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Transportation Technology

1967 Gyro-X Car To Be Restored 140

Zothecula writes "Back in 1967, California-based Gyro Transport Systems built a prototype vehicle known as the Gyro-X. The automobile had just two wheels, one in front and one in the back and, as the car's name implies, it utilized a built-in gyroscope to remain upright when not moving. Although its developers hoped to take the Gyro-X into production, the company went bankrupt, and the one-and-only specimen of the car became an orphan. For much of the past 40-plus years, that car has passed from owner to owner, its condition deteriorating along the way. Now, it's about to be restored to its former (weird) glory."
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1967 Gyro-X Car To Be Restored

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  • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:26PM (#43026119) Journal
    Lit Motors [] has developed an enclosed motorcycle that uses an active gyro assembly under the driver to keep the thing upright when at a standstill and during sudden accelerations (i.e., during an accident). The gyro mechanism can also be used to assist in cornering.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:44PM (#43026293) Homepage Journal

    RTFA -- better stability and better mileage. TFA says there are two gyrocars headed for production now, and gyrocars have been built since at least 1914. My grandpa was twenty then, the Cubs won the world series two years earlier, the airplane was only 11 years old.

    TFA says financing is what killed all the gyrocars.

  • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @03:05PM (#43027023)

    If you want to think like an engineer, stop thinking about energy.

    Don't know about the GP, but I am an engineer and what I am thinking is that your post is a load of tosh.

  • by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @03:06PM (#43027037)

    It's been a couple of decades since I took flying lessons, but here goes: Engines tend to die at the worst possible moments, when they are under the most stress. This is during the takeoff phase, when you are still relatively close to the ground. In a twin-engine plane, when one of the engines dies, it has two effects - one is that the plane suddenly has both a terrific off-center thrust and an increase of drag from the stopped propeller, causing yaw (rotation on the vertical axis), and the other is that the loss of the balancing effect of counter-rotating engines and the yaw-induced loss of lift on the slower wing drastically increases the tendency to roll (rotation on the line-of-flight axis). All in all, the loss of performance is much more than just the loss of thrust.

    So when one engine dies, the pilot has a couple of seconds to do the right thing, or else the plane suddenly flips and dives sidewise (like those videos of fighter planes peeling off for a run at the enemy ship) the 300-1000 feet to the ground - too enough altitude to recover. The 'right thing' is pretty complicated according to this []. Some of it is counter-intuitive (so should be practiced during training). If you're fast, and lucky, you'll be able to go around and land.

  • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @04:16PM (#43027711)

    made sense. Could you explain where the original poster made his/her mistake?

    They said :

    If you want to think like an engineer, stop thinking about energy. Think about power. Measure everything in power.

    Power is the rate of transfer of energy. Think about one and you need to think about the other. Like income is a rate of transfer of wealth (to use a finance analogy as the GP did).

    With a vehicle going along, power (measured in Watts - or horsepower in old units) is the main interest - because it determines the rate (ie speed) at which it can push through the air (and other) resistance and climb hills. In doing this it is drawing energy (measured in Joules) from its store which could be in fuel, in a flywheel, a battery, or (hybrid) combinations of these. The vehicle draws energy from this store at some rate expressible in Joules per second, which is Watts. Multiply this rate by some efficiency percentage (like 30% with an internal combustion engine), and that is the power getting to the wheels. The total energy in the store is of interest in determining the range of the vehicle

    However, from the safety angle any energy store is a potential bomb or fireball, and you need to think about what will happen to it in a crash. In conventional cars the fuel tank is fairly well protected from impact; once broken it tends to catch fire. Designing a car with a flywheel would also need to consider a crash - for instance if it escaped from its casing it would shoot off like a random cannon ball. The potential damage of either fuel or a loose flywheel would be measurable by their energy content at the time. This was the point raised by the GGP.

    The GP's analogy of a flywheel as a "connected mesh of weights" is a strange one and irrelevant to the point.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire