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The 7 most exciting innovations I saw on Faraday Future’s FF 91

To say Faraday Future has gotten off to a rocky start over the past couple of years may be the understatement of the year, and it’s only January. The company debuted its FFZERO1 concept supercar amid a whirlwind of buzz at CES 2016, but the press quickly dismissed the car as vapor. A year full of turmoil with Faraday’s main financier, lawsuits filed by vendors alleging millions in unpaid bills, and numerous top-level executive departures cast further doubt on the company’s future. But on Tuesday night, Faraday Future unveiled its first actual production car, which it says will enter production sometime next year.

Ahead of CES 2017, I spent a full day touring Faraday’s Gardena, California headquarters. I saw where the car is being designed and developed, I checked out prototypes of the futuristic electric car, and I even had my head pinned back when I went for a ride in an early prototype. I already shared my overall impressions and some initial thoughts about the FF 91 last night, and now I’ll focus on a few key areas where Faraday Future is truly innovating.

Variable Platform Architecture

Innovation begins to appear at the very core of the FF 91, where Faraday Future’s Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) redefines the way a car is built. Consisting of a modular wheelbase, modular battery infrastructure, and modular motor configurations, VPA technology essentially provides bones and guts that can be manipulated quickly to as new vehicles are designed. Tech like this will drastically reduce time to market for new vehicles.

Here’s a video that shows a bit more about how VPA works:

Truly keyless

Keyless entry and keyless go technology started on premium cars, and the tech has now trickled down to all automobile ranges. At best, this means carrying a key in your pocket or purse, but never having to actually use it thanks to special contact points on the door handles that lock and unlock the doors, and to push-button ignitions. But what if you didn’t need any key at all?

Exterior and interior cameras on the FF 91 recognize drivers and passengers as they approach the vehicle, and Bluetooth connects to iPhones and Android phones. Motorized suicide doors then open and close with the touch of a button, and the electric motors fire up with the push of another button.

But the best part about Faraday’s system is that it’s tied to a profile. This means that whether you’re stepping into the cockpit of your own FF 91 or you’re sliding into the back of someone else’s FF 91, all of your settings and preferences will automatically be adjusted by the vehicle.


Faraday Future does not yet have a finished FF 91. While the company’s claim that the vehicle will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.39 seconds, there is currently no way to confirm that with a production-weight car. But having seen the company’s work in its current state, and having ridden in a prototype and had my head pinned back by its acceleration, I can safely say that Faraday is well on its way to producing one of the most powerful and agile production cars I have ever seen.

Three electric motors combine to produce 1,050 hp, and the heavy battery packs give the FF 91 a very low center of gravity. Even the early model I rode in hugged the road impressively as the driver jerked the wheel from side to side. The rear wheels also have a few degrees of left and right movement, dramatically reducing the FF 91’s turning radius despite its long 126-inch wheelbase.

Aerodynamics also play a huge role in performance and efficiency, of course. Angus Lock, Faraday’s head of aero, joined the company from Tesla, where he worked on the aerodynamics of the Roadster and the Model S.



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Exterior vehicle lighting has changed a great deal over the past two decades thanks to a trend started by BMW’s “angel eyes.” Now, just about every car on the road has some crazy-looking DRL setup. The FF 91 takes exterior lighting to an entirely new place, with “FF” pattern LED lighting on all sides of the car.

What’s most interesting about Faraday’s solution though, is that it actually serves a purpose beyond looking cool. Just as brake lights communicate a message to drivers behind a car, the FF 91’s lighting glows and pulses to communicate messages to people around the vehicle. For example, the lights on the front and along the sides of the car will pulse white when the vehicle is driving itself in autonomous mode.

Valet mode

Speaking of autonomous mode, the FF 91 will be fully equipped to embrace the future of self-driving vehicles when we finally arrive at a point where regulation is in place and systems are smart enough to drive without human assistance. In the meantime, Faraday Future’s cars will already have some very nifty self-driving modes that owners will undoubtedly appreciate. Among them, valet mode is by far my favorite.

With valet mode enabled, and in a lot that Faraday’s system has mapped, an FF 91 driver can step out of his car at the front door of a building. The car will then slowly make its way around the parking lot on its own, scanning for open spots and reading signage as well as painted markers in order to avoid parking in restricted spaces. When it finds an open spot, it will park itself and power down.

Of course, when the visit is through the driver can recall the FF 91 using his or her smartphone, and it will be waiting at the front door as he or she exits the building.


Faraday Future has been cautious in showing off the FF 91’s interior since it’s not yet finalized, but what I’ve seen so far is impressive. Dozens of screens of all shapes and sizes replace traditional instrument panels and controls. We’re not talking about a single great big touchscreen on the console like you’ve seen in Teslas — there are literally screens everywhere. Screens in the front, screens in the back, screens in the door panels, screens in the pillars. There’s even a giant screen that folds down from the roof to entertain rear passengers.

Beyond the screens, interior cameras offer security and facial recognition to automatically adjust settings. Which settings? Quad-zone climate control, heating and cooling seats, seat massage settings, recline angle of the rear zero gravity seats, just to name a few.

Faraday has more announcements planned in the coming months, and the interior of the car is one area where you should definitely keep an eye peeled.


Innovation continues on the exterior of the car, where sleek aerodynamics are only the beginning.

The FF 91 is the first car ever to feature a fully retractable 3D lidar solution found on the hood near the windshield. The car also features 10 high-definition cameras, 13 long- and short-range radar sensors, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. All of this tech combines to form one of the most sophisticated and self-aware vehicles that has ever been built.

Other exterior innovations include the lighting, of course, as well as dual roof-mounted antennas that also broadcast Wi-Fi to connect passengers’ mobile devices, Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal self-dimming glass in the rear windows and panoramic roof, and active wheels that feature a motorized inner disc that rotates to close off open spaces and further improve aerodynamics at high speeds.

Trump’s North Korea red line could come back to haunt him

WASHINGTON In three words of a tweet this week, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed North Korea would never test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“It won’t happen!” Trump wrote after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Sunday his nuclear-capable country was close to testing an ICBM of a kind that could someday hit the United States.

Preventing such a test is far easier said than done, and Trump gave no indication of how he might roll back North Korea’s weapons programs after he takes office on Jan. 20, something successive U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have failed to do.

Former U.S. officials and other experts said the United States essentially had two options when it came to trying to curb North Korea’s fast-expanding nuclear and missile programs – negotiate or take military action.

Neither path offers certain success and the military option is fraught with huge dangers, especially for Japan and South Korea, U.S. allies in close proximity to North Korea.

The Republican president-elect complained in a separate tweet that China, North Korea’s neighbor and only ally, was not helping to contain Pyongyang – despite China’s support for successive rounds of U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

While many critics, including within President Barack Obama’s administration, agreed China could press North Korea harder, the State Department said it did not agree with Trump’s assessment that China was not helping.

Experts said Trump’s tough stance toward Beijing on issues from trade to Taiwan could prove counterproductive in securing greater Chinese cooperation.

James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, said that with his North Korea tweet, Trump had drawn a red line he could later be judged by, like Obama’s 2012 warning to Syria over the use of chemical weapons.

“This was a foolhardy tweet for Trump to send given the enormous challenges of constraining North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. I think this could be something that comes back to haunt him.”


U.S. officials, who did not want to be identified, said that if ordered, the U.S. military had three options to respond to a North Korean missile test – a pre-emptive strike before it is launched, intercepting the missile in flight, or allowing a launch to take place unhindered.

One official, who did not wish to be named, said there were risks with pre-emptive action, including the possibility of striking the wrong target – or North Korean retaliation against regional allies.

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis questioned whether U.S. missile defenses could shoot down a test missile, absent a lucky shot, and said destroying North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs would be a huge and risky undertaking.

Lewis, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, said it would require “a large military campaign … over a fairly substantial period of time.”

He noted that North Korea’s main nuclear and missile test sites were on different sides of the country and factories that supplied them were scattered over several provinces.

“There’s a warren of tunnels under the nuclear site. And an ICBM can be launched from anywhere in the country because it’s mobile. You might as well invade the country,” Lewis said.

Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, writing on, said he hoped Trump’s administration would impose “secondary sanctions” on firms and entities that help North Korea’s weapons programs, many of which were in China.


While Trump has not detailed his policy approach to North Korea, an adviser to his transition team told Reuters he believed “a period of serious sanctions” had “to be a major part of any discussion on the options available here.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday the United States had not ruled out additional sanctions, but added: “Let’s not get ahead of where we are.”

Victor Cha, who was an aide to former Republican President George W. Bush, said he believed Trump was serious about not letting North Korea have nuclear-capable ICBMs that could threaten the U.S. mainland.

“How to stop this is of course difficult. It’s a combination of diplomacy (to get a freeze), sanctions (Chinese ones and Treasury), moving more military assets to the region for extended deterrence, strike options, and integrated missile defense. That’s what would be on my menu,” he said.

Frank Jannuzi, a former State Department official who heads the Mansfield Foundation Asia dialogue forum, said Trump’s vow could prove as hollow as Obama’s pledge not to tolerate North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“I worry … that it only emboldens the North, because they see it for what it is: empty talk,” he said. “It lays down a red line. … We don’t seem prepared to back up.”

He said North Korea had long defied U.S. and U.N. sanctions to pursue its nuclear and missile programs, and added: “One hundred and forty characters from Donald Trump aren’t going to change that.”

(Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Indian police investigate New Year sex attacks


There is “credible” evidence that gangs of men sexually assaulted women at a New Year’s Eve celebration in Bangalore, Indian police said Wednesday, adding they have filed a criminal case over the incident.

Praveen Sood, the police commissioner of Bangalore city, said an inquiry had been set up into allegations women attending the Saturday night celebrations were chased, groped, molested and robbed.

The announcement followed a public outcry over comments by a local minister blaming the attacks in the southern city — an IT hub considered relatively safe for women — on “western dress”.

Indian police have set up an inquiry into allegations that women in Bangalore were molested after viewing footage from CCTV cameras

Indian police have set up an inquiry into allegations that women in Bangalore were molested after viewing footage from CCTV cameras ©STR (AFP/File)

“We did not waste any time,” Sood told reporters, saying police had registered a criminal case without waiting for a complainant.

“The police teams are working, we are sure we will catch the culprits.”

Additional police commissioner Hemant Nimbalkar told AFP the case had been filed against unnamed persons for sexual harassment, illegal confinement and forcefully attempting to disrobe.

Police officers have been sifting through footage from at least 45 CCTV cameras installed in the city centre where hundreds of revellers had gathered to celebrate the new year.

India has been shamed in the past by shocking levels of sexual assault against women, notably in December 2012 when a student was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi and later died of her injuries.

Indians took to social media to condemn the latest incident, dubbed “night of horror”.

” only shows how casual it is to molest women” tweeted Falguni Vasavada-Oza.

“How easy it is to grope! How vulnerable is safety! How deep is (d) hierarchy.”

Video footage circulated on social media showed women screaming for help.

The attacks in Bangalore have drawn comparison with last year’s mass sexual assaults at New Year’s celebrations in the German city of Cologne, where police were also accused of losing control.

Turkey extends emergency rule to maintain purge of Gulen supporters: deput…

ANKARA Turkey’s parliament voted overnight to extend emergency rule by three months in a move which the government said was needed to sustain a purge of supporters of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating July’s failed coup, state media said.

Emergency rule, first imposed in Turkey after an attempted putsch on July 15 and then extended in October, enables the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary.

The extension, effective from Jan. 19, comes as Turkey reels from a series of attacks by Islamist or Kurdish militants, most recently on Sunday when a lone gunman shot dead 39 people in an Istanbul nightclub during New Year celebrations.

Ankara accuses Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his supporters, whom it terms the Gulenist Terror Organisation (FETO), of being behind the July coup attempt. Gulen denies the allegations.

“The purge of FETO from the state has not been completed. We need the implementation of emergency rule until FETO and all terror groups have been purged from the state,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in parliament ahead of the vote.

More than 41,000 people have been jailed pending trial in connection with the attempted coup out of 100,000 who have faced investigation. Some 120,000 people, including soldiers, police officers, teachers, judges and journalists, have been suspended or dismissed since the coup, although thousands of them have since been restored to their posts.

(Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall)