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Tesla's new Roadster, and more in the week that was

France also opened up the world's first solar road.
Inhabitat
01.01.17 in Green
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Has Tesla succeeded in creating a vehicle that reacts faster than its driver? A recently-surfaced dashcam video appears to show Tesla's autopilot mode predicting an accident moments before it actually happens. It currently takes hours to charge an electric car - but Elon Musk just hinted that Tesla's next-gen superchargers will be able to juice up an eve in mere seconds. Musk also confirmed plans for a new Tesla Roadster, which is expected to debut in 2019. Uber recently launched a fleet of self-driving cars in California, but the state promptly shut the experiment down. Uber won't have to look far for a new testing grounds, though - Nevada is welcoming the company's self-driving taxis.

France just marked a clean energy milestone by opening the world's first solar road. It's paved with 2,880 ultra-durable photovoltaic panels, and it stretches for a full kilometer in Tourouvre-au-Perche. In other clean energy news, Panasonic announced plans to invest $256 million in Tesla's Buffalo solar panel plant. Researchers developed a revolutionary new battery that's made from a single sheet of paper and powered by bacteria. And the UK is building six massive factories that will produce 25,000 solar-powered prefab houses every year.

Agriculture is an ancient cornerstone of civilization - but several new projects are pushing the practice into the future. MIT is developing high-tech "food computers" that are able to quickly and efficiently grow crops anywhere, while Farm From a Box has launched a solar-powered shipping container packed with everything you need to grow enough food for 150 people (except the plot of land). In other design and technology news, Stanford has created a humanoid robotic diver to explore depths too dangerous for people, and China launched a major space initiative to send a probe to Mars and search for extraterrestrial life. Finally, as we count down the hours to 2017 we've rounded up the most viral, shocking and inspiring stories of the year in the fields of design and wearable technology.

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