Car Tech

This category contains 13 posts

Japan to Launch World’s First Talking Robot in Space

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To those who think the space race is over is set to be proven wrong by Japan very, very soon. Kirobo, a small humanoid robot that is capable of talking and conversing with humans in space and on the ground, is slated to be the world’s first talking robot in space when it launches to the International Space Station (ISS) on August 4. Once in the ISS, Kirobo, whose name comes from the Japanese word “kibo”, meaning hope, and the word “robot”, will be taking part in the first robot-to-human conversation in space.

According to Yorichika Nishijima, Kirobo Project Manager,

“Russia was the first to go outer space, the U.S. was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans.”

Kirobo, which measures a mere 13.4 inches, is equipped with voice-recognition technology, natural language processing, facial and emotion recognition and a camera that was designed in partnership with Toyota. When asked what is its dream, Kirobo replies,

“I want to help create a world where humans and robots can live together.”

A second communications robot, named Mirata, was also developed alongside Kirobo and will remain on earth during the duration of the latter’s space mission. Almost identical in function with Kirobo, Mirata will enable engineers and scientists on earth to troubleshoot any problems that should arise with Kirobo while in space.

Although scheduled to speak in space for the very first time in August, the much anticipated first conversation between machine and humans will take place around November or December, when veteran Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives at the space station. Kirobo is expected to return to earth in December of next year.

On August 4, Kirobo will be launched aboard an unmanned H2 Transfer Vehicle-4 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Southern Japan. Aside from Toyota Motor Corporation, Kirobo was jointly developed by the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, Robo Garage and Dentsu Inc.



Why buy a sports car?

Just recently, we talked about why should you opt for a manual transmission compared to an automatic one. Now, we tackle another important issue one faces when one finally decides to ditch his/her old ride to swap for a new one: should I buy that sports car I’ve long been drooling for?

To help you out, we give you four compelling reasons why you should buy that sports car you’ve been dreaming about.

Phenomenal Driving Experience

With sports cars primarily built for speed and acceleration, it is in their DNA that they are just downright fun to drive. Partly this is due to the light but durable materials used in manufacturing these vehicles, bust most of the time, this is brought about by the insanely huge and fast engines they install under the hood. With V6 and V8 engines common to most sports cars, you are surely going to have fun cornering and speeding on the highways with these cars. Of course, when doing so, do take note of the speed limit and traffic regulations on the area for everybody’s safety.

See also: Rides of the Fast & Furious 6

More Bragging Rights

Admit it. For most of us, this one is arguably one of the primary reasons for getting a sports car. What’s a better way of getting attention and making a statement than driving around in a Ferrari that packs 400 horses under the hood. More importantly, for guys out there, having a sports car adds a gazillion more pogi points to your overall appeal.

Sheer Beauty and Appeal

These days, cars do not only serve as a means to transfer from one place to another. Similar to mobile phones, watches, luxury bags and fancy clothes, cars now serve as a fashion statement and a testament to just how successful and powerful an individual really is. Of course, if you want a better sense of individuality, or if you want to make a lasting good impression to your peers, driving a high-performance vehicle surely does the trick compared to being seen cruising on a Vios or a Corolla. Believe me, I’ve been (and still currently is) there.

See also: Manila International Auto Show 2013

High Resale Value

Depreciation is part and parcel of owning a vehicle. And at the very second you turn the ignition key, your car is just not of the same monetary value as it first rolled out of the factory. As such, sports cars, with their inherent beauty, quality and elegance, are more likely to retain a high resale value than their lesser-gifted peers in the industry. This makes them a very good investment which should provide any owner great return-of-investment down the road. Do take note, however, that there is a flip-side to this as owning and maintaining sports car may also entail higher costs than consumer models.

Should you opt for a manual transmission on your new car?


For most of us, buying a car is one of the biggest life decisions that we make. Coupled with that decision, unfortunately, are tens if not hundreds of questions and concerns about the car that we are about to purchase: what car type to take, what color to choose, which trim level is better, what engine type is more efficient. The list goes on and on.

Arguably though, one of the most vital decisions any car buyer should never fail to consider is the car’s transmission. Nowadays, buyers are faced with a two-faceted choice of whether going manual or opting for an automatic transmission. And although automatic transmissions are fast becoming mainstream on most of the cars that are manufactured today, a manual transmission provides numerous benefits that are usually passed up by the average buyer. On this article, we talk about why you should carefully consider opting for that stick shift.

Continue reading

2014 Toyota Corolla Unveiled!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few days ago, we wrote about the 2014 Toyota Vios and its upcoming release in the country this July. Today, we bring you more good news as Toyota recently unveiled the 2014 Toyota Corolla in the US. It is the eleventh generation model of the storied and successful Corolla franchise that started way back in the 60s. And if you think the all new Vios is beautiful, well you are in for a treat with the newest Corolla!

Available in four trim levels, the 2014 Toyota Corolla carry over last year’s trims: L, LE and S and further adds a new high-mileage variant dubbed the LE Eco. With design cues from the very trendy Toyota Furia Concept, the Corolla exudes more character and muscle than previous models. LED headlamps are now standard across all trims. Token fender flares and a redesigned rear end gives the car a more upscale aura for its price range.

The base trim offers standard air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, eight airbags and Bluetooth connectivity. For a cost, additional options such as info/nav screen to heated seats to various sound systems and SofTex faux leather on the seats could be added.

Under the hood, the 2014 Corolla sports the same engine as the previous generation: a 2ZR-FE twin-cam four cylinder engine capable of generating 132bhp and 128lb-ft of torque. However, should you opt for the LE Eco variant, you would get the new 2ZR-FAE engine, which features the same 1798cc displacement as the non-eco variant but has a higher 10.6:1 compression ratio. According to the manufacturer, the new engine on the LE Eco variant should provide about a five percent improvement in fuel economy, eight more horsepower but two fewer lb-ft of torque.

Availability and pricing of the 2014 Toyota Corolla in the Philippines is yet to be determined.

Source: Car And Driver

Sports coupe hybrid Honda CR-Z to arrive in August

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fueling the resurgence of Honda in the country is the all-new Honda CR-Z, the company’s sports coupe hybrid offering that is set to arrive in dealerships nationwide starting this August. The CR-Z combines a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain with traditional sports car elements such as a 2+2 seating arrangement and a standard 6-speed manual transmission. The CR-Z is regarded as the spiritual successor to the second generation Honda CR-X in both name and exterior design.

Under the hood of the CR-Z is a 1.5L i-VTEC SOHC inline 4-cylinder engine paired with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid-electric system. Standard to the vehicle is a six-speed manual transmission although a continuously variable transmission (CVT) variant is also available. The overall system is able to deliver 122bhp of power and 128lb-ft of torque. Early test results show the CR-Z running from 0-60mph in approximately 8seconds. Fuel economy is at 25km per liter.

Source: Honda

UPDATE: 2014 Toyota Vios to come this July!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, Toyota is refreshing its budget and entry level vehicle, the Vios. Announced at the Bangkok Motor Show last March, the new 2014 Vios has styling similar to the ones used in the new Yaris and Verso.

Although the entry level variant has limited features and no-frills appearance, the higher-end variants sport enhancements such as projector beam headlights, chrome trims, and 15 or 16inch alloy wheels. Although targeted for the lower-end spectrum of the car market, it should be noted that the new Vios boasts a stylish cabin with decent enough materials and design. the HUD gauges are attractively designed, with indoor metallic accents and a four-speaker audio system powered via MP3/USB/Aux connectivity.

A 1.5L four-cylinder engine powers the 2014 Vios. It is capable of developing 109bhp and 104lb-ft of torque. Five-speed manual is standard, with option for a four-speed automatic transmission for a cost.

With a wheelbase of 2,550mm, the 2014 Vios has the following dimensions: 4,410mm in length, 1,700 in width and 1,475 in height.

Availability in the country is still tentative, although sales are expected to start later this year.

UPDATE: According to technology site TechnoBaboy, pricing of the newest Vios will be as follows:

1.3 Base Model – P592,000
1.3 J (MT) – P630,000
1.3 E (MT) – P727,000
1.3 E (AT) – P762,000
1.5 G (MT) – P812,000
1.5 G (AT) – P847,000

Color schemes for the 2014 Vios will be as follows: Red Mica Metallic, Orange Metallic, Dark Brown Metallic, Pearl White, Xtreme Black, Thermalyte, Gray Metallic, and Freedom White.

Aching to have a preview of the car before its slated July launch, you may visit the following dealerships all over Luzon. Below is the schedule:

June 5, 2013 – Toyota Otis; Toyota Abad Santos; Araneta Center; Toyota Cubao; Toyota Shaw
June 6, 2013 – Toyota Balintawak; Toyota North Edsa; Tomas Morato; Toyota Quezon Avenue; Toyota Commonwealth
June 7, 2013 – Toyota Marikina; Toyota Pasig; Tiendesitas/Silver City; Toyota Makati; Toyota Global CIty
June 8, 2013 – Toyota Bicutan; Toyota Pasong Tamo; Bluewave; Toyota Manila Bay; Toyota Dasmariñas; Toyota Alabang
June 9, 2013 – Alabang Town Center/Westgate; Nuvali; Tagaytay Fire Lake Grill/Antonio’s Grill Lunch; Tagaytay Summit Ridge
June 15, 2013 – Toyota Calamba; Toyota San Pablo; SM San Pablo; Toyota Batangas
June 19, 2013 – Toyota Dagupan; Toyota La Union
June 20, 2013 – Toyota Baguio; SM Rosales; Toyota Cabanatuan; San Fernando, Pampanga
June 21, 2013 – Toyota San Fernando; Marquee Mall/SM Pampanga; Toyota Marilao
June 22-23, 2013 – Major commercial areas in Mega Manila


Dubai adds Bugatti Veyron to its fleet of police cars

bugatti-veyron-police-car--image-dubai-police_100427824_lThis was bound to happen. With the likes of the Lamborghini Aventador and the Ferrari FF being added to the Dubai Police fleet of cars, it was just fitting to eventually add the Bugatti Veyron into the mix. And although this isn’t the record-holder Veyron Super Sport, the top speed of 253mph of this base model shouldn’t be embarrassing on Dubai’s roads.

Easily, this is the most expensive police car in the world, with costs of over a million dollars based on configuration. Unfortunately, according to Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Chief of the Dubai Police, their supercars will just be put on display in pre-determined tourist locations. Together with the local government, they’re hoping the attention will convince organizers of the World Expo 2020 to host the event in Dubai. Other countries in the running include Brazil, Russia, Thailand and Turkey.

Source: Motor Authority

Rides of the Fast & Furious 6

Did you enjoy the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise? If yes, then you might want to relive the jaw-dropping rides featured in the movie. Below are a handful of the best cars shown in the film as well as a bit of information on about them. Enjoy!

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Intended to be a high performance, limited edition version of the Dodge Charger, the Daytona was created primarily to win high profile NASCAR races. This follows the failure of the 1969 Dodge Charger 500 to perform well on the high banks of the super-speedways. All in all, the Dodge Charger Daytona won six races, with two in 1969 and four in 1970.

1969 Ford Mustang

1969 Ford Mustang

1969 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang created an entirely new class in the auto industry called pony cars, with the Mustang’s styling of long hood and short deck proving highly popular among enthusiasts. The 1969 Mustang features more body heft with an increased body length and width than the other Mustangs, and it was also the first model to use quad headlamps. The 1969 Ford Mustangs were available in hardtop, sports roof and convertible 2-door versions. The 1969 features a number of V8 engine variants, with 3-speed or 4-speed transmission options.

1970 Plymouth Barracuda

1970 Plymouth Cuda

1970 Plymouth Cuda

The Barracuda was manufactured by Plymouth division of Chrysler from 1964-1974. The 1970 version was built on the E-body platform which is a wider and shorter model of the company’s B platform. Three variants of the 1970 Cuda were available: the base Barracuda (BH), luxury grand coupe (BP) and the sport model (BS). In the Fast and Furious 6, the sport model or Cuda version were used. It sports a 335bhp standard engine and available in 3 and 4-speed variants.

1970 Ford Escort RS2000

1970 Ford Escort RS2000

1970 Ford Escort RS2000

The Ford Escort, considered a small family car, was manufactured by Ford in Britain and Germany between 1968 and 2000. As an alternative to the RS1600, a rally version of the Escort which sports a Kent engine block and a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head, Ford released the RS2000. It features a 2.0L Pinto engine and has won several rallies and racing victories.

1971 Jensen Interceptor

1971 Jensen Interceptor

1971 Jensen Interceptor

Built at West Bromwich near Birmingham, the Jensen Interceptor is a GT-class car hand-built by Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1976. It boasts a Chrysler V8 440ci engine at its core, with 305bhp and 330bhp variants to choose from. Only 6,408 of these machines were built, and it was available in 2-door, 4-seater hatchback, convertible and coupe versions.

2006 Aston Martin DB9

2009 Aston Martin DB9

2009 Aston Martin DB9

Launched by Aston Martin in 2004, the Aston Martin DB9 is a grand tourer available both as a coupe and a convertible. It is made largely of aluminum and is the successor to the company’s highly successful DB7. Built on the VH platform also found in the Aston Martin DBS, it boasts a 6.0L V12 engine. It is capable of speeds up to 295kph and can accelerate from 0 to 97kph in 4.1seconds. Aston Martin Racing has since adapted the DB9 for sports racing and has since won several racing events.

2010 BMW M5

2010 BMW M5

2010 BMW M5

The BMW M5 is built by the Motorsport Division of BMW and is considered to be a high-performance version of the BMW 5-series executive car. The E60 M5, introduced in 2005, packs a V10 engine that is a world’s first for production sedans. At the time of its release, the E60 was both the quickest and fastest 4-door sedan in the world. Its features include a wider track, unique body panels, 7-speed SMGIII sequential manual gearbox, color HUD with navigation and automated seat side bolsters. It was the most successful M5, with 20,548 units shipped in its 5-year production run.

2011 Dodge Challenger

2011 Dodge Challenger

2011 Dodge Challenger

The 2011 Dodge Challenger base version features the new Pentastar V6 engine rated at 305bhp and features cylinder deactivation and dual variable valve timing. Aesthetically, the bottom grille cutout was flipped upside down, and the new SRT8’s chin spoiler was enlarged for more downforce. Either a 5-speed shiftable automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission variant is available. Chrysler approximates a quarter mile sprint of the Challenger at 12.4seconds.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8

The Dodge Charger is an American automobile manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrysler. There have been several different Dodge vehicles, built on three different platforms and sizes, all bearing the Charger nameplate. The name is generally associated with a performance model in the Dodge range; however, it has also adorned subcompact hatchbacks, full-sized sedans, and personal luxury coupes. For the 2012 SRT8 version, the Charger adopts the 6.4L Hemi V8 that debuted in the Challenger SRT8 392, capable of making 465bhp and 465lb-ft of torque. It is clocked to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.8seconds.

2012 Nissan GT-R

2012 Nissan GTR

2012 Nissan GT-R

Between 1969 and 1974, and again between 1989 and 2002, Nissan produced a high performance version of its Skyline range called the Nissan Skyline GT-R. This car proved to be iconic for Nissan and achieved much fame and success on road and track. The Nissan GT-R, although no longer carrying the “Skyline” badge, has heritage in the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The 2012 Nissan GT-R, which is the third and latest iteration of the Nissan flagship, sprints from 0-62mph in 2.8seconds and sports a 3.8L engine that boasts 24mpg fuel economy.

Source: Wikipedia, Google Images, Motor Authority

2013 Manila International Auto Show: the girls and the rides

The Manila International Auto Show, or MIAS, is held every year and boasts the toughest and fiercest parts and rides in the country. With over 500,000 attendees since its start in 2005, about 200 companies from the automotive industry have participated in the event, along with 500 exhibitors and 400 cars in display. Widely considered as the biggest motoring and driving event in the Philippines, it features brand new cars, hybrid cars and concept cars from the country’s top brands.

PHtechnews was there to cover the event, and though a bit late, below are a few snaps of the amazing girls and the rides featured in the auto show. Enjoy!

LaFerrari: Ferrari’s newest hypercar

In Geneva, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo just revealed the company’s newest hypercar, the LaFerrari. Though difficult and odd to pronounce, this mean machine is a definitive statement from Ferrari, whose other flagship cars such as the 1984 turbocharged 288 GTO, 1987 F40, 1995 F50 and 2002 Enzo are all nothing less than milestones of the automotive industry.

Inside, the LaFerrari boasts of a mid-mounted, direct injection 6.3-liter V12 capable of spinning up to 9250rpm and producing up to 790bhp. This engine features an F1-derived variable geometry air intake system, utilizes a variable capacity oil pump, and a main shaft with aerodynamic counter weights. Compression ratio is a high 13.5:1 and the overall center of gravity is reduced by 35mm.

It also features a dual-clutch gearbox and electric motor, which uses a 120-cell, 60kg lithium ion battery pack tucked under the seats. The electric motor adds around 160bhp to the V12, providing the LaFerrari with a total of 950bhp and 663lb-ft of torque. With this, the LaFerrari accelerates from 0-62mph in just under 3.0secs, 0-124mph in less than 8.0secs, insanely fast on any standard.

The hypercar marks the first time Ferrari applied its HY-KERS technology to a production car. This was developed by the F1 team in Gestione Sportiva and helps reduce emissions by 40% while increasing the V12 engine’s output by 10%. This aids the LaFerrari to recapture the kinetic energy lost during braking and cornering to charge the battery pack.

The car’s tub, meanwhile, is comprised of four different types of carbon fiber, all painstakingly hand-laminated before being cured into the GES F1 autoclave. According to Carmelo Lo Faro, VP at Cytec Engineered Materials and partner of Ferrari in manufacturing these carbon fiber components, “the aim is to use the right sort of material, in the right thickness, according to its location in the chassis and performance requirements. We are talking about a technology that is beyond what you currently find in commercial aerospace, and is used only in the latest fighter jets. In fact, the new Ferrari features a type of carbon fiber that is used in the nuclear industry to manufacture the centrifuges that uranium is enriched in.” Now that’s awesome.

The LaFerrari’s active aero, from the winglets, retractable rear wing to the spoiler are all derived from the FXX program. The exterior is also filled with vents, slats and intakes all used to hustle air into cooling and generating downforce depending on speed, road or track condition. Using this, the car is able to run in two different configurations: High Downforce (HD) and Low Downforce (LD). The dash, meanwhile, looks fantastic as it’s made primarily of carbon fiber while at the same time featuring minimal instrumentation for its E-diff and stability controls.

Note: Original post may be seen at, where the blog’s owner contributes as an editor. No copyright infringement intended.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.