x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Week in Motoring: GM and Nasa create robotic glove for workers

Plus: free car and bike meet in Dubai; 917 is most expensive Porsche ever; Abu Dhabi Motors is best Rolls-Royce dealer in region; and Volvo install air bag for pedestrians

Nasa and GM's Robonaut 2, where the Robo-glove technology originated.
Nasa and GM's Robonaut 2, where the Robo-glove technology originated.

General Motors has teamed up with Nasa to develop a robotic glove that car workers and astronauts can wear to relieve the strain from lifting tools and equipment, therefore also reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

The Human Grasp Assist device, known as Robo-glove, was a by-product of the partnership to develop Robonaut 2 (R2), the first humanoid robot to be launched into space when it went to the International Space Station last year.

The glove gives its wearer extra strength, with GM saying that the force required to grasp tools could be reduced by one third to one half for wearers of the glove, which is powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Inspired by the finger actuation system of R2, actuators are embedded into the upper portion of the glove to provide grasping support. Pressure sensors are incorporated into the fingertips of the glove to detect when the user is grasping a tool. At this point the synthetic tendons retract, pulling the fingers into a gripping position.

A third-generation prototype is near completion but there is no information about when the glove will be used by GM workers.


MME Car and Bike Meet set for this month

Almost 100 cars and motorcycles are expected to participate in the fourth MME Car and Bike Meet this month.

The event brings together petrolheads, owners, car collectors and photographers to meet in a relaxed and informal environment, this time at Dubai Festival City.

The last meet, in February, had more than 90 vehicles on show at the Sharjah Old Cars Club and Museum, from a Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari Testarossa and Fiat 500 to a vintage hot rod, modern-day Mustangs, a highly modified new BMW and even fast remote controlled cars.

"The wonderful thing about these car meets is that there is no agenda and no schedule at all, apart from an opportunity for motoring enthusiasts to get together, enjoy checking out each other's rides, talk cars and bikes and enjoy themselves," says Shahzad Sheikh, of organisers MotoringME.com.

All car clubs and motoring enthusiasts are welcome and it's free to attend the event, which takes place on Friday March 30 at 2pm at the car park opposite Marks & Spencer at Dubai Festival City.

Visit www.facebook.com/MotoringMiddleEast for info.


917 is priciest Porsche ever

A 1973 racing car has become the most expensive Porsche ever sold after it fetched US$4.4 million (Dh16.1m) at auction recently.

The Porsche 917 / 30 Can-Am is one of just four versions created by the German marque to boast more than 1,000hp. The cars were so fast that the race series they were designed for was disbanded because competitors just couldn't compete.

This particular speed machine is from the late Matthew Drendel's Porsche collection and it was, in fact, never used for racing as it was banned.

The 386kph car was auctioned alongside 17 other of Drendel's Porsches that, between them, fetched an incredible $36m, with 10 cars selling for more than $1m each at Gooding and Company's Amelia Island auction in Florida.

The original 917 was the car that gave Porsche its first wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971 before it was immortalised on celluloid in Steve McQueen's 1971 cult film Le Mans.

Performance modifications to the original were made for the 917 to compete in the North American Can-Am Challenge, where it excelled until a rule change in 1974 meant it could no longer compete, leaving this Porsche without a race.


Abu Dhabi Motors named best Rolls-Royce dealer for 2011

Abu Dhabi Motors, the dealer for Rolls-Royce cars in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, was named the British car company's Regional Dealer of the Year for 2011.

The accolade came at the annual Rolls-Royce dealership conference in New York last month, and was given for ADM's contribution to increasing global sales of the marque.

The Abu Dhabi showroom was also recognised for having the most bespoke Rolls-Royce Ghost sales in the world, as well as receiving gongs for Highest Sales Growth - Phantom, Highest Bespoke Revenue in the Middle East and Best Parts and Accessories Performance.

"Sales of the Rolls-Royce Phantom in the UAE's capital hit their highest-ever peak in 2011," said Kadhim Al Helli, the Rolls-Royce brand manager at Abu Dhabi Motors. "It saw its sales increase by 180 per cent compared to 2010. Winning these awards is an incredible achievement for the team."


Volvo just got safer with air bag in the bonnet for pedestrians

A number of things jump out at people when they think Volvo. Sweden and always-on headlamps are a couple of them. But, more often than not, people tend to think of the marque's impeccable reputation for safety.

And the good news is that reputation will only be enhanced with its latest creation - air bags for pedestrians.

The safety system is fitted on the all-new V40 small family car and works through a series of sensors fitted to the front bumper. When a pedestrian hits the bumper, an air bag is activated from the lower part of the windscreen and lifts the rear edge of the bonnet, a Volvo spokesman told MailOnline.

The spokesman added that the air bag helps protect the pedestrian when hitting the bonnet and lower windscreen.

The car also has a pedestrian detection system that warns the driver with a sound if someone steps out in front of them and brakes if no action is taken.