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The latest news on Rolls Royce from Business Insider
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    We got our hands on a $416,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost "Black Badge" edition. With $100,000 in add-ons, we found plenty to play with. 


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    RollsRoyce thumb02

    BMW plans to release a fully self-driving car in 2021.

    The German automaker has always operated on a 2021 timeline to launch its self-driving car tech. However, on Thursday, the company said for the first time that it will have a Level 5 autonomous car ready at that point. Level 5 autonomy means the vehicle is capable of handling any driving situation in any area without human intervention. 

    Most automakers are planning to release Level 4 self-driving cars in the next 5 years, which means they are driverless but can only operate in select areas.

    Last October, BMW put together a line of futuristic concept vehicles to explore what the next century of driving could look like. The line consists of driverless concept cars and even a futuristic motorcycle.

    Scroll down for a closer look:

    SEE ALSO: BMW created a stunning motorcycle concept that comes with augmented reality glasses

    1. The Mini Vision Next 100 concept car gives us a taste of what cars will look like when ridesharing becomes increasingly more popular.

    RAW Embed

    The car can recognize who you are when you approach it and will greet you with a light-up sign. It'll also remember your driving preferences and prepare the car to your liking.

    That sure comes in handy if you're sharing the car with more than one other person!

    The interior is sleek and clear of any clutter. If you choose to drive it yourself, a heads-up display will show you useful information like where you are on your route.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rolls Royce Ghost Black Badge 2

    It's seems fair to say that anyone spending close to half-a-million on a car expects it to provide a driving experience like no other.

    But when it comes to the Rolls-Royce Ghost, it's not necessarily the driving experience that's out of this world, but the back seat experience. We got a ride in a Rolls-Royce Ghost "Black Badge" edition — a roughly $306,000 car with more than $100,000-worth of luxurious add-on features — and it was out of this world.

    Scroll down for a look inside:

    SEE ALSO: I got a ride in the $100,000 electric car trying to take on Tesla — here’s what it was like

    Here it is in all its glory: a $415,600 luxury Rolls-Royce.

    This Ghost featured Rolls-Royce's "cobalto blue" leather interior option. It's a bit cartoonish at first, but I grew to appreciate how the bright seats popped against the car's black accents over time.

    The seats were roomy, comfortable, and even give back massages! It's not the best massage function I've ever tried, but my lower back definitely felt better walking out of the car. The seats can move back-and-forth and also come with heat warmers.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Donald Trump

    When President Donald Trump recently told Reuters he misses driving, many were quick to doubt that he'd been behind the wheel of a car for years.

    For example, Trump's longtime confidant and political adviser Roger Stone told journalist Jamie Weinstein in a recent podcast that he's never seen Trump personally drive a car in the nearly four decades that he's known him.

    The comments, which followed Trump's pronouncement to Reuters that "I like to drive" and "I can't drive anymore" caught the attention of Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, who Sunday went digging to find any video evidence of Trump behind the wheel.

    What he found was what could only be described, as he wrote, as "glorious."

    The footage he unearthed was from 2014. It was filmed by Melania Trump from the backseat of Trump's Rolls-Royce. Trump sat in the driver's seat, with his son, Barron Trump, riding shotgun.

    The family was driving, blasting Taylor Swift's 2014 hit "Blank Space."

    Watch the video here:

    Trump has tweeted about the pop music star twice before. In a pair of 2012 tweets, Trump thanked Swift "for the beautiful picture --- you are fantastic!" He also wrote "Glad to hear that @taylorswift13 will be co-hosting the Grammy nominations special on 12.5. Taylor is terrific!"

    SEE ALSO: Trump defends Michael Flynn ahead of blockbuster Sally Yates testimony

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    Rolls Royce Dawn 29

    Over the past 15 years, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a company with more than a century's worth of heritage and brand equity, has completely reinvented itself under BMW ownership. This reinvention was not conducted in a way that abandons tradition — because that would be foolish— but rather by embracing it while injecting a heavy dose of modernity.

    In other words, rather than slapping the brand's badge on a run-of-the-mill luxury car, they decided to build honest-to-God Rolls-Royce motor cars with the latest chassis, engine, and infotainment technology money can buy.

    First, there was the flagship Phantom limo. Then came the "entry-level" Ghost sedan. That was followed by Wraith coupe. Now, with the arrival of the Dawn, it's safe to say the Rolls-Royce revolution is complete.

    Late last year, just before the winter chill bore down on the Northeastern part of the US, Rolls-Royce dropped off a brand new Dawn for Business Insider to check out at our top secret suburban New Jersey road test facility — the nerve center of our vast vehicle evaluation operation. Otherwise known as my colleague Matt DeBord's drive way.

    Obviously, this was the perfect opportunity for a weekend drive through the wilds of New Jersey. 

    The Rolls-Royce Dawn starts at a lofty $335,000. However, our option-laden test car clad in Midnight Sapphire and Blue Ice livery cost a whopping $402,675.

    Hollis Johnson contributed to this story.

    SEE ALSO: The car that saved Porsche isn't perfect, but it's close

    I began the day at Business Insider's suburban test car facility located not too far from BMW/Rolls-Royce North America's headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

    The Dawn is the latest addition to the Rolls-Royce family. It joins the flagship Phantom, ...

    ... The Ghost, and...

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rolls Royce Sweptail

    At roughly $3 million, the Bugatti Chiron is one of the most expensive production cars to ever reach showrooms, so the words "affordable" and "Bugatti" rarely, if ever, occupy real estate in the same sentence. However, that's what happened over the weekend.

    On Saturday, Rolls-Royce unveiled a one-off custom build called the Sweptail. At a reported price of nearly $13 million, it is believed to be the most expensive new car ever commissioned, The Telegraph reported.

    While it may not be quite as pricey as the most expensive car of all time — the $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO — the Rolls is still the price of four brand-new Chirons.

    For Rolls-Royce, the Sweptail represents a return to prominence of the brand's time-honored coach-building business.

    Rolls Royce Sweptail

    "Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of haute couture," Giles Taylor, the director of design for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said in a statement. "It is a Rolls-Royce designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer."

    And it's the result of four years of work.

    According to Rolls, a customer approached the company in 2013 and asked it to build a one-of-a-kind motor car inspired by the luxury yachts of the 1920s and '30s.

    Rolls Royce Sweptaill

    The Sweptail's signature feature is a single-piece glass roof that tapers into the car's fastback rear end. It's a design feature that dominates the car's silhouette.

    Rolls-Royce has not released technical specs of the car, but it's believed to be based on the current-generation Phantom platform, which means some version of the company's 6.75-liter V-12 is most likely lurking under its long bonnet.

    Rolls Royce Sweptail

    SEE ALSO: Here's what it's like to take a $400,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible on a road trip through New Jersey

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    NOW WATCH: This Rolls-Royce Ghost comes with $100K worth of goodies

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    At roughly $3 million, the Bugatti Chiron is one of the most expensive production cars to ever reach showrooms, so the words "affordable" and "Bugatti" rarely, if ever, occupy real estate in the same sentence. However, that's what happened over the weekend.

    On Saturday, Rolls-Royce unveiled a one-off custom build called the Sweptail. At a reported price of nearly $13 million, it is believed to be the most expensive new car ever commissioned, The Telegraph reported.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    China Eastern Airbus A330SYDNEY (Reuters) - A China Eastern flight bound for Shanghai was forced to turn back to Sydney because of a mid-air emergency, an airline spokeswoman said on Monday, with pictures showing a gaping hole in the casing of one of its engines.

    The plane, an Airbus A330-200 twin jet, landed without incident late on Sunday and there were no injuries, said Kathy Zhang, general manager for the Oceania region at China Eastern Airlines.

    "The crew observed the abnormal situation of the left engine and decided to return to Sydney airport immediately. All passengers and crew members were landed safely," she said.

    Photographs published by several Australian media outlets showed a large gash well over a meter long in the casing of the left engine.

    The Australia Transport Safety Bureau was starting an investigation and an update would normally be available within a month but could come sooner if a "more serious issue" was identified in its early stages, Bob Armstrong, a spokesman for the bureau said.

    A spokeswoman for Rolls-Royce, which manufactured the plane's Trent 700 series engines, said in a statement: "We are aware of the incident and will be working closely with our customer and relevant partners to understand the cause of the issue."

    An Airbus spokesman said the company was in contact with Rolls-Royce to determine what occurred, and it would support the investigation into the incident.

    China Eastern Airbus A330Professor Jason Middleton, an aviation expert at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said it appeared that the engine cowling had been ripped away forward of the main compressor blade.

    "When one of these things happens you often don't know how the damage began. It could have begun from loose screws," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp News.

    China Eastern's Zhang said a comprehensive investigation would involve aviation authorities from Australia and China.

    Ground-handling company Cathay Pacific had inspected the plane before take off, Zhang said. The company was not immediately available for comment.

    "The engine for the aircraft is a big issue so we need to investigate with the governments, with the Rolls-Royce company and with our headquarters as well," she said.

    Television station Seven News reported that passengers heard a bang shortly after Flight MU736 took off and could smell burning before the flight turned back.

    "We went up in the air and all of a sudden we heard this noise ... it kind of smelt like burning. Oh, I was scared. Yeah, I was really scared. Our group was terrified," one unidentified passenger told Seven News.

    China Eastern Airbus a330Another passenger, identified only as Eva, said the cabin crew tried to calm passengers and told them to fasten their seatbelts after a noise was heard.

    "We were very panicked because we had no idea what was happening," she told Channel 9 television.

    This is the second time in less than a month that a Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered aircraft suffered significant damage to its engine cowling. On May 15, Egypt Air Flight 955, also an Airbus A330, was forced to reject a takeoff attempt in Cairo after experiencing a failure of the jet's left engine, Air Transport World reported

    According to the publication, Rolls-Royce is investigating the incident which also caused a large hole in the engine nacelle. 

    (Reporting by Harry Pearl; Additional reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON and Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

    Business Insider's Benjamin Zhang contributed to this report. 

    SEE ALSO: Trump's 'air-travel revolution' could make flying in America worse

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    NOW WATCH: Airplanes have a secret engine hidden in the tail

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    Rolls Royce Airbus Engine Assembly Line Factory Berlin

    British car and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce lifted the lid on its shiny new factory for jet engines this week.

    The Trent XWB engine will be used in Airbus' A350 XWB aircraft, and it's one of the quietest and fuel efficient jet engines ever produced. 

    Rolls-Royce invited company executives, German officials, journalists, and photographers to the plant just outside Berlin for the unveiling and a tour of the facility. Here’s a look at how the efficient engines take shape:

    The first thing you notice about the Trent XWB engine: it’s big. Really big. Just two of these will power a 240 ton plane into the sky with 84,000 pounds of thrust each.

    Specifically, they’ll be powering Airbus A350X WB (extra wide body), one of the French plane maker's most in-demand models.

    Here’s what the engine looks like up close when installed under the wing.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Air Asia X Airbus A330

    An Air Asia X flight from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was forced to turn around after the plane began to violently shake. 

    According to CNN, the turbulence was so severe on flight D7237 that the pilot asked passengers to pray twice. Passengers were also told to brace for impact during the landing at the Perth airport, according to CNN, though the landing ended up being smooth. 

    An airport spokesperson told the AFP that the pilot noticed "technical issues" and turned the plane around. 

    At least one of the passengers onboard was able to catch the terrifying incident on camera. 

    "The safety of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance to us. We are currently conducting an investigation into the cause of the incident together with our engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. We are also cooperating fully with the local aviation authorities," Air Asia said in a statement

    The company also said that it "always strctly follows the maintenance programme" as directed by the manufacturers. 

    In a statement to Business Insider, Rolls-Royce said: 

    "We’re aware of the incident and will be working closely with relevant partners to support them and understand the cause of the issue."

    SEE ALSO: Frustrated United customers say they didn't realize they were purchasing 'basic economy' tickets

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge

    Over the past decade, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has made a concerted to reach a younger and more trendy group of buyers. 

    These efforts include the introduction of the entry-level Ghost sedan in 2010 followed by the Wraith coupe in 2013 and the Dawn convertible in 2015. 

    And the company's efforts seem to be working quite well. 

    In fact, since 2010, the average age of Rolls-Royce customers has fallen from 56 years of age down to just 45, Bloomberg reported.

    Now Rolls is pushing even further into its "youth" revolution with a menacingly stylish line-up of bespoke Black Badge models.

    On Wednesday, Rolls-Royce unveiled the Black Badge edition of the Dawn — joining the similar versions of the Wraith and Ghost that were introduced last year. 

    Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge"Standing as a truly Bespoke response to the desires of a new breed of entrepreneur, Black Badge has already distinctly amplified the characters’ of Ghost and Wraith motor cars, placing them into consciousness of those that seek a commanding presence in the objects they commission," Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in a statement. "Overwhelming demand from new patrons of luxury tells us the time is now right to apply this assertive, confident and powerful attitude to Dawn and open this truly transformative presence to the world."

    Each Black Badge Dawn will be individually commissioned and optioned to the specific wishes of the customer. So in theory, no two Black badge cars will be identical.

    Under the hood, the Black Badge Dawn will get a little extra oomph to back up its sinister looks. The 6.6 liter, twin-turbocharged V12 engine remains. However, horsepower is up 30 to 593 ponies. The Dawn's suspension and eight-speed ZF satellite-assisted automatic transmission have been adjusted to create a more "dynamic" driving experience.

    Rolls Royce Dawn Black BadgeAccording to Rolls-Royce, the Dawn Black Badge can make the sprint from 0 to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. 

    The Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge will make its official world debut at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month. Rolls-Royce has not disclosed the official pricing for the Black Badge. However, the standard Dawn starts at a lofty $335,000. 

    SEE ALSO: This Rolls-Royce might be the most expensive new car ever built

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    NOW WATCH: This $13M Rolls-Royce could be the most expensive new car ever built

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    Rolls Royce Phantom 62

    As the flagship model of the world's most famous luxury carmaker, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a rolling throwback to an age when the superwealthy lived in 100-room estates and employed dozens of staff members, a few of them chauffeurs.

    The debut of the seventh-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom, in 2003, ushered the company into a new era under BMW ownership. Ever since the German automaker acquired the British one in 1998, the company has grown considerably, with annual global sales reaching 4,000 cars in 2014.

    In 2013, Rolls-Royce introduced an updated Series II Phantom VII. But in 2016, the company said the Phantom as we know it would cease production and be replaced by a brand-new car.

    With the eighth-generation Phantom rumored to be just around the corner, we can't help but take a look back at the flagship Rolls that helped resurrect the iconic brand.

    Last summer, Rolls-Royce dropped off a 2016 model clad in a regal black livery. The Phantom starts at $417,825, but our options-heavy test car left the factory with a price of $506,900, making it one of the most expensive vehicles we've ever tested.

    Photos by Hollis Johnson unless otherwise credited.

    SEE ALSO: The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is a beautifully flawed automotive legend

    For Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the Phantom name dates to the 1920s, but the modern Phantom didn't arrive until 2003. It was the first Rolls-Royce developed under BMW ownership.

    The black Phantom Rolls dropped off at our New York office is a 2016 Series II.

    Our test car came in at a substantial 19.1 feet in length, but there is an extended-wheel-base version that is nearly a foot longer.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    rolls royce phantom experimental electric 102ex_100342099_l

    It seems the industry's future propulsion method is sealed: electric cars will begin to take priority over the internal combustion engine.

    While some automakers buy time and green credentials with hybrid systems, Rolls-Royce has zero plans for such a stop-gap.

    Autocar reports that Rolls-Royce is not looking into expanding its portfolio of vehicles with hybrid technology. Instead, the marque will pursue electric cars.

    “Electrification is the way forward—and there will be no in between steps for us like hybridization,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Otvös told the British publication. “It is the propulsion system for the future, make no error. There is a time—nobody can predict when—when there will be no combustion engines. That will take a long, long time, but it will happen.”

    But, even speaking of electric powertrains, Müller-Otvös said only when the technology is suitably developed will Rolls-Royce swap out V-12 engines for batteries and electric motors. Recall, Rolls-Royce in 2011 tested the waters with an electric Phantom concept but found the lack of range and charging infrastructure to be too much of a shortcoming. Even with today's battery technology, it's not quite up to Rolls-Royce standards.

    “The Rolls-Royce brand is not, in a way, a game-changer when it comes to revolutionary technology. Our customers are doing so for reasons of utmost luxury, so there can be no imperfections."

    He did state access to the BMW Group's electric powertrains will be an asset when Rolls-Royce does finally introduce such technology. In the meantime, however, the focus will be on opulence and delivering a luxurious driving experience.

    SEE ALSO: Volvo is making all of its cars electric from 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The inventor of Roomba has created a weed-slashing robot for your garden

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    The Rolls-Royce Phantom is one of the oldest names in the car business. For nearly 100 years, the Phantom has been a byword for luxury, exclusivity, and world-class engineering.

    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launched the seventh-generation Phantom in 2003 after a decade of dormancy. It was the first new Rolls-Royce introduced after BMW assumed control of the brand from Volkswagen Group in what was one of the most bizarre business deals in recent memory.

    For 13 years, the Phantom VII served Rolls-Royce with distinction as its flagship model while also becoming a catalyst for the brand's recent renaissance. With annual sales topping 4,000 cars, the past few years have been happy times for the rarefied luxury automaker.

    Now, there's an all-new Phantom.

    On Thursday, Rolls-Royce unveiled the Phantom VIII.

    "The Phantom is the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce brand in its truest sense," CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Business Insider in an interview. "It embodies all of the qualities Rolls-Royce is well known for. It starts with the magic carpet ride, the quality, the precision design, and engineering."

    "It embodies what Sir Henry Royce said, 'Take the best that exists and make it even better,' and that is exactly what the Phantom is in every single detail," Müller-Ötvös added.

    Rolls-Royce is expected to commence customer deliveries of the Phantom VIII in early 2018. The standard wheelbase Phantom starts at about $450,000. Company data, however, shows Phantom VIII customers are adding more than $150,000 in bespoke options to their cars for an average order price of $600,000.

    Here's a closer look at Rolls-Royce's new flagship.

    SEE ALSO: Check out Bombardier's next generation $73 million Global 7000 private jet

    Since 2003, the Phantom VII has embodied the pinnacle of Rolls-Royce luxury.

    Now, there's a new flagship Phantom in town. It's the first car to be built on Rolls-Royce's new all-aluminum platform, called the Architecture of Luxury. It will underpin all of the brand's coming models including the Cullinan SUV.

    Under the hood, the Phantom is powered by a 563-horsepower, 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine paired with an eight-speed, satellite-aided, ZF automatic transmission.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    For nearly 100 years, Rolls-Royce has been the symbol of luxury and exclusivity with their flagship model, Phantom. After launching the seventh-generation Phantom in 2003, Rolls-Royce has returned once again to redefine luxury with the all new Phantom VIII.

    Take a closer look at Rolls-Royce's new flagship before its delivery in early 2018.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rolls Royce Ghost Black Badge 2

    If you're looking for a car that will give you a massage while smoking a cigar, go no further than the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

    We got a ride in a Rolls-Ryoce Ghost "Black Badge" edition and it seems safe to say the best part of the experience was getting cozy in the back seat. The roughly $306,000 car came with more than $100,000-worth of luxurious add-on features — and it was a sight to behold.

    Scroll down for a look inside:

    SEE ALSO: I got a ride in the $100,000 electric car trying to take on Tesla — here’s what it was like

    Here it is in all its glory: a $415,600 luxury Rolls-Royce.

    This Ghost featured Rolls-Royce's "cobalto blue" leather interior option. It's a bit cartoonish at first, but I grew to appreciate how the bright seats popped against the car's black accents over time.

    The seats were roomy, comfortable, and even give back massages! It's not the best massage function I've ever tried, but my lower back definitely felt better walking out of the car. The seats can move back-and-forth and also come with heat warmers.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rolls Royce ship navy

    Unmanned air vehicles, better known as drones, have been operating for a long time. And those drones have been used in some high-ranking terrorist kills, like the one that took out Anwar al-Awlaki of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

    Other unmanned vehicles are on the ground and are being tested by the Army and Marine Corps.

    And the Navy’s gotten into the unmanned game as well. In 2014 the service tested small, unmanned boats as a way to prevent a repeat of the 2000 attack on the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67). But Rolls Royce is now proposing something that could put the Navy’s plans to shame.

    According to a company release, Rolls Royce is developing a 700-ton vessel capable of operating for 100 days unmanned, and it could be a game-changer for navies around the world. This vessel would be about the size of the Nanuchka-class corvette. It would have a range of 3,500 miles and a top speed of more than 25 knots.

    What might this vessel be used for? The big mission Rolls Royce is pitching is “coastal patrol and surveillance,” logistical support, or even as a means to protect other vessels. This ship would still be very capable for its size, largely because, “[m]any of the habitation systems and accommodation compartments are removed, bringing immediate cost savings and making the vessel smaller.”

    Rolls Royce ship navy

    “The autonomous platforms are likely to cover a range of single role missions, e.g. patrol and surveillance, mine detection or fleet screening, while the larger manned ships will cover the multi-role missions,” Rolls Royce adds.

    In addition to having on-board sensors, the unmanned vessel could also carry a number of unmanned aerial vehicles. In essence, it is a robotic aircraft carrier for drones. This could make things very interesting at sea.

    SEE ALSO: This is why the Russian navy is such a mess

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Animated map shows what would happen to Asia if all the Earth's ice melted

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    rolls-royce driverless boat

    Rolls-Royce is taking self-driving tech to the seas.

    The defense and engineering company, which was spun out from the car company back in the 1970s, said it wants to build a naval vessel that can operate by itself for 100 days straight. The 60-meter ship is designed to assist with patrol and suveillance as well as mine detection.

    "Over the next 10 years or so, Rolls-Royce expects to see the introduction of medium sized unmanned platforms, particularly in leading navies, as the concept of mixed manned and unmanned fleets develops," Rolls-Royce wrote in a press release.

    Rolls-Royce said it has created an intelligent awareness system that uses artificial intelligence to help the ship operate without human intervention. The ship would require fewer crew members to help limit the number of people exposed to hazards and trim costs.

    The company joins several others in the race to automate boats. Norwegian fertilizer company YARA is building an electric, driverless boat that is slated to be operational in 2018. Startup Sea Machines Robotics has also been testing an unmanned vessel in the Boston Harbor.

    SEE ALSO: Waymo CEO John Krafcik explains why systems like Tesla's Autopilot could be a 'big problem'

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    NOW WATCH: The all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom is a modern private jet for the road

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    Welcome to Transportation & Logistics Briefing, a new M-W-F morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting transportation and delivery, produced by BI Intelligence.

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    MALE AND URBAN CONSUMERS MORE ENTHUSIASTIC FOR SELF-DRIVING CARS: A newly released Pew Center survey of 4,135 US adults conducted earlier this year shows US consumers are conflicted about the emergence of self-driving vehicles. The survey found that 65% of the respondents said they expect most cars will be autonomous within the next 50 years.

    More respondents were worried about autonomous vehicles than were enthusiastic. Just over half (53%) said they were “somewhat” or “very” worried, compared to 39% who said they were “somewhat” or “very” enthusiastic. Among the 56% of respondents who said they would not ride in a self-driving car, the most common concerns were giving up control of the vehicle (42%) and safety concerns (30%). 

    However, the survey found some interesting differences between different groups’ willingness to ride in a self-driving car: 

    • While 51% of male respondents said they’d ride in a self-driving vehicle, only 35% of women surveyed said they’d be willing to do so. This is in line with findings from a Morning Consult survey earlier this year that also found men were more willing to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
    • More than half (52%) of urban dwellers surveyed said they’d ride in a self-driving car, compared to 40% of suburbanites and 36% of rural respondents.
    • Unsurprisingly, younger respondents were also more willing to ride in a self-driving car, with 51% of respondents aged 18-49 saying they’d do so, compared to only 35% of those aged 50 or older.

    Among the 44% of respondents willing to ride in a self-driving car, the top reason they said they’d do so was simply for the experience, which was cited by 37% of them. Other common reasons included feeling self-driving cars would be safer (cited by 17%), the ability to do other things besides driving (15%), and reducing the stress associated with driving (13%).

    The majority of the respondents also said they support several policies that could restrict self-driving cars in various ways: 

    • 87% of the respondents favored or strongly favored requiring someone in the driver seat at all times who could take control.
    • 83% said they favored or strongly favored dedicated driving lanes for self-driving vehicles.
    • 69% said they favored or strongly favored restricting self-driving cars from driving in certain areas, such as near schools.

    Such rules could over time make consumers feel more comfortable with self-driving cars, alleviating some of the concerns around their safety. Those concerns could also be further reduced if self-driving cars prove beneficial to society. For instance, only 28% of those surveyed expected self-driving cars would reduce traffic congestion in major cities. However, studies have predicted that self-driving taxis hailed through mobile apps could vastly reduce the number of cars in urban areas. If self-driving cars reduce traffic, leading to fewer car accidents, it could make consumers rethink their opinions around self-driving cars.


    GOOGLE AND ROLLS-ROYCE PARTNER ON SHIPPING SAFETY AND NAVIGATION: Rolls-Royce has agreed to partner with Google to improve its own software for detecting and avoiding objects at sea, Port Technology reports.

    The agreement will allow Rolls-Royce, one of the world’s leading providers of marine propulsion systems, to use Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine to analyze marine data sets. Leveraging Google’s machine learning algorithms to detect patterns in these data sets which will then be applied to help Rolls-Royce’s software recognize and identify different objects in ship’s surroundings on the open ocean. 

    Rolls-Royce’s object detection technology can help with both manned and unmanned shipping vessels. Rolls-Royce previously used the system as an advanced safety system for ships owned by Stena Line, a Swedish ship operator. This type of object detection and avoidance technology is also a step towards autonomous ships, much like how advanced driver assist systems in cars today are essential building blocks towards self-driving cars. Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce demonstrated the world’s first remotely controlled commercial vessel in Copenhagen’s harbor, and opened a research center in Finland dedicated to autonomous shipping.

    The company intends to eventually use small crews at centralized control centers to remotely operate unmanned cargo vessels around the world. Several major Japanese shipping firms are similarly planning to build fleets of remotely controlled vessels. This type of model would drastically reduce labor costs for shipping companies, which can make up half the total costs of operating a cargo vessel. However, maritime laws and regulations will need to be rewritten in order for autonomous or remotely controlled commercial vessels to cross the world’s oceans. International shipping is regulated by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO), which has said that it is considering changes that would enable unmanned ships to sail in international waters. In the meantime, shipping operators, their suppliers, and tech companies will accelerate their ongoing efforts to build sensors and software for unmanned vessels.

    RIDE-HAILNG FIRMS’ REGULATORY ISSUES IN WESTERN EUROPE: Estonian ride-hailing company Taxify is moving into Paris for the first time, according to Engadget. The firm hopes that it will be able to carve out a large share of the city’s ride-hailing market by charging consumers 10% less on average than rival Uber, and taking 10% less in commission from drivers. Taxify, which operates in 18 countries, mostly in Europe, will only be able to use drivers with a professional chauffeur license (known as VTC).

    The company sees an opportunity in Western European markets as Uber confronts regulatory issues in the region. The world’s largest ride-hailing firm has struggled to maintain a strong presence in Western Europe. Notably, it’s license to operate in London was rescinded last month by Transport for London (TfL), and its low-cost UberPOP service was temporarily banned in France after cab drivers protested the service. London was a major loss for Uber — its revenue was up 59% in the city in 2016 and it controlled 68% of the UK ride-hailing market, according to Dalia Research. Taxify entered London immediately following Uber’s loss of its license, and is furthering that push with its move into Paris.

    However, Taxify has been plagued with some of the same issues as Uber. Only a week after it launched in London, Taxify was banned by TfL. Additionally, France’s National Union of Taxis and the head of the VTC Union have already attacked Taxify in the press, arguing that its business practices will hurt drivers and consumers.

    It’s looking increasingly likely that ride-hailing firms are fundamentally at-odds with many Western European cities’ regulatory policies. Part of the reason TfL revoked Uber’s license in London was because the regulator said Uber failed to meet requirements around driver vetting and reporting practices. These requirements are designed for traditional taxi operators, and Uber and Taxify both argued after losing their licenses that they are technology platforms, not taxi operators. Therefore, they say, they should not be required to follow strict regulations that would add operational costs and complexity to their businesses. Moreover, Taxify’s experience shows that established taxi drivers and their unions, which have a great deal of sway in Western European countries, will always have ride-hailing firms in their sights. These challenges will persist until ride-hailing firms deal with these regulatory issues that have made Western Europe a particularly difficult market.

    In other news…

    • Ford announced that all of its vehicles sold in the US will have native connectivity features by 2019, according to The Star. In addition, the company plans to include native connectivity features in 90% of its vehicles sold in foreign markets by 2019. CEO Jim Hackett said the move will position the automaker well for a future where many competing automakers also offer connectivity features on all their models. Ford joins BMW, GM, and Mercedes-Benz in planning to build connectivity features into all their models in the coming years.
    • Boeing will acquire Aurora Flight Sciences, a manufacturer of drones and pilotless flying systems, in order to eventually start manufacturing flying taxis, according to The Wall Street Journal. While flying taxis face technological and regulatory hurdles to get to market, the company views them as part of the future of transportation. In addition, CTO Greg Hyslop said the company will leverage Aurora’s machine learning technologies to bolster the technologies in its other offerings, which could include building machine learning applications for its planes and other aircraft.
    • Electric vehicle (EV) sales hit a yearly high in September, and Tesla leads all manufacturers in overall sales, according to a new report from Inside EVs. Automakers delivered about 21,000 electric plug-in vehicles in the US last month, up from only 16,000 in August but off the monthly record for EV deliveries set back in December 2016. Tesla led all manufacturers with 8,095 EVs delivered last month, nearly twice the 4,112 delivered by GM, which came in second. This brings the total number of electric vehicles sold in the US this year to 142,514.

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    e FanX 3D graphic

    • Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens are collaborating to create the technology necessary for a hybrid electric plane.
    • They want to test a hybrid electric plane by 2020 and begin commercial flights by 2025.
    • Electric engines could reduce airplane noise and fuel costs.

    Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens are collaborating to create the technology necessary for a hybrid electric plane, the companies said Tuesday. Known as the "E-Fan X programme," the collaboration started in 2012 as a response to the European Union's desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen oxide pollution.

    While the companies want to test a hybrid electric plane by 2020 and have one flying commercial flights by 2025, their goals are more modest in the short term. The first step is creating an electric engine that could be placed on a traditional aircraft, the BAe 146.


    The most pressing obstacle the companies will have to overcome is the current weight of the batteries and cooling equipment necessary for electric flight. If they're able to do so, it could make life much easier for airlines, who devote a significant amount of their budgets to fuel costs. Electric motors would also reduce the amount of noise airplanes make, which could allow airlines to schedule more evening flights.

    SEE ALSO: NASA has an ambitious $43 million plan to make electric planes a reality

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