The Short Cut: Britain getting hands-free driving, JLR's electric ambitions
It's time for another Short Cut, here to give you five of the top stories that have captured our attention in TomTom Towers recently. This past week, it's a story of future EVs, electric motorbikes, hands-free driving in Britain and beautiful maps as works of art.
You can have your cake and eat it too
Much of the EV conversation focuses on four-wheeled vehicles. But motorbikes are getting the electric treatment too.
Stockholm-based electric motorbike maker CAKE this week unveiled a new electric motor designed for light electric bikes, Electrek reports.
CAKE's bike designs are certainly unique, looking almost like lunar landing craft. But its motor is definitely for use on Earth. The company says its power delivery will be smooth and capable of hitting 62 mph (100 kph).
Hands-off driving coming to Britain
On specific roads in the UK, drivers will be able to use Ford's partially automated ADAS system, TechSpot writes.
It's yet another great example of how important maps and location data are becoming to ADAS tech. Not just for the delivery of things like intelligent speed assistants, but also geo-fenced features like road-specific hands-free driving systems. ADAS maps will need to accurately categorize roads where drivers can use these features. Doing so will allow certain driver aids to be automatically enabled based on where the vehicle is and disengaged in a safe amount of time when it leaves its regulated zone.
Drivers in Britain will only be able to use the system on 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of roads. That might not sound like much, but according to the UK government, there are 2,300 miles of motorways in the nation. So, as Ford notes, BlueCruise can be used on pretty much all the nation's motorways.
Jaguar Land Rover going big on electrification plans
A couple of years ago, JLR announced a new strategy that outlined its plans to electrify its vehicle range.
This week, the British marque announced more details, giving insight into the scale of its transition. Silicon Republic has the whole story. JLR will be putting £15 billion into its electrification plans, including making its Halewood factory an electric-only plant.
The most exciting thing to look forward to? An all-electric grand tourer from Jaguar. It won't be cheap though, at £100,000. It'll need heaps of tech, ADAS and a fully-featured digital cockpit if it's going to pull that price tag off. But Jaguar knows what it's doing. A fully electric Range Rover will be on pre-order later this year.
We can't wait to see these in the flesh. These announcements are certainly an indicator that JLR is focusing on its more luxurious vehicles before electrifying the rest of its range.
EVs still have a long way to go
Despite exciting announcements like the above, electric vehicles still have a really long way to go.
As this article by Gothamist, a non-profit newsroom by WNYC, highlights: just 1% of NYC vehicles are electric.
Gothamist's writer, Rosemary Misdary, asks what NYC has to do to encourage adoption. It seems there is no simple answer. While US regulators are pushing EVs through emissions standards, Misdary suggests more needs to be done.
New Yorkers often don't have the luxury of charging EVs overnight and parking is sparse. Regulations are one thing, but it's clear New York will need to address infrastructure too.
Maps are always works of art
Even though the way we make maps has changed dramatically over the centuries humanity has made them, they always have an artistic and beautiful side to them.
Stuff.co.nz tells the interesting story of a New Zealand-based Chilean surveyor who has turned a series of old maps from Land Information New Zealand, the country's national geographical surveying department.
The maps, from the 1920s, were largely forgotten, but discovered by Maria Luque, who's from Patagonia, by accident.
Luque has enhanced the maps, which are now on show in a dedicated exhibition in Stratford, New Zealand.
On that note, if you're interested in more about the history of mapmaking in Amsterdam (TomTom's home city), check this out.
That's it for this week's Short Cut, see you in a couple of weeks. If you spot any cool, interesting or exciting mapping, EV or automotive stories, send them our way.
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