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Harley’s Electric Debut Disappoints

Iconic motorcycle maker unveils two odd concept bikes and an expensive electric bike. Also, Kia cars will take over your car and Boeing made new wings.

Boeing Unveils New Wing Concept

Boeing has revealed a concept for more aerodynamic and fuel efficient wings.

The lightweight and extremely thin wing concept is called the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing and it is being developed in a collaborative effort with NASA.

The lightweight wings measure 170 feet, from end-to-end. Thus, the truss, which supports the extended length.

According to the company, the new design can fly at Mach 0.80, about a 13% improvement from previous concepts. Boeing says the new design will also be able to fly higher than previous designs.

The new changes resulted from extensive wind tunnel testing at the NASA Ames Research Center.

NASA and Boeing have been working on the project as part of the Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) program for the better part of a decade. The work hopes to significantly reduce noise and emissions in aircraft while improving performance.

Kia Wants Your Car to R.E.A.D. Your Emotions

Kia wants to know when it's drivers are sad, and it wants the vehicle to be able to make autonomous changes to the cabin to improve the driver's condition.

As showcased by the story of an animated sunfish trying to make his way through the fast-paced future, Kia demonstrated R.E.A.D. (Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving).

The system monitors specific biometrics, like your breathing and heart rate. For example, when when the sunfish becomes overwhelmed behind the wheel, the car jumps into autopilot, kicks the seat back and puts on a custom playlist to sooth the poor fish. Don't you suppose that Kia should've at least an animal with legs. 

As we have seen with other sensing systems, I think it is a step in the right direction to monitor alertness, I only become skeptical with when and how the software decides to takes over the system.

Harley’s Electric Debut Disappoints

Harley-Davidson has unveiled new lightweight concept electric bikes and they are a departure from the traditional Harley brand.

Granted, these are just concepts that are subject to change, but when Harley searched for ideas for a lightweight electric bike for the urban future, they came up with something that looks like it was chopped together in a garage. I suppose that Harley's is shinier, but my first thought is that it was a good grease monkey's second pass at a homemade scooter.

And really that's all theses bikes are, scooters or Vespa competitors. They're designed to be easy to ride, with no clutch or shifting, and riders wouldn't need a motorcycle license to operate it. They also have battery packs that you can remove and easily carry, so you can charge it during your side hustles in the gig economy of the future.

For the second unnamed concept, which was obviously more dirt bike inspired, Harley admits that it wanted to make off-road experiences accessible as well as city driving.

All of these designs hope to help a slumping motorcycle industry by tapping into the electric motorcycle market, which is expected to grow by 56% by 2020.

Finally, we saw a real bike more than four years in the making. Harley-Davidson has been working on Project LiveWire since 2014 so the industry was eager to learn more about the electric bike. The first electric Harley Livewire will be capable of going 0-60 in <3.5 seconds with a 110-mile range. The only problem, it's going to cost about $30,000 ($29,799).

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