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Transportation Technology

The Mercedes-Benz 'Cloaking Device' 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-it-can't-fire-while-cloaked dept.
cold fjord writes "As part of its marketing campaign for the new hydrogen fuel cell powered F-Cell, Mercedes-Benz has equipped one with a cloaking device. They covered one side of an F-Cell with LEDs and used cameras on the other side to capture the view, which is then displayed on the LEDs to effectively remove the vehicle from the line of sight."
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The Mercedes-Benz 'Cloaking Device'

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  • by rush,overlord,rush! (1995452) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:17PM (#39271013)
    The insurance must be very high.
  • All My (Score:5, Funny)

    by NEDHead (1651195) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:18PM (#39271017)

    Luxury cars are cloaked too - which is why it looks like I drive an old minivan

    • Re:All My (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:57AM (#39272089)

      Luxury cars are cloaked too - which is why it looks like I drive an old minivan

      Bah, I dont need a cloaking device, most drivers act like the cant see my car already.

      • The roof line of my sports coupe is below most cars' mirror level so I'm invisible to most of them. It's like the cloaking system in FreeSpace, except you only need to make the car less than 4 feet tall instead of spatially compressing it into a razor-thin blade.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The problem with that is a truck might help you and your car become even less visible using more mainstream spatial compression methods.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      My luxury car is cloaked, in old paint. It makes it look like I don't have much money. Er, wait.

    • Re:All My (Score:5, Funny)

      by LanMan04 (790429) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:52AM (#39274751)

      http://www.break.com/usercontent/2007/10/Chamelion-XLE-383947 [break.com]

      Spokesman V/O: If you're a luxury car owner, there's something you should know. Luxury sedans are stolen at the rate of four per minute.

      [ show couple walking to curb from restaurant; his car is nowhere to be found ]

      Man: My brand new BMW! I just got this car two days ago!

      [ Spokesman enters foreground ]

      Spokesman: Frightening, isn't it? Suddenly, the idea of buying a car for the cache of a hood ornament seems outdated. In the 90's, you don't need a car to tell the world you're wealthy; you need a car to tell the world you're smart.

      [ show luxury car under wraps, as a breeze sends the cloth flying to reveal a junky-looking vehicle underneath ]

      Spokesman: Introducing the Chameleon XLE for 1993. Finally, a luxury car that doesn't look like a luxury car.

      Inside, the Chameloen XLE has everything you would expect in a luxury sedan of its class. Soft leather seating, a contoured instrument panel, and fine wood. But there's more - much more.

      Authentically distressed fenders give way to a partially padded roof of blistered vinyl. While under the hood, a simulated transmission-fluid drip whispers, "Hey, not worth the trouble." This is craftsmanship no one will steal. GThis is engineering for the inner-city driving experience.

      [ Spokesman places marble at the top of hood, which rolls forward into a hole at the bottom of the hood ]

      Spokesman: Every inch of the Chameleon XLE is a pinnacle of urban design.

      There's attention to detail. Like three mismatched wheel covers, and one exposed rim in school-bus yellow. Standard.

      A broken taillight repaired with duct tape. Standard.

      Retractable antenna. Standard.

      The body of a Pontiac with a driver's-side door from an Oldsmobile Delta '88. All standard.

      A car thief takes one look at this, and keeps right on walking. Of course, it's equipped with an automatic alarm system - but do you really think you'll need it?

      [ Spokesman turns on alarm, which renders the car even more useless ]

      Spokesman: The Chameleon XLE. They might tow it away, but they'll never steal it.

    • in the subject box! fucking seriously!

      • by NEDHead (1651195)

        Why? Are you incapable of following a thought from one line to another? And what exactly were you trying to convey when you used 'fucking' as a modifier for 'seriously'? Could you not actually think of the precise word to express your thought?

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Because it's the SUBJECT box, not the COMMENT box. You put the SUBJECT in it, not your COMMENT .

          In regards to my use of fucking: It's not a "modifier," it's a fucking adjective - and in this usage it is well known to indicate amplified emotion (usually negative).

          English: do you understand it?

          • by NEDHead (1651195)

            Actually, I believe that in this use the word 'seriously' is actually an adverb, as it is implied that it refers to an action (verb, in case you have forgotten), and since 'fucking' is used to modify (hence 'modifier') 'seriously', then it too would be an adverb, as generally any modifier of either a verb, adverb, or adjective is called an adverb.

            Hopefully by the time you complete your GED you will have the opportunity to study English grammar.

  • thermodynamics (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by dumuzi (1497471)
    Until our electricity comes from renewable sources hydrogen power is worse than fossil fuels. Not to mention the energy wasted in the production of their LEDs and making of the commercial to market a wasteful and impractical product.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Run some leads from a solar panel to a glass of water instint hydrogen. Not to mention the only emissions from a fuel cell are pure water. Id say a engine that spits out nothing but pure water which just so happens to be easy cheep clean source of its own fuel is about as green as you get.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Umm... except that electricity does partially come from renewable sources, just not all of it. As opposed to conventional IC engines, which run off of 100% non-renewable dino-waste.

      • by skids (119237)

        Except for the part that runs on biofuels.

        Not that I think the ICE is a particularly forward thinking tech, but...

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:13AM (#39271391)

      Until our electricity comes from renewable sources hydrogen power is worse than fossil fuels.

      I don't think it is quite that simple. Hydrogen moves the pollution from many mobile sources, cars, to a very small number of non-mobile sources, power generation stations. With all pollution coming from these stations there is the opportunity for remediation, capturing the pollution to prevent its entry into the environment. Doing so is expensive and technically challenging but plausible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LordLucless (582312)

        I don't think it is quite that simple. Hydrogen moves the pollution from many mobile sources, cars, to a very small number of non-mobile sources, power generation stations.

        You know what also does that? Electric cars. And without the extra, extremely inefficient electrolysis step.
        Electric: Dinosaurs -> Electricity -> Vroom
        Fuel Cell: Dinosaurs -> Electricity -> Hydrogen -> Vroom
        Not to mention that either you need to solve for long-term storage and transportation of hydrogen (if you produce it centrally) or produce it in-situ, and lose out on a good chunk of the efficiencies of centralisation you hope to gain.

        Fuel cells (and the "hydrogen economy" in general) are

        • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:24AM (#39271915)

          I don't think it is quite that simple. Hydrogen moves the pollution from many mobile sources, cars, to a very small number of non-mobile sources, power generation stations.

          You know what also does that? Electric cars. And without the extra, extremely inefficient electrolysis step.

          Again, it is not that simple. You forgot about the batteries. Import lithium from distant lands, manufacture batteries, use batteries, recycle/dispose of batteries in the proper manner, by expensive new batteries, ...
          Now ad downtime for charging.

          All electric is not a panacea. It has its own set of issues and requires some technical advances.

          Hydrogen has an advantage in that it reuses existing internal combustion technology. Minor modifications plus greater power output. Its issues are more infrastructure related. Of course all electric will need new infrastructure as well, chargers in parking lots, etc

          • by amck (34780)

            Power generator to drive chain, an electric car converts 69% of the energy to motion.
            Hydrogen: just over 30%, the last time I looked.

            When you're running short of (easy) energy, electric wins hands down. Secondly, there is a lot of competition out there on electricity-generating methods: coal, oil, wind, nuclear, solar ... just about everybody is getting into the Electricity business.
            Hydrogen, OTOH, has the advantage that it looks like oil, if you're in the oil business: swap petrol for hydrogen gas, you sti

            • by perpenso (1613749)

              Power generator to drive chain, an electric car converts 69% of the energy to motion. Hydrogen: just over 30%, the last time I looked.

              Apologies for not being clear. I was comparing Hydrogen to Gasoline, only minor modifications to the internal combustion engine are needed and there is a 20%'ish improvement in power output.

              Reusing internal combustion technology is irrelevant in this bigger picture.

              You phrased that incorrectly. All electric is the long term. But there may be decades before such solutions are practical. In the short term the internal combustion engine using hydrogen, natural gas, etc is a practical solution to get us through the decades of R&D that are ahead of us.

              Betting it all on electric e

        • by cmdr_tofu (826352)

          My vision is Renewable->Electricity+Water->Hydrogen->Hydrogen blimp fuel Transportation network->Electricity and Vroom!

          Coal power is awful, but there is no reason we couldn't use the existing petroleum style of distribution to move hydrogen (although blimps are more fun than Exxon Valdez!)

          • but there is no reason we couldn't use the existing petroleum style of distribution to move hydrogen

            Yes, yes there is. Petroleum is a liquid at normal temperature and pressure; hydrogen's a gas, and a particularly pernicious one to store and transport. I just don't know why you want to whack an extra step in there, with all the inefficiencies that adds, just so you can use your car to turn chemical energy into motion, instead of turning electrical energy into motion.

      • by cmdr_tofu (826352)

        Even better hydrogen generation can be done where there is vast quantity of renewable resources. I'm not an energy expert, but in my imagination I see use harnessing energy from wave currents and using it to generate hydrogen, fill blimps and ship hydrogen to places that need power. And also there are a lot of islands that are geothermal hotspots with access to lots of volcanic energy and ocean water.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Hydrogen moves the pollution from many mobile sources, cars, to a very small number of non-mobile sources, power generation stations.

        In theory you're right. Unfortunately most of our hydrogen is made from natural gas using an energy-intensive process and what's more, we don't even halt this process during the day and just run it on wasted base load at night, it's just a steady industrial consumer like anything else. If we were using squandered load from power stations to make hydrogen at night we'd get it essentially for free, aside from occasionally making some new carbon electrodes. To make them last as long as possible you want to dis

        • Right, because all those care idling during rush hour (95% of a lot of car's use) sure are being efficient. Not to mention that gasoline engines are around 20% efficient in NEW cars. Then remember that electric cars, no matter what their source is DO NOT IDLE.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Then remember that electric cars, no matter what their source is DO NOT IDLE.

            Then remember that we're talking about hydrogen, not necessarily EVs. And even if they are hydrogen EVs, fuel cells have all kinds of their own problems. They have an optimal temperature which is high, for example, and which must be maintained. They are energy-intensive to produce, much as batteries are. Hydrogen fueling infrastructure doesn't exist, just as EV charging infrastructure doesn't exist. And so on.

            New cars may have gasoline engines over 35% efficient, if they are small and direct-injected.

            Electr

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            sorry for double-reply but I realized another reason your comment is really stupid. Modern Direct-injected gasoline engines can hold compression and start without the starter because they have full injection control and they know where the crank is.

      • by izomiac (815208)
        Living in a city causes a fair bit of damage to one's lungs due to the urban air pollution. I'd love if vehicle exhaust was merely water vapor. Also, I expect a single large, stationary powerplant can have far better pollution controls than thousands of relatively inexpensive and mobile vehicles. Furthermore, a powerplant can be located where its pollution will have the least impact on humans and the natural environment.
  • Officer: So, what caused you to get into an accident?
    Driver: Well, you see there was this invisible car...

  • not perfect, but cool

  • by TheInternetGuy (2006682) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:34PM (#39271135)
    If I had one I would hack it to make it look like a running Alien.
    • I'd hack it to make my old Japanese sport compact look like an expensive supercar. Hello ladies! :D

      Specifically I'd make it look like one of those stripped-out track-oriented supercars so that the basic interior and authentic track car smell of burnt rubber, petrochemicals and sweat doesn't seem out of place.

  • Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subreality (157447) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:37PM (#39271151)

    A proper cloaking device isn't just a flat image of the surroundings; it would need to be holographic so it would look right from any angle.

    I would call this "adaptive camouflage", and it's doing a damned good job at that.

  • Who made the hydrogen for the fuel cell? Underpants gnomes?

  • Just what I want - a Merc that people can't see in the parking lot.

    OTOH, I guess scratches wouldn't matter so much on an invisible car.

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:22AM (#39271451)
    I'd like to see that claim explained please. Is it powered by cold fusion?
    • They mean zero emissions from the car itself, which is correct in the same sense that a Tesla Roadster running from a Chinese coal power plant is zero emissions.

      The closest you can actually get to zero emissions overall is an electric car charged by renewable or nuclear power.

      • by swb (14022)

        And even with that, you leave out the emissions created when the nuke plant was built and its fuel mined, refined and shipped on site.

        For 'renewable' sources, you have to deal with the emissions associated with producing that equipment.

        Operationally, they may be zero emissions but they can't be created in a zero emissions way.

  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:28AM (#39271521) Homepage
    Ok, yeah, that's cool, but what you really need is an airship covered with light emitting diodes across one side because then you could have...

    ...wait for it...

    ...a LED Zeppelin!
  • I've wanted to do this since I was a kid! Awesome! Sometimes it takes someone with a big budget and reason to waste it to do something cool like this. Can I buy one of these, but hold the car?

  • this thing is zero emissions. it doesn't bleed. we can't kill it.

    and this year it grows hot...

  • While this is a cool gag, didn't they get the memo that hydrogen is inefficient compared to batteries and that methane is much easier/cheaper to work with if you really want to run fuel cells?
    It probably took them a couple of years to get hydrogen to work, at least in a small car. I guess we'll hear as much about it as of the hydrogen BWM 7-series.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      There seems to have been some breakthrough regarding hydrogen tanks recently. BMW had stopped their development, but they've restarted it, too.

      Sorry, I don't have a cite but I'm in automotive and got this through the grapevine. Could be because of this research [physorg.com].

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:06AM (#39272123)

    1) Attach one tablet to your stomach and one to your back.
    2) Open up a camera chat between them.
    3) Put on a T-shirt with one bloody hole on the front, and one on the back, directly over the tablets.
    4) It looks like someone shot a hole through you!
    5) No profit, but plenty of laughs.

  • How is it able to capture or reflect the people looking at the car if the cameras are mounted on the other side (the uncovered side)? I wasn't really able to see much (probably intentionally shown as a glance) of the rig, but I think I saw a girl pass by behind the gear.

  • 1. Cover Yaris with LEDs.
    2. Project image of Maserati on LEDs.
    3. Pick up chicks.
  • Cpt. Picard: "This is Captain Picard of the U.S.S. Minivan. Stardate 1231.4. Our voyage to the Walmart parking lot has thus far been uneventful. According to our orders, we are to rendevouz with Federation shoppers at--"

    [Explosion. Ships rocks violently.]

    Cmdr Riker: "Romulan Beemah decloaking off the starboard bow! ALL HANDS BATTLE STATIONS! [matthewbarr.co.uk]"

  • Using something like Hitfilm Ultimate.

    Seriously, I don't believe this is real.

  • Who knew Germans could smile so much? They seem almost like real people.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

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