x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

A clever way to celebrate Road Safety Week in the UK

A look at news from the motoring world, including a concept car that can change its look at the touch of a button.

Giant speed sign on home

A man in the UK got so fed up with motorists speeding up and down his quiet village street that he painted a giant 30mph speed limit sign on the side of his house.

Tim Blackhouse, who is a self-employed artist and builder, spent five hours painting the giant red and white sign with a black 30 figure in the centre on his end-terrace house in the village of Bow, Devon.

The whole operation cost him £100 (Dh572) but he says it was worth it.

"I know it might seem like a drastic measure but I'm sick and tired of motorists - lorries in particular - speeding through," he told Britain's Daily Mail.

"This way I thought there's no way they can miss the sign and might just get the message. My wife and I have only lived in the village for two years and we were apprehensive about how people would react.

"But everyone's been very supportive - the general feeling is that Bow has been forgotten about and something needs to be done."

Blackhouse painted the huge road sign to coincide with Road Safety Week in the UK.

Toyota concept car can change its look at the touch of a button

Toyota has unveiled a concept car that could mean drivers might never have to give their vehicle a paint job ever again.

The Fun-Vii, which stands for vehicle interactive internet, is made up of touch-screen panels that can display any sort of image you wish on the car.

It is being billed as a cross between a car and a smartphone and is being shown at the Tokyo Motor Show this week as a vision of the technology that could feature in cars in the future.

The car not only changes pattern to suit the driver's desires, it can connect to a dealership's website for a check-up and even gives a personalised greeting to the driver.

"A car must appeal to our emotions. If it's not fun, it's not a car," Toyota president Akio Toyoda says.

As yet, there are no plans for the car to go into production but we can expect some of the technologies used to feature in Toyotas in the not-too-distant future.

"It heralds Toyota's vision of a future where people, cars and society are linked," a company statement read. Toyota is also launching two electric vehicle concepts at the Tokyo show.

Dubai battery service launch

A new service for stricken motorists has been launched in Dubai.

The innovative Dial-A-Battery service means that motorists whose battery fails them at the roadside can now call or text a dedicated, toll-free number 24 hours a day, seven days a week and get speedy assistance to test and replace their vehicle's battery.

Dial-A-Battery is initially launching in Dubai, with plans to quickly expand throughout the Emirates early next year and throughout the Gulf in 2012.

"Dubai residents don't have time or interest in being subjected to 'battery-replacement trauma' with all its related hassle and headache. They only want to be rescued," says Asad Badami, the managing director of A-MAP, one of the UAE's leading distributors of automotive spare parts and the supplier of Dial-A-Battery.

"Due to excessive heat in the UAE and across the Gulf countries a vehicle's battery life is significantly reduced, creating a strong demand for immediate battery replacement."

Each vehicle is equipped with new batteries, testing equipment, tools and analysers. The service phone number is 800 247 365 and it costs between Dh200 and Dh700.

Mazda's new braking system improves fuel economy by 10%

Mazda has created a regenerative braking system that can improve fuel economy by 10 per cent.

The i-ELOOP system is the first of its kind to use a capacitor and it is expected to appear in Mazda vehicles from next year.

The system converts the vehicle's kinetic energy into electricity as it decelerates, using the electricity to power the climate control, audio system and numerous other electrical components. The capacitor technology can store large volumes of electricity and, unlike batteries, can be charged and discharged rapidly and is resistant to deterioration through prolonged use.

The name i-ELOOP is an adaptation of "Intelligent Energy Loop" and it uses a variable voltage (12-25V) alternator to generate electricity as the vehicle decelerates. Unlike the regenerative systems found in hybrids, this solution avoids the need for a dedicated electric motor and battery.

The i-ELOOP debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens today.

Woman whose car overturns in bad weather is saved - by bread

A woman whose car flipped over during a rainstorm and her air bag failed to inflate says her life was saved by a loaf.

Liz Douglas, 51, had been on a shopping trip in Glasgow, Scotland, and was on her way home to Stronachlachar, Stirlingshire, when she lost control of her Nissan Note in bad weather.

The car flipped over but, due to her sharp braking, a loaf from a shopping bag was thrown out and got sandwiched between the roof and her head, preventing Douglas from any serious head trauma. She remained stuck there until fire crews cut her free.

"It saved my life," the mother-of-two told Britain's Daily Mail. "I felt the back end of the car starting to slide and tried to straighten it up. My mind was blank - I was just trying to steer the car.

"I was trapped for almost an hour and the loaf remained as a cushion and head support."

Douglas escaped with just cuts and bruises but says she's glad she didn't end up as toast.