2021’s Top Ten Tech Cars: Rimac C Two

This Croatian car outruns any other EV–for €2 million

2 min read
Image of the 2021 Rimac C Two.
Photo: Rimac Automobili

Barely a decade ago, Mate Rimac was toiling in an unheated garage in Croatia, converting an old BMW to run on electricity for drag-racing competitions.

Today, the 33-year-old entrepreneur has 900 employees, a headquarters near Zagreb, development deals with Porsche and Hyundai, and a factory about to produce the Rimac C Two, a €2 million, 1,427-kilowatt, 415-kilometer-per-hour electric phantasm. Its projected 1.85-second rip from 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) would make it the first production car to break the 2.0-second barrier.

Delayed for a year by the COVID pandemic, Rimac plans to bring the first 150 C Twos to market this year. The model is the follow-up to his notorious Concept One, a hypercar with a mere 913 kW (yes, that's 1,224 horsepower). But to Rimac, the tech is just a means to an end. The point is to win over EV skeptics and bring carbon-neutral mobility.

“Before Tesla, people were building ugly, boxy electric cars, telling a story of saving fuel," Rimac says in an interview. “That's relevant, but it only brings in a small percentage of people."

Base price:

US $2.4 Million

His company's multifarious projects include Greyp, the electric bicycle company; an EV he's developing for Hyundai's new N Line; batteries for Aston Martin and Jaguar; and technical projects with Porsche, which increased its Rimac stake to 15.5 percent in 2020.

“When Porsche invested, after three years of due diligence, that was like, another level for us," Rimac says. “Porsche is all-in on electric cars."

What have these guys got that Porsche hasn't got? Small size and vertical integration. They let the company focus on high-performance battery, power train, and vehicle design more quickly than can, say, the sprawling Volkswagen Group (Porsche's parent), whose annual revenues are more than four times the annual gross domestic product of Croatia.

Rimac's C Two integrates a 120-kilowatt-hour lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide battery into an ultralight carbon-fiber frame, to deliver a nominal range of 550 kilometers (342 miles), as measured by Europe's regulatory protocol. Electric motors at each wheel allow true torque vectoring: Wheels can be individually powered or braked, delivering otherworldly handling. Rimac says the system allows near-instant calibrations of dynamic torque.

That wingman philosophy extends to the Rimac's autonomous Driver Coach, a kind of hyperdriving onboard HAL 9000 based on a GPS database from racetracks all over the world. The scissor-doored Rimac incorporates six driver screens, a lidar unit, 13 onboard cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and an exceptionally precise localization system using multiple stereo cameras and inertial-measurement-unit sensors.

“We're trying to use autonomous tech to add value to enthusiasts," he says. “This system will give you autonomous laps to show how a professional driver would do it. Then you take over, and the system gives you onboard coaching, showing where to brake, where to turn in, what you did wrong, and what you can do better."

Rimac slyly notes that Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia and says that, as a young petrolhead, he was fascinated by the inventor and the possibilities of his “electric machines." Perhaps future entrepreneurs will remember Rimac as fondly as he remembers his hero.

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20 Teams to Compete for $10M Telerobot XPrize

Robots will explore remote physical embodiment in the ANA Avatar XPrize Finals

8 min read
A woman in a VR headset holding motion controllers stands next to a humanoid robotic torso on a mobile base

Ideally, autonomous robots would be capable enough to do everything we wanted them to do, and lots of people are working very hard toward that goal. Annoyingly, though, humans are extremely capable, and with the exception of tasks that require a very specific combination of strength or speed or precision, having a human in the loop is still a good way of making sure that you get the job done. But the physical meat-sack nature of humans is annoying as well, restricting us to using our talents and (equally important) having physical experiences in only one location at a time.

The ANA Avatar XPrize seeks to solve this by combining humans and robots by enabling physical, nonautonomous avatar systems that allow remote users to see, hear, touch, and interact in real time. This isn’t a new idea, but with US $10 million up for grabs, this competition is the biggest push toward avatar robotics we’ve seen since the DARPA Robotics Challenge. And after a questionable start, the challenge evolved to (I would argue) better serve its purpose, with a final event coming up in November that will definitely be worth watching.

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AI Could Make Air Conditioners 10x Better

Hyperganic is using AI to design new heat exchangers that can be 3D-printed in metal

3 min read
White steam curls out of an object composed of black pipes that twist helically. A cutaway shows a convoluted inner structure.

Hyperganic partnered with Trumpf to algorithmically design this heat exchanger based on physical principles found in nature. They are now partnering with Krailling and Strata Manufacturing to build a more efficient residential air-conditioning system with a 3D-printed heat exchanger

Hyperganic

The energy we spend on cooling indoor spaces has tripled since 1990, and it’s going to triple again by 2050 as developing and middle-income countries embrace air-conditioning. Researchers are putting a lot of sweat into innovative cooling technologies that consume less energy, but none seem ready for prime time in the near future.

“Air-conditioning innovation is like nuclear fusion, always 20 years in the future,” says Lin Kayser, CEO of Hyperganic, an AI-based design-software firm in Munich.

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GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

Understand the safety mechanisms in an automotive-ready GPIO IP library suite to detect the faults in GPIO cells

1 min read
GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

The prevalence and complexity of electronics and software in automotive applications are increasing with every new generation of cars. The critical functions within the system on a chip (SoC) involve hardware and software that perform automotive-related signal communication at high data rates to and from the components off-chip. Every SoC includes general purpose IOs (GPIOs) on its periphery.

For automotive SoCs, GPIO IP is typically developed as Safety Element out of Context and delivered with a set of Assumptions of Use. It is important that the GPIO blocks are treated as a safety related logic. In this role, GPIOs need safety analysis to mitigate any faults occurring in them before the result of fault occurrence causes a system-wide failure.

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