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The Mercury Cars Guide : May 1st 2010
12--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, May 1, 2010 GM robot off to space HUMANOID: Robonaut 2 is made from similar components to the Holden Commodore. It will venture into space in September. AROBOT with the same core DNA as a Holden Commodore is heading into space. Robonaut 2 is part of the same General Motors family as the Australian showroom favourite, but only a very distant relative, as well as the newest hero for a company clawing its way back from bankruptcy in the USA. It has been developed in partner- ship with NASA and its humanoid design means it will work in much the same way as people on the International Space Station. The only difference is that Robo- naut 2 has no real body just a 'chest' as a powerpack, with a 'head' for computer controls and 'arms' and 'hands' to use a range of space tools. The new GM robot is the latest humanoid worker produced by the car industry, which has used production line robots for more than a generation, but is also investigating the sales potential for machines, which can take over hard work from people. Honda is into the third gener- ation of its Asimo robot family, which looks like a toy but is being developed for home help and as a nursing assistant in hospitals, while Toyota even developed a robot marching band with one machine which can play a trumpet during its work in the field. Robonaut 2 will blast into space in September as a passenger on the Discovery shuttle before becoming a permanent resident on the space station. ''The use of R2 on the space station is just the beginning of a quickening pace between human and robotic exploration of space,'' said NASA director of Exploration Systems Integration Office John Olson. ''The partnership of humans and robots will be critical to opening up the solar system and will allow us to go farther and achieve more than we can imagine today.' No information has been given on how much Robonaut 2 cost. PAUL GOVER Collector snags GT A COLLECTOR has paid $113,000 for a rare 1971 XY GT Falcon auctioned for charity last week by Sotheby s. They got a really good car for the money, according to Sotheby s national head of collector cars, James Nicholls. The GT was one of three halo vehicles sold by the auction house in Melbourne. Bidding was spirited for the other two vehicles --- racing driver John Goss s original 1975 Ford Falcon XB GT coupe racecar and former F1 world champion Alan Jones s Williams F1 car. Several keen buyers pushed bidding for the Goss car into the high $500,000, but it failed to meet the reserve. The Williams was sold to a Melbourne man for more than $500,000. Nicholls says the buyer plans to use the car in historic races. Although the auction was well attended, the results overall were disappointing, Nicholls says. There was still an air of caution in the room, he says. NEIL McDONALD New VF well worth the wait I AM looking at updating my car to a new Commodore. However, I am waiting for the updated model, which I heard is coming out later this year. I m sure I read about this in CarsGuide earlier in the year. Can you please let me know if the updated model is still due later this year? I believe I would be wise in waiting for the updated model instead of buying a current model Commodore. Would you agree with me? Nazim Erdem email The VF Commodore --- if that is the name GM Holden goes with --- should be around in September or a little later. It will have the first cosmetic changes since the switch to the all- new VE design, which means it will be a significant departure and worth the wait. Driven crazy in China I WAS reading about motoring in China in the CarsGuide and was in Ningbo, China last weekend for business, and have just come home from Hong Kong after a week at the electronics show. Do you drive in China or do you get one of the many Formula One taxi drivers, or even one of the local Formula One racers? The Chinese drivers scare the pants off me every time I go to China. I was amazed again this year on a three-lane road where there were five lanes of cars, even a lane on the footpath at some times. The horn is a favourite of all drivers, and I can never work out what rules there are, if any, when it comes to a roundabout. Look forward to hearing your reports. Steve Santamaria email We have yet to drive on public roads in China but it looks like an interesting challenge. The first rule seems to be there are no rules, with fast cars all taking to the breakdown lane to overtake trucks and other slow moving vehicles. There are surprisingly few crashes and that probably comes down, like Italy, to drivers who respect each other and use a toot on the horn to warn when they are up to something. A choice between two UNFORTUNATELY I was one of those whose car has been written-off from the hail storm in Melbourne. My car that was damaged was a Nissan Pulsar Hatch Q 2002, my very first car that I loved very much and took great care in. I am now back in the market looking for a new car and I have narrowed it down from five to two that I really like --- the Nissan Dualis and the Toyota Camry 2010 Touring Special Edition. I would really like your comments/ feedback as it would mean a lot to me. Nicole Harris email The Dualis and Camry are very, very different. The Camry is good value, has lots of space and the Toyota ownership package includes fixed- service prices through warranty time. The only reason to go for the Dualis is if you need the flexibility of a hatchback body, as it is more like a small wagon and the Camry is a sedan. To Beem or not to Beem I CURRENTLY drive a BMW E46 325ci that I am very happy with, but I would like to upgrade to another BMW. I have a couple of models I am looking at and would like to have your opinion on them --- one is a brand-new 135i manual and the other is an E46 M3. The 135i goes for around $80,000 and the secondhand M3 for around $70,000. Which is the better car and which is the better buy? Nick Regitsas We would go for the 135i, because it is new, you can get exactly what you want, it s performance is more accessible for more of the time, and it will be cheaper to insure and run. The M3 has the name and fame, but only if you re game.
April 24th 2010
May 8th 2010