Audi's TT SUV concept goes wireless

At the 2014 Beijing motor show, Audi exhibited a 408-hybrid-horsepower TT SUV concept, complete with wireless inductive charging for its batteries. The core of Audi's contactless charging starts with a parking space fitted with a plate, coil and inverter. The system creates an alternating magnetic field between the air above the plate and under a corresponding coil in the bottom of the car. The alternating current is inverted and sent to the car's electrical system. Charging the hybrid vehicle's batteries takes about as much time as using a physical cable would, and Audi says the magnetic field does not pose a health risk to people or animals. The contactless wireless charging is 90% efficient and also works in rain, snow or ice, Audi claims.

Nissan wants you to stop washing your car

Nissan Europe is testing a new coating that repels mud, dirt, water and nearly anything else the road throws at it. The company coated a Nissan Versa Note with a “nano” paint called Ultra-Every Dry, in what Nissan calls the first application of the paint to a vehicle. To date, the Versa Note’s protective paint has taken a beating from rain, frost, sleet and dirt, and will remain in testing over the next few months. Nissan envisions the paint as a possible aftermarket option.

The US Department of Defense is building a near-silent dirt bike

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, awarded two companies a research grant to build a near-silent off-road motorcycle for US military use. The high-concept bike pairs a quiet multi-fuel combustion engine with an all-electric platform, allowing the machine to travel long distances and also operate in virtual silence when needed. The two companies working on the bike, Logos Technology and BRD, say this is the first time a two-wheeled, multi-fuel hybrid system has been fitted to a full-size off-road motorcycle.

NHTSA requires rear visibility tech in vehicles by 2018

Most carmakers already offer optional rearview camera systems in their vehicles, but the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this month that it would require carmakers to include rear-visibility technology on all vehicles under 10,000lbs by 2018. NHTSA set standards for things like image display size and deactivation features, and said each system must create a visibility field of 10 feet by 20 feet behind a vehicle. The agency expects the new requirements will result in fewer vehicular deaths and injuries.

Traffic lights are talking to Honda's cars

Honda began testing vehicle-to-infrastructure technology in Japan that allows traffic lights to communicate with its cars. Using infrared beacons placed on vehicles and in the vicinity of traffic signals, onboard screens display remaining time before a red light changes to green, or alert a driver to a red light that may be out of view. The project objective is to reduce accidents at intersections, improve traffic flow and decrease C02 emissions. Honda will test 100 of its vehicles on five different routes over the next year.