Archive for the ‘ferrari’ Category

A former Ferrari F1 engineer says gaze tracking is key to self-driving cars

October 19th, 2016

Enlarge / Cogisen’s co-founder and CEO was an engineer with Ferrari during one of their F1 heydays in the early 2000s. (credit: Getty Images | Christian Fischer/Bongarts)

A frequent topic on these pages concerns Silicon Valley and its ongoing attempt to disrupt the car industry. But over in Europe, a former Ferrari F1 engineer has some thoughts of his own on the matter and thinks his company—Cogisen—has a better way of doing things. Christiaan Erik Rijnders spent several years in the early 2000s working on Ferrari’s simulator, simulations, and vehicle dynamics, during which time Ferrari utterly dominated the sport.

Through that work, he absorbed a few important lessons on the way successful R&D programs should run, and they’re lessons he’s been applying more recently to the problem of image processing. In particular, Cogisen has some very cool gaze-tracking algorithms (earning the startup a Horizon 2020 grant from the European Union) that may have an important role to play in autonomous vehicles. We spoke to Rijnders recently to find out more about his time at the Scuderia and to talk about where he thinks most traditional tech startups are going wrong.

“On the inside [of Ferrari], it was everything it was cracked up to be; you really got to see what proper engineering is and proper management is,” he told Ars. “You’d have world-class engineers who were all very strong in theoretical fundamentals of what engineering is, who would all share data in a climate where risk taking was encouraged, where nobody was afraid to make decisions and they were made very well, especially on a strategic level by Ross Brawn, on a political level by Jean Todt, and on a technical level by Rory Byrne.”

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Posted in autonomous cars, Cars Technica, Cogisen, ferrari, image processing | Comments (0)

Rimac’s Concept_One electric car drag-races a Tesla Model S and LaFerrari

August 16th, 2016

(credit: Rimac Automobili)

As its legion of online fans never cease to remind us, the Tesla Model S P90D is a fast car. Actually, that’s selling the electric vehicle a little short. In Ludicrous mode, it’s about as quick in a straight line as a McLaren 650S, no mean feat considering that the McLaren weighs 1,800lbs (815kg) less. Until now, if you wanted to go any faster in an EV, you needed to roll your own, Flux Capacitor-style. But even Jonny Smith’s quarter-mile EV record may be under threat, courtesy of Rimac’s Concept_One.

You may not have heard of Rimac Automobili, but the Croatian company has been impressing us for a while now. We first saw the Concept_One in the paddock at last year’s Formula E race in Miami. More recently, we met up with some of its engineers in Colorado at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—the four-wheel torque vectoring powertrain in Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima’s car is a test-bed for the Concept_One. And Rimac has also been working with Konigsegg on the batteries and power distribution units going into the latter’s Regera hybrid hypercar.

We always knew the Concept_One would be fast; it’s hard to argue with 1072hp (800kW) and 1180ft-lbs (1600Nm) after all. But thanks to British YouTuber Archie Hamilton, we now know just what that means. Hamilton traveled to Rimac in Croatia and brought along a Tesla Model S P90D (yes, with Ludicrous mode) as well as a rather rarer beast—a Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid:

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Posted in Cars Technica, Concept_One, Electric vehicles, ferrari, Hypercar, Rimac Automobili, Tesla | Comments (0)

After victory at Le Mans, we catch up with Ford to talk about its GT

July 17th, 2016

Just as it was 50 years ago, the battle for sports car supremacy on the world’s race tracks this year has been between Ford and Ferrari. At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the two marques were head-and-shoulders ahead of their competition in the hotly contested GTE-Pro class (for racing versions of cars that you or I could buy). Ford emerged victorious, but the end of the race was somewhat acrimonious, with protests and counter-protests from both camps. We caught up with both teams at their next match up—the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen in upstate New York—both to check out their machinery and also to find the hatchet well and truly buried.

Back in 1966, after Henry Ford’s attempt to buy the Italian car company was rebuffed, his company built the legendary GT40, beating Ferrari’s V12-powered cars at Le Mans and most everywhere else. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that match up, Ford decided to build (and race) a new mid-engined supercar, the Ford GT. The road-legal Ford GT won’t actually appear until 2017, but Ford’s rivals all gave their permission for the Blue Oval to start racing the car this year—the rules insist on a minimum of 500 production cars built in order to be eligible to race.

Ford has been running a quartet of GTs on track, a pair in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship here in the US, and another pair contesting the World Endurance Championship. The cars aren’t just racing for glory either; Ford Performance (the division of the company responsible for the GT as well as the Shelby GT350 and Focus RS) is using the experience to develop and improve the road car ahead of production. We met with Mark Rushbrook, motorsports engineering manager at Ford Performance, to find out more.

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Posted in Cars Technica, ferrari, Ford | Comments (0)

2016 Geneva Motor Show: Supercars, concepts… and cars you can actually afford

March 3rd, 2016

You might think the Volkswagen group would be wise to keep a low profile at the moment, in the wake of the devastating diesel engine emissions scandal that has yet to play out to its conclusion. But no, the news from the Geneva motor show is dominated by VW group in the shape of its new hypercar, the Bugatti Chiron.

The replacement for the remarkable but frankly absurd Veyron is all the more remarkable, not least for managing to get built at all in a time when VW has pledged to restrict itself to essential, core activities. It’s remarkable, too, in that it takes virtually every Veyron metric and bests it.

Bugatti Chiron

The Chiron is (slightly) longer and wider, significantly taller, and about 150kg heavier than the Veyron, despite weight-saving measures including the use of a full carbon composite structure, a carbon intake manifold and engine cover, titanium brake callipers, and a titanium exhaust system.

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Posted in alfa romeo, Aston MArtin, Bugatti Chiron, Cars Technica, ferrari, geneva motor show, maserati | Comments (0)

Getting to know the FF, a Ferrari you can drive every day

February 8th, 2016

We test drive the Ferrari FF. Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

Ferrari’s FF is an intriguing car. In fact, it’s something of an automotive Schrödinger’s cat, somehow extremely practical while simultaneously being unthinkably out-of-reach for most of the population. It has true all-weather performance thanks to some rather clever engineering, and this vehicle can cope with four adults and their luggage—it can even handle a Costco run. All the while, this car remains a V12 Ferrari. It costs more than any other car we’ve driven recently and drinks gasoline at a rate that makes polar bears weep. What’s it like living with such an automotive contradiction for a few days? 

Design

First, let’s make one thing clear: the FF isn’t a sports car, it’s a grand tourer (or GT). Its design brief was less about breaking lap records at Monza and more about being able to cope with weekend dashes across continents come rain or snow. The car achieves this with a rather clever, all-wheel drive system (Ferrari’s first) that uses not one but two transmissions to send power from an enormous (6.3 L) V12 engine to the road.

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Posted in Ars Technica Videos, Cars Technica, Features, ferrari, Ferrari FF | Comments (0)

Is Ferrari’s 488 GTB the smartest supercar on the planet?

June 10th, 2015

With the launch of its new 488 GTB, Ferrari finds itself in almost-but-not-quite uncharted territory. For over 20 years, the Italian company has specialized in building naturally aspirated engines with plenty of specific output (a measure of power divided by engine displacement) that rev to the stratosphere. But the world those cars were designed for is going away. New emissions regulations in Europe and beyond are forcing car makers to replace those naturally aspirated engines with smaller capacity turbocharged units, a trend to which even Ferrari is not immune.

As one might expect, purists are up in arms. “Ferraris shouldn’t be turbocharged,” they cry, conveniently forgetting that the legendary 288 GTO and F40 both used forced induction. It’s not like such fears are completely unfounded, either. Although turbocharging allows you to squeeze a lot more power out of an engine, it usually comes at the expense of throttle response; it takes time for those turbos to scroll up to speed, creating a lag between pushing the accelerator and the desired result. And that extra plumbing uses exhaust gases to drive the turbine that squeezes more air into the engine, which can muffle or mute the soundtrack, something we’re seeing all too clearly in Formula 1 this year.

Fear not, Tifosi (that’s Italian for fan). Last week, Ferrari let some lucky journalists loose in the new 488 GTB, and the word on the street is that they’ve pulled yet another rabbit out of their hat. Ars wasn’t invited, but luckily for us, Chris Harris was there, and he’s made another one of his rather excellent videos to show us just how good the new car is:

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