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2017 imported vehicle sales in Japan highest in 20 years

The Japan Times

Sales of new imported vehicles in Japan grew 2.1 percent in 2017 from the previous year to the highest figure in two decades, with relatively expensive cars gaining popularity amid the country's recovering economy, an industry body said Thursday.

U.S. Troops Injured in Syria After Collision With Russian Vehicles

NYT > Middle East

A small number of U.S. troops were injured this week during a skirmish with Russian forces in northeastern Syria, American officials said on Wednesday, underscoring the risk of simmering tensions between the two rival powers in a hotly contested part of the country. Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational details, said the injuries were a result of a collision between Russian and American vehicles, and not any exchange of fire. The officials said four troops were showing mild concussion-like symptoms and were receiving medical attention at their base in Syria. Videos of the encounter that emerged on Twitter on Wednesday appeared to show Russian and Americans vehicles speeding in an open field, with a Russian vehicle ramming an American vehicle, and a Russian helicopter flying low over U.S. forces. The altercation, which happened on Tuesday, is the latest clash between Russian and American ground patrols in northeastern Syria after the United States withdrew from much of that area before a Turkish cross-border offensive last fall.

Toyota to Start Deploying Vehicle-To-Vehicle Tech in 2021

U.S. News

Toyota says it will start equipping models with technology to talk to other vehicles starting in 2021, as it tries to push safety communications forward. The company says most of its U.S. models should have the feature by the mid-2020s.

SpaceX flew a prototype of its Starship vehicle for the first time

MIT Technology Review

Called SN5, and with just one of the company's powerful Raptor engines, this vehicle is a long way from the version SpaceX is hoping to build down the road. In its final form, Starship is expected to be about 400 feet tall and 30 feet wide, able to take more than 100 tons worth of cargo and passengers to deep space destinations like the moon and Mars. When it flies, it will do so with six of the same engines, on top of a giant rocket booster called Super Heavy. Better late than never: Four previous iterations of the Starship prototype were destroyed during failed ground testing. This is the first time SpaceX has managed to get a prototype to survive engine fires, let alone get off the ground.

Amazon's Rivian electric vehicles start making deliveries in LA


After buying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, Amazon has started testing them on delivery routes in Los Angeles. The aim is to confirm the performance, safety and durability of the vans before they start to roll out to as many as 16 cities in 2021. Amazon partnered with Rivian on the vehicles, using its customizable "skateboard" frame construction to create a "first-of-its-kind all-electric delivery vehicle," according to Amazon. "From what we've seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we're incredibly proud of that," said Amazon global fleet and product director Ross Rachey. The electric van (which needs a name tbh) has a clean, cutesy design thanks to the smooth angles and round, low-mounted headlights.