Wednesday, 22 August 2012
OK, not a car as such, but it is still pretty cool.
Honda's first robotic lawnmower is so smart, it not only cuts the grass by itself, it also takes itself off to the docking station when it needs to recharge – a robotic version of a gardener taking a break for a cuppa.
The benefit to the grass of the Honda Miimo is that it cuts little and often, typically mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week. It can cut in either a programmable or random pattern and it doesn't need to collect cuttings, as the clippings it creates are so small that they are dispersed to provide a natural fertiliser. It even has a fan to suck the grass towards the blade while it is cutting – almost like an electronic hairdresser.
The Miimo wanders around the lawn and a perimeter wire around the lawn signals it to turn around when it approaches a border. If it encounters long grass, the blades continue spinning as normal, but the wheels slow down, so it has more time for cutting. The blades themselves are flexible, to reduce the chance of shattering if they hit a rock.
It can handle a garden of up to 3000 square metres - that is about half the size of a football field, although anyone rich enough to have an even bigger lawn could have two, and create a sort of synchronized robotic gardening. In fact Miimo could turn mowing the lawn into a spectator sport – although it might perplex the dog!!
Friday, 10 August 2012
If you love all things automotive, Beaulieu Motor Museum is the place to be on 8 and 9 September. Its most famous motoring event, the International Autojumble, takes place on these dates and is the biggest outdoor sale of motoring items this side of the Atlantic.
Started in 1967 in a one-day show with 75 stands, it is now in its 45th year and boasts over 2,000 stands.
Stands feature everything from vintage and classic motoring parts, accessories, automobilia and literature to tools and clothing. And in the Automart, there will be up to 200 cars on offer, from restoration projects to cars in concours condition while the DealerMart will have a selection of classic cars for sale.
On Saturday, Bonhams will be holding an auction of collectors' motor cars, motorcycles and automobilia and including a 1972 Ferrari Dino Spyder, a 1922 Wolseley H.7, one of only ten known survivors, a horse-drawn phaeton and the only known example of a 1948 DOT AA Truck.
On Sunday, the popular Trunk Traders will offer amateur autojumblers the opportunity to sell their surplus motoring bits from the back of their cars.
Beaulieu's Events Manager, Judith Maddox said: "The demand for stand space is increasing year on year; there are currently just a few spaces left for this year's show and we anticipate it will be another sell-out."
If this sounds up your street, one-day tickets cost £14.30 for adults on Saturday, £12.70 for Sunday, and £8.70 and £8.40 for children respectively.
We all know how painful the cost of fuel is these days. But here's a rare case where motorists are winning on the cash front: According to the AA, motorists using faulty petrol pumps could be getting up to 4.4% more fuel than they have paid for.
Inaccurate counters on pumps at petrol stations mean drivers are benefitting, reported BBC News, after the AA tested pumps following member concerns that were not getting enough petrol.
In fact, it turns out, that all nozzles tested dispensed at least the right amount with many giving more fuel. The breakdown organisation said this sometimes amounted to a 6p-a-litre gift to drivers at a time of high fuel prices.
It added that Trading Standards officers had found discrepancies at 11 of 216 sites in Derby and four of 38 sites in Cumbria.
The UK has a mix of ageing and new pumps at service stations but an EU ruling will force garages to upgrade pumps to meet the Measuring Instruments Directive by the end of October 2016.
"Some drivers have been benefiting from a lucky dip at the pumps, getting more fuel than they pay for," AA president Edmund King said.
"Crippling pump prices" had produced desperation among poorer drivers, he added."Petrol this week averaged 134.17p a litre - two years ago, it was 116.60p.
"Inevitably, some motorists are watching their gauges like hawks and complaining to Trading Standards."