When you envision the Army testing autonomous vehicles, you probably picture an M1 Abrams tank or a Humvee barreling across the landscape without a human driver. While these are no doubt goals Army engineers would one day like to achieve, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina they’re starting a little smaller.
Last month, the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center began testing their driverless vehicle technology on modified versions of Cushman Shuttle golf carts. This marks the first of three phases in a testing program that’s slated to last for about 18 months. Rather than driving on public roads, these golf carts will be deployed at low speeds on short journeys around Fort Bragg.
Their mission? Transporting combat-wounded soldiers from their barracks to the Womack Army Medical Center.
The project is designed to accomplish two important goals at once. First, it will allow the Army to field test their autonomous vehicle equipment on the largely unmarked roads and pathways around Fort Bragg. Second, it will help to ensure that soldiers don’t miss their doctor’s appointments. This has been an issue recently due to heavy traffic and parking limitations.
“Some of these appointments can cost $5,000,” said Edward Straub, program manager for the Army’s Applied Robotics for Installations and Base Operations in an interview with Automotive News. “So, if the soldier is not showing up, that’s a huge cost. We surmised that by providing soldiers a stable, reliable personalized transportation option, we could reduce that number of missed appointments.”
Soldiers will be able to schedule rides on the golf carts in advance. Once the carts arrive, they will shuttle soldiers to and from their doctor’s appointments via a network of dual-use sidewalks, roadways and parking lots. In the first phase of testing the golf carts will have a human driver behind the wheel, but eventually they will be entirely autonomous. Who would’ve thought that golf carts could pave the way for a future with driverless tanks?
Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for everything you need to customize your golf cart – J & B Motor Sales.
Bubba Watson, the number 5 rated golfer in the world, is already well known for his eccentric taste in golf carts. A few years back, Watson made headlines when he teamed up with Oakley and Neoteric Hovercraft to create a 65 horsepower hovercraft golf cart. Now, he’s taken his taste for exotic golf carts to new heights by collaborating with Martin Aircraft to design and build the BW-Air jetpack cart.
Powered by a robust 200 horsepower engine and twin ducted fans, the jetpack is capable of reaching a 3,000 foot ceiling and traveling at nearly 50 mph. Granted, you’ll probably never have to fly this high during a round of golf, but the BW-Air’s flight capabilities could offer golfers a distinct advantage on the links. Being able to get a bird’s-eye-view of the course could help golfers to analyze the lay of the land and take better shots. Of course, being able to fly over trees and water hazards is pretty handy as well.
Watson and his team developed the jetpack to coincide with golf’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016. Chances are, the BW-Air won’t be welcome on most golf courses, but it sure would be a cool vehicle to have for weekend jaunts around the neighborhood.
Here at J&B Motor Sales, we might not have jetpacks, but we do have all the parts and accessories you need to customize your golf cart for your unique needs. Whether you’re kicking around the golf course or hauling tools for your next landscaping project, you can find all sorts of useful upgrades on our online store. Take a look around, or give us a call today to learn more!
You can also see Bubba Watson’s jetpack cart in action in the video below!
Useful Utility Accessories to Add to Your Golf Cart
Your golf cart isn’t just a vehicle for kicking around the links. With a few accessories, it can be an all-purpose utility vehicle to use around the house as well. Whether you’re hauling away yard waste or doing a little backyard off-roading, your golf cart can do the job. Today we’ll take a look at a few of our favorite golf cart utility accessories.
If you plan on traversing rough terrain in your golf cart, you should seriously consider installing seatbelts first. Just like the seatbelts in your car, these will keep you safely secured inside the vehicle as you navigate twists, turns and bumps.
A trailer hitch can turn your golf cart into a lightweight towing machine. These accessories are inexpensive, easy to install and incredibly useful. Got an old trailer collecting dust in the garage? Just hitch it to your cart and put it to work!
A lift kit can keep your cart from bottoming out over rocks and steep slopes. While you might not need one of these for driving on the street or a cart path, they’re great for driving off road.
Need some extra storage for carrying tools or debris? A cargo box might be the perfect accessory to add to your golf cart. These can be installed right on the back of your cart like the bed of a pickup truck. With a cargo box and a trailer hitch you might be surprised at just how much you can haul in your golf cart.
These are just a few of the utility accessories we carry at J & B Motor Sales. Browse our entire inventory online today and find the next great addition to your cart.
Hobbyist Auctions off 115 Horsepower EZGO Marathon Golf Cart
We’ve seen our fair share of outlandish golf cart modifications over the years, but none have been quite as perplexing or downright terrifying as this 1986 EZGO Marathon that was sold on EBay last month. The lift kit, metallic orange paint job and 16-inch chrome wheels might make for a pretty eye-catching build, but it’s the motor that’s the defining feature of this ride.
Rather than being powered by a battery pack and electric motor, this cart features a 600cc four cylinder liquid cooled, fuel injected engine from a 2002 Suzuki GSX-R600 sport bike. As you can imagine, all that power strapped onto a golf cart with a short wheel base and a lift kit makes for a pretty interesting driving experience.
In the words of the seller, “This thing is not the most stable vehicle in the world and it will go a lot faster than you will have the nerve to drive it. On the street it gets pretty nervous above about 30mph. I’m pretty stupid and this thing scares the crap out of me.”
Well, you’ve got to give him credit for being honest. The seller actually bought the golf cart after the modifications had already been made. Evidently he’d gotten enough thrills white-knuckling it around his backyard and had decided to pass the charming little death trap on to another potential victim. It sold for just over $3,000.
You can see (and hear) the 115 horsepower cart in action in this demonstration video from the seller’s YouTube Channel.
Universities Begin Using Self-Driving Golf Carts on Campus
It might be a few years before fully-autonomous cars hit the consumer market, but self-driving golf carts are already being put to good use on several American college campuses. Auro Robotics, a three-year-old startup from Sunnyvale, California has begun outfitting golf carts with self-driving rigs and selling them to universities as shuttle bus replacement options. Santa Clara University and California State University Sacrament are two of the first schools to adopt the self-driving golf carts. Eventually, Auro Robotics hopes to see their golf carts in amusement parks, resorts and industrial campuses as well.
The golf carts are remarkably capable, especially considering they’re Auro’s first generation of autonomous vehicles. They can both travel on predetermined routes and respond to on-demand requests from passengers. They travel up to 10 miles per hour and can carry as many as five people at once. The carts use a complex system of cameras, sensors, radar and lasers to generate a three-dimensional map of their surroundings and avoid obstacles.
Because college campuses feature consistent traffic patterns and slow speed limits on roads, they are ideal places to use the self-driving carts. They can also save universities a lot of money in the long run by eliminating the need to purchase gasoline and hire drivers for shuttle buses. Before too long, we’re likely to see more college campuses replacing their aging fleets of shuttle buses with these energy-efficient, self-driving golf carts.
Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for golf cart upgrades and accessories – J & B Motor Sales LLC.
In most places, seeing a golf cart driving on the street would be something of an oddity. Before too long, however, it might be commonplace in many towns in the Buckeye State. Starting in 2017, a new state law will allow drivers to take their golf carts on roads with speed limits of 35 mph and lower.
Of course, Ohio residents won’t just be able to take their golf carts off the course and into town right away. First, they’ll have to pass an inspection to get a title and license plates for their carts. These inspections will ensure that each golf cart is safe and outfitted with a windshield, horn, headlights, tail lights and turn signals.
To address concerns about traffic in different municipalities, communities have until 2017 to pass local ordinances that would further restrict where golf carts can be driven. Once the law is passed, no further local changes can be made.
This is the first time a state-wide law has been passed to allow golf carts on roads, but the idea has been adopted by many smaller communities elsewhere. In some retirement communities, residents use golf carts to gain an added measure of mobility.
Here at J&B Motor Sales, we carry everything you need to get your golf cart ready for the road. From headlights to horns, you can find it here. Browse our entire inventory online today, or give us a call for more information!
As far as motorized vehicles go, golf carts are a pretty safe option. You’re far more likely to be injured in the family minivan than you are in your customized cart. That said, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. There are a number of parts and accessories available to make your golf cart even safer. Today we’ll look at a few of your best safety-conscious accessory options.
Fold Down Windshields
These are especially valuable if you take your golf cart out on the links. Did you know that golf balls can travel at speeds upwards of 200 miles per hour? The last thing you want is for one of these to come flying towards your unprotected golf cart. A fold down windshield allows you to protect your cart from projectiles when you need to, and enjoy the breeze when you don’t.
You have them in your car. Why not install them in your golf cart as well? You can purchase a kit that allows you to retrofit a pair of seatbelts onto your cart seats. They’re relatively inexpensive, and easy enough to install on your own.
If you plan on kicking around the neighborhood in your golf cart, a set of mirrors is absolutely essential. You can purchase both side mirrors and rear-view mirrors. Not only can these keep you safe, they can also keep you in compliance with local traffic laws.
These are another essential item for driving on the street, but they can also just be handy for nighttime driving as well. You can buy individual sets of headlights and taillights, or you can buy a full set as a kit for your cart.
Between its initial cost and the cost of its various modifications, you’ve invested a lot in your golf cart. Chances are, you’ve also become pretty attached to your very own custom cart. Golf cart theft might not seem like a particularly imminent threat, but the last thing you want is to wake up one morning to an empty driveway. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to effectively secure a golf cart when it’s not in use. Today we’ll look at a few of our favorites.
These simple locks consist of a metal box and a sliding rod that prevents would-be thieves from depressing the accelerator in your golf cart. Unless they’re able to carry it off by hand, they won’t be getting very far with one of these locks. Pedal locks are also fairly inexpensive and very easy to use.
Unique Key Switches
When you buy a stock golf cart, every other person who owns that particular model has the same key as you. There are tons of these generic keys floating around, and they make it far too easy for thieves to take off with your golf cart. You can purchase manufacturer-specific replacement key switches that allow you to use a different key instead. These devices are inexpensive, effective and easy to install.
Steering Wheel Clubs
If you’ve ever used a steering wheel club in a car, these devices are very similar. In golf carts, they’re typically designed to lock the steering wheel to the brake pedal so that the wheel can’t be turned. One of these in conjunction with a pedal lock will make your cart virtually theft proof.
Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for custom golf cart accessories – J&B Motor Sales.
If you are like the staff at J & B Motor Sales LLC, the blustery winter weather outside your window can’t keep you thinking about the warm summer months ahead and the chance to get your golf cart out on the green. With a crisp, white blanket of snow covering the ground here in Michigan, we won’t be taking our carts out for a while, so why not turn on the heat in the garage and get yourself in tip-top shape for the spring season?
Get Some Extra Speed
Whether for recreational use or the transporting of materials, a little extra speed can greatly improve your golf cart’s performance. If you noticed your cart was running slower than usual before you put it away for winter, why not install a new battery during the off season? With a fresh battery, a tune up and maybe even an engine rebuild, your cart will be more than ready to go when the snow melts away.
Update Your Appearance
If you are applying a fresh coat of paint to brighten up a cart that has seen a lot of use or are looking into personalizing your cart with decals, windshields and cargo boxes both allow for further customization and can help make for a more comfortable ride. With plenty of room for golf clubs, tools or gardening supplies, you can put your golf cart to use right as the weather warms up. And you won’t have to worry about dirt and debris anymore!
Regardless of what winter project you are working on, J & B Motor Sales LLC has everything you need to prepare your golf cart for the rest of the year. Stay warm and order online or by phone at 810-678-3244.
MIT Researchers Are Developing Driverless Golf Carts
Ask the folks at Google or Tesla, and they’ll tell you that autonomous cars are poised to change the automotive market as we know it. Meanwhile at MIT, a team of researchers has been working on creating a different type of autonomous vehicle – a golf cart.
This September, members of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), convened at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems to describe an experiment in which tourists were transported around a public garden in Singapore in a fleet of driverless golf carts. The researchers felt that using low-speed golf carts in conjunction with the winding, pedestrian-filled paths of the park would make for an ideal testbed for their autonomous vehicle system.
The team also developed an online booking system that allowed people in the park to reserve pickup and drop-off times at designated stations positioned throughout the park. After they were chauffeured around the park by the robotic golf carts, participants in the study were asked to complete a brief questionnaire to gauge their experiences. The response was overwhelming positive. According to MIT News, “some 98 percent said that they would use the autonomous golf carts again, and 95 percent said that they would be more likely to visit the gardens if the golf carts were a permanent fixture.”
The team sought to make their system as simple as possible so that it could be cost-effective and easy to deploy. In the future, they hope that their autonomous golf carts might provide the elderly and physically disabled with a safe, reliable mode of transportation.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll be carrying driverless cart conversion kits some day!