Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From The Military To The Masses.

From saving lives to your car.

Creativity and innovation are often shackled by the lack of funds, fundamentally it's expensive to create and experiment. Where the budget never seems to be lacking, especially in the US, is in the military sphere. There is no great surprise to know that many innovations we use on the roads today were initially conceived to help take and save lives.

The military can be thanked for many great innovations which have be adapted to the mass consumers. Let's take a look at a few we use on todays roads.

GPS.
The Global Positioning System, was originally developed for American Air Force and Navy use. Between 1973 and 1978, Dr. Bradford Parkinson worked with both military branches to develop the Navstar GPS system. The system uses multiple satellites to triangulate users’ location and help navigate. Today, almost every car, truck, plane & phone has a GPS system as standard with American, Chinese and European networks in use.

The JEEP.
If you know what a car is, you know what a Jeep is. 4WD technology has actually been around since the turn of the 20th century. By the 1930s, the military needed a scout car that could have speed and versatility in addition to hauling power and all-terrain capacity. The problem was that these two features were mutually exclusive from an engineering standpoint. The first Jeep that made it to battle, the Willys-Overland MB, provided the answer as the perfect army scout vehicle. Its performance in the war was so outstanding that Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “America could not have won World War II without it.”

From fighter pilots to your car.
HUD.
or 'Heads Up Display" is that floating readout graphic you see in front of fighter pilots helmets. HUD's evolved from weapons sites during 1940s, utilising reflections. It wasn't until the 1960s when the first modern version of the HUD was used by a french test-pilot Gilbert Klopfstein. In the 1970s HUD was introduced into commercial aviation and now it is a standard extra in most modern makes of cars. 

Aviators.
The classic Tom Cruise Aviators from the movie Top Gun were in fact originally designed for fighter pilots. A design that prevented as much sunlight as possible from reaching the eye led to Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, which became standard gear for men enlisted in the military during World War II. 



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Run Flats vs. Regular Tyres.


Picture this.. You're on the side of the road, your tyre is blown out. You have 2 options, either call for roadside assistance or you can roll up your sleeves and change the tyre yourself. What if there was a 3rd option? Well there is, and this is where 'run flats' come into their own.

'Run flats' give you the ability to continue to drive your vehicle for an additional 80km's* following a puncture or blowout. This gives the driver the ability to exit the road safely and drive (a considerable distance) to the nearest repair shop.

Even though changing a tyre is an important skill, the idea of 'run flat' tyres sounds pretty handy. The added benefit of losing the weight of a spare tire and tools could help with fuel efficiency too.

There are two main types of 'run flat' tyres: Self-Supporting, and Auxiliary Supported. Self-Supporting tyres have stiffer and tougher rubber, which can temporarily carry the weight of the vehicle under lower tyre pressure. Auxiliary supported tyres don’t have stiffer and tougher rubber, but are attached to a special rim which has a steel support ring that is attached to the wheel and can support the weight of the vehicle.

So whats the catch? You probably guess it  - price. On average 'run flats' are one third more expensive then regular tyres, and can be dramatically more then that.

Performance. As you can imagine driving on a tyre with next to no pressure will affect your vehicles performance and handling. It has been documented some users have expressed concern whereas others felt the car responded fine, considering it had no pressure.

If changing a tyre is an uncomfortable or intimidating process, then 'run flats' are ideal for you. You will be paying for convenience. If you're on a budget or you can't justify the effort vs cost then your standard tyre is more then adequate for the job.

*Distances can vary - always check with the manufacturer for the specifics of the tyre you are using.


Check below for all the technical details.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weirdly Functional Designs


Is this the greatest "Surfer" vehicle ever created? Road tripping is a big part of any committed surfers passion and if you had these wheels and this level of comfort - no wave would be too far away. Construction artist Jay Nelson, from San Francisco has created an 'Ewok' inspired custom camper truck.

Nelson, a respected surfer and fine artist from San Francisco, is who you call when you need a tree house or bicycle camper. His weirdly functional designs are all totally unique and are made to order.

If you're a surfer or a natural explorer, these are the rides you want. If Carzoos ever get their hands on one of these rides we will be a bunch of very happy 'campers'.