deemed supreme through a voting process that utilized the Local Motors community and a panel of judges including SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak and Jay Leno.

ReLoad Swim, credit: Local Motors

According to Local Motors, the ReLoad Redacted will operate on a battery and fall between $18,000 and $30,000, though the final sale price has not yet been released. These vehicles are not yet highway legal, however. That giant leap into the mainstream auto industry is projected to occur by the end of 2016, as reported by Fox News. ReLoad Redacted is on pace, though, to make its worldwide debut in November 2015 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. 


For more about SEMA, check out this clip from the 2013 event when Chip Foose, Wayne Carini and other Velocity stars tried to predict the future of cars. 

Feelin' Sad? Study Says...


... you should've bought a Kia! 

AutoPacific, an automotive marketing research and product-consulting firm out of California, released its 19th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards and crowned the 2015 Kia K900 the most satisfying vehicle on the market. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 11.45.14 AM
photo: AutoPacific

The results were tabulated from a 66,000 survey responses. All participants were confirmed owners of a new 2015 car or light truck. This year, there were 274 models from 33 brands considered. According to AutoPacific, survey participants rated 50 attributes for "importance in the purchase decision and satisfaction after purchase".

The esteemed Kia model also takes home the President's Award. This honor is awarded to the model that trumps the previous year's high score, according to AutoPacific's press release. Also garnering recognition is Tesla Motors. The California-based company won for the Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand. GMC took home the award for Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand for the second year in a row. For the complete list of winners, look here. 

If new models don't tickle your fancy, check out this sweet VW bus from Wheeler Dealers. 

Dramatic Motorcycle Wreck Captured on Video


Jesse Lopez was riding along Glendora Ridge Road in the Angeles National Forest when his life almost came to a screeching halt. After taking a wide turn and hitting a patch of uneven pavement, the 24-year-old and his motorcycle collided violently with a Los Angeles County Fire Department crew transport bus. The entire accident was caught on video thanks to a rugged GoPro camera. 

WARNING: The video below contains graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised.  

According to reports, though Lopez survived, he suffered a broken femur, tibia, fibula, ulna and humerus at the elbow. It's been three months since the incident and Lopez is still working towards a complete recovery.

"I don't remember what happened due to memory loss, but I might have panicked when I saw the truck," Lopez told NBC News. "So I applied the front brake, which straightened me out and I went straight toward the truck, which was also moving probably about 35 mph."

Thankfully, Lopez was wearing a helmet. According to research conducted by the NHTSA, helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing deaths and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries from motorcycle accidents. California law states that "any driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle". California is one of 19 states that requires such helmet use. The state is one of a handful trying to lower the statistics-- over 4,300 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2013.

Do you prefer two wheels to four? Check out when Wayne Carini of Chasing Classic Cars ditched the cars and entered a garage stuffed to the brim with badass bikes ready for auction.

Are you concerned about your safety of the road? Take the DriveSmart Pledge here and help Velocity, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Toyota TeenDrive365 end distracted, drunk and drugged driving.

Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.





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