Each suite features its own door for more privacy, though it’s not fully enclosed, so passers-by can still peer in. Still, the addition of a door in this way makes B.A. one of only three airlines — Delta and Qatar being the other two — to include such a design for business class passengers.

Travelers booking a Club Suite can also enjoy flat-bed seating, an 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screen, free Wi-Fi, power outlets, and 40 percent more storage than its current business class offering.

There’s even a vanity unit and mirror so you can spruce yourself up from the comfort of your seat at the end of a long flight.

The seats will be arranged in a new 1-2-1 configuration, notable as it means passengers in the window and middle seats will no longer have to clamber over their neighbor to get to the aisle, as happens with the current 2-4-2 design. Not surprisingly, B.A.’s decision to cram in high-paying passengers in this way has been a big complaint among its business class passengers, so the new configuration is a significant step forward.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, commented on the new seating option for business class passengers, saying: “Each new suite has direct aisle access and comes with a personal door — design features which were incorporated as a direct result of the feedback we’ve had from our customers.”

Cruz added: “We’ve worked hard to ensure every aspect of the Club World experience from the lounges we’ve refreshed, to the new gourmet menus from Do&Co on flights from Heathrow, and the luxurious bedding we’ve introduced from The White Company exudes the very British style and quality customers expect from us.”

The Airbus A350 aircraft features 25 per cent lower fuel burn, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions. Inside, fliers will experience reduced noise levels and ambient lighting that’s designed to match the time of day and outside light.

The Club Suite will debut on the new A350 aircraft in the fall, kicking off with short-haul routes in Europe. After that, the carrier will set about phasing in long-haul routes for the aircraft. B.A. will also retrofit the Club Suite on a number of Boeing 777 aircraft flying to long-haul destinations.

Nissan’s ProPilot technology has found a new home, and a rather compact one at that, in the company’s all-new Dayz. The diminutive kei car is billed as the first mini-vehicle to offer the suite of driver-assist technologies, promising a safer and less stressful ride for those behind the wheel.

ProPilot is at the heart of Nissan’s autonomous vehicle ambitions and will eventually allow for full autonomy, if the technology matures as hoped. For now, the company is working stripped back versions of it into selected models, starting with the Serena minivan back in 2016, which has since been joined by the Leaf and X-Trail.

Launched in Japan today, the new Dayz is the first kei car to carry the tech, which will afford semi-autonomous assistance with acceleration, steering and braking on the highway. This is complemented by other driver-assist features such as lane departure warnings, intelligent lane intervention and intelligent emergency braking.

Nissan says the new Dayz also features an updated powertrain, suspension and cabin, which includes the addition of its NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats that are promised to reduce fatigue.

“The all-new Nissan Dayz will change the typical perception of kei cars,” says Asako Hoshino, senior vice president of Nissan. “It will bring the performance, excitement and safety-enhancing features of our most advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies, such as ProPILOT, to even more customers.”

Up for order in Japan from today, the Nissan Dayz is available in 17 different colors with prices starting at ¥1.27 million (around US$11,500). There’s no word yet on whether other markets will follow, but given the limited success of kei car models outside Japan, the chances are similarly limited.

Nissan packs its ProPilot tech into the Dayz kei car for smart highway driving [New Atlas]

The first 3D zebra crossing in the UK has been painted on a road in north-west Londonin an effort to improve road safety in the area. 

The striped crossing appears to be floating above the road, creating an optical illusion that is visible to oncoming drivers from both directions.

The aim is for the crossing to appear more clearly to motorists so that they slow down when approaching it.

Year-long trial before possible rollout

Located on St John’s Wood High Street in Westminster, the crossing is part of a 12-month trial to decrease the number of road-related accidents.

If the trial is successful, the crossing will be implemented across the Westminster borough.

“Our 3D zebra crossing could be the future of road safety across the country,” said Westminster Council cabinet member Tim Mitchell.

“Far from being simply a brilliant innovation that makes the ordinary look eye-grabbing and modern – the 3D effect helps drivers to see the crossing easier,” he explained.

Crossing located near iconic Abbey Road site

Westminster City Council adopted the optical trick after local residents and teachers at the neighbouring Barrow Hill Junior School raised concerns around road safety.

The crossing is also located near to Abbey Road, the site of The Beatles’ iconic album cover of the same name.

“It’s also wonderful that tourists who flock to St John’s Wood to pay homage to The Beatles at Abbey Road studios and walk the famous zebra crossing will now have another world-famous crossing to visit,” said Westminster ward councillor Robert Rigby.

Successfully implemented in New Delhi

Although this is the first time a 3D zebra crossing has been trialled in Britain, a number of similar road crossings have been tested in Iceland, India, New Zealand and the US.

According to the council, optical illusion crossings have “been proven” to improve road safety.

“Trials of a similar scheme in New Delhi, India, are reported to show that average speeds where it was employed had dropped by as much as 40 per cent, from 30mph to 20mph,” reported Westminster Council.

Similarly, London software company Umbrellium developed an interactive road crossing in 2017 that only appears when it’s needed.

London’s first 3D zebra crossing encourages drivers to slow down [Dezeen]


HotelTonight, which helps travelers secure same-day accommodation via its app or website, launched in 2010 and currently offers hotel rooms in more than 1,700 cities in around 35 countries. The business will continue to operate in the usual way following the acquisition, at least for the time being.

Both based in San Francisco, Airbnb announced its intention to buy HotelTonight in a message posted on its website on Thursday, March 7.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder, said the move fits with its plan to create an end-to-end travel platform that can serve every guest, “whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance.” Beyond accommodation, Airbnb’s expanding service also offers carefully selected activities and experiences for travelers, as well as spaces for business meetings and other gatherings.

Commenting on the agreed acquisition, Sam Shank, CEO and co-founder of HotelTonight, said: “We started HotelTonight because we knew people wanted a better way to book an amazing hotel room on-demand, and we are excited to join forces with Airbnb to bring this service to guests around the world.” Shank added that with Airbnb, HotelTonight will be able to give travelers more choice as it helps to connect them with boutique and independent hotels.

Exactly a year ago, Airbnb signaled its growing interest in boutique hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments when it invited owners of such places to list their properties on its platform. The move by Airbnb was seen as an effort to widen the appeal of its service while at the same time drawing business away from travel booking sites such as Booking.com and Expedia. The results of the company’s strategic maneuver already look promising for those involved, with Airbnb guests booking three times as many nights with boutique hotels in 2018 compared with 2017.

Airbnb launched in 2008 and now offers around six million places to stay and tens of thousands of experiences in more than 80,000 cities around the world.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the company, with parts of the hotel industry complaining of an unfair playing field as hosts generally face fewer regulations to operate their business. Laws are starting to change, but as with other disruptive platforms, the authorities have been slow to respond.

Long-term renters in large cities, too, feel squeezed by rising prices caused by a shrinking pool of rental homes as landlords opt to switch their properties to more lucrative short-term accommodation for services like Airbnb.

Airbnb buys HotelTonight to accommodate last-minute travelers [Digital Trends]

On a typical e-bike, you choose between different levels of electrical assistance. While the temptation is to select the maximum, what if that uses up the battery before you reach your destination? The French-designed iweech e-bike is claimed to automatically select the optimum level, so you do get where you’re going, but with minimal effort.

As you regularly ride the iweech to work, school or wherever, it utilizes an artificial intelligence system to learn the different routes that you travel, along with your individual riding style. When you then press a button on its top tube, putting it into i.Ride mode, it puts that knowledge to use.

In a nutshell, the bike predicts where you’re going, based on the route that you’re following. It then takes several factors into account, such as the battery level, the distance you have to travel, the topography of your route, and the wind speed/direction. Analyzing these, it proceeds to automatically choose how much electrical assistance it’ll provide, selecting the highest level that won’t result in your having a dead battery before reaching your destination.

Should you be going somewhere that the system hasn’t “learned” yet, you can use an accompanying iOS/Android app to tell it your destination (and thus the approximate route you’ll be following), before heading out.

The bike itself has a 350-watt mid-mounted Brose motor powered by a removable 36-volt/13.8-Ah/497-Wh lithium battery. One 3.5-hour charge should be good for a range of approximately 160 km (99 mi). Other features include front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, a single-speed belt-drive drivetrain, an auto-illuminating 205-lumen LED headlight, a motion-sensitive anti-theft alarm, and GPS-enabled tracking in case it gets stolen anyway.

The whole thing tips the scales at a claimed 18 kg (39.7 lb).

If the iweech seems like it’s up your alley, you can preorder one through its current Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €1,995 (about US$2,256) is required, which is 43 percent off the planned retail price. If it reaches its goal, it should ship to backers in May.

iweech e-bike automatically modulates power to ensure you get from A to B [New Atlas]

Springtime in Japan is exciting and ephemeral. The pastel-pink sakura (cherry blossoms) hold a special significance in Japanese culture as they epitomise the fleeting nature of life and the natural world’s delicate beauty. They mark a time of celebration, with cherry blossom festivals occurring from March to May in towns, cities and islands in bloom.

During the peak flowering period in April 2020, Country Living readers will have the opportunity of a lifetime to see these remarkable displays on a tour of the blossoms. You’ll have the chance to visit buzzing, neon-lit Tokyo for three nights, staying in a four-star hotel, savour modern Japanese cuisine and take two exclusive day trips – one travelling on the famous bullet train to national icon Mount Fuji, from which glowing floral landscapes can be admired.

During our exclusive holiday, you will also take a tour of some of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing, a custom so cherished that it holds its own title in Japanese – hanami. Travelling by cable car on the Komagatake Ropeway and by boat on the serene Lake Ashi, you can admire spectacular views of the pristine nature all around. These areas are beautifully kept and relished by travellers worldwide.

But it’s not just the sights of Tokyo that you will experience on this holiday. Boarding the luxurious cruise ship Celebrity Millennium in Yokohama for an 11-night cruise around Japan’s coastline, you will stop off in Osaka and Kyoto, and in Busan in South Korea. Osaka is famed for its modern architecture, street food and historical castle surrounded by plum, peach and cherry blossom trees in spring.

In Kyoto, Buddhist temples and traditional wooden houses pepper the blossom-lined streets. Here you can eat a renowned kaiseki multi-course meal and see the finely trained geiko performers – what we know as geishas.

The Celebrity Millennium features multiple restaurants, Jacuzzis, outdoor pools, an adults-only solarium and even a big Broadway-style theatre. The intimate luxury of the ship offers a calm space for guests to relax in their rooms and reflect on the mysterious beauty of Japan and its blossoms.

The best way to see the cherry blossom [Countryliving]

Adventure holidays specialist Exodus has revealed the top adventure travel trends for 2019 and we’re completely on board with number one on the list: walking wellness.

Combining one of our favourite activities, walking, with the already huge trend of wellness and mindfulness, means you can get active on holiday and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits when you get home.

As taking to your own two feet is one of the best ways to see the world, travellers are now looking to experience destinations in a new way: at a slower pace which promotes mindfulness while being out in the open and leaving a smaller carbon footprint on their adventures.

For instance, one of Exodus’ best-selling trips, Walking the Amalfi Coast, is perfect for taking in the heavenly coastal views and picturesque towns of the Mediterranean in a laid-back yet active way. This way of traveling leaves you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed as you tick off some of the world’s most picturesque walking routes off your bucket list, such as the Path of Gods, as you sample good food and wine.

Romania and the Carpathian Mountains is another incredible spot to experience walking wellness, where you can add nature to your trip with brown bear watching and the chance to experience one of Europe’s last remaining wilderness areas on a Carpathian Walking & Bears trip.

Meanwhile, the other trends adventure travellers should have on their radar this year include two-in-one travel, which allows you to combine an exciting sporting trip like the Rugby World Cup in Japan this September with an epic trip of rewarding hikes, zen gardens and cycling the land of the Samurai.

Inspired travel is another way to explore the world this year: think David Attenborough’s Dynasties-inspired holidays that take in amazing wildlife, like the South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari which will allow you to observe one of the most spectacular sights in the wild: inquisitive King penguins. The long-awaited final series of Game of Thrones is also due to hit our screens later this year and will put film locations like Iceland back into the travel spotlight.

For adventure travellers looking to follow their tastebuds, gastro travel will also be big in 2019 as food and drink-influenced trips provide a real flavour of a country. Exodus has seen a massive 416% hike in foodie trips, with authentic flavours, traditional techniques and recipes handed down through the generations inspiring gourmands. Mexico is an excellent place to get adventurous with food, from cookery classes to street food.

Finally, exploring the unexplored is the adventure travel trend that never loses appeal. The Silk Road continues to attract those who like to go off the beaten track and Kyrgyzstan, dotted with alpine meadows and wild pastures inhabited by Kyrgyz nomads, is the country to visit in 2019 if you want to beat the crowds.

‘Walking wellness’ is the adventure travel trend we are 100% on board with this year [Countryliving]

And while many travel-related events are not in our control — like weather-related delays and cancellations, buildup at the TSA checkpoint, or overbooked flights — some things are in fact in our hands. The key to reducing airport and airline anxiety is all about how we prepare for each trip. And SkyValet smart luggage, currently being funded on Kickstarter, is a product that offers solutions to many of our common travel struggles.

We’ve seen quite a few trends come and go in the world of travel, including packing cube sets and more. Each item designed to support different ways to get our things from point A to point B. But before you know it, traveling can become too overwhelming when you pile on so many accessories. You needed a portable charger to keep your devices powered up; a harder suitcase to keep your valuables protected; a GPS tracker to attach to your suitcase to keep track of it in the event it gets lost or sent to the wrong city; and a scale to make sure your luggage isn’t too heavy. The things keep piling on and instead of relieving stress as they were intended to do, and wind up giving us even more anxiety.

Finally, a smart luggage brand is delivering an all-in-one product that solves so many of our travel preparation needs while reducing the clutter of accessories.

Other smart luggage offerings have the ability to charge your devices with a built-in battery, but SkyValet goes the extra mile with a wireless charging pad equipped with Qi technology that delivers up to 7.5W of fast charging speed to your iPhone and Android devices. The battery is removable and compliant with TSA regulations. Can’t wirelessly charge? No worries, there’s a razor-thin adaptor that you can place on the back of your phone to make your device compatible with the charging dock. The bag is even equipped with a TSA-approved Bluetooth lock.

SkyValet also has a built-in scale so you’ll always know how many more pounds or ounces you can stuff into your luggage before getting hit with any overage charges. It’s also equipped with a GPS tracker so you always know exactly where your valuables are.

The suitcase has a magnetic front pocket allowing you to open it with a simple touch instead of a zipper. Inside the pocket, you’ll find dual USB ports to keep devices charged and easily accessible.

With SkyValet luggage you therefore no longer need separate portable chargers to power your devices, a scale to weigh your bag, a lock, or a tracking device. All of that functionality is built right into the bag.

And SkyValet’s smart design goes beyond built-in gadgets, offering solutions to additional travel challenges many of us face at the airport.

First seen in the skateboard industry, the S-shaped wheels on the bottom of the case increase maneuverability and will travel smoothly over any surface. SkyValet has the exclusive luggage license on the enhanced wheels so you won’t find this level of stability when strolling with a suitcase from other brands.

The outer shell of the luggage is made with lightweight and durable polycarbonate material. The zippers are double-sided to provide an extra layer of protection, and are burst-proof, according to the brand.

The sharp and sleek luggage comes in four different sizes — including carry-on and larger suitcases to check in — and three color options to fit your travel needs and style.

Here’s the breakdown for each model:

  • Business Case: 15 inches high and weighs 8.1 pounds
  • Carry-On Case: 22 inches high and weighs 8.4 pounds
  • Medium Luggage: 25 inches high and weighs 8.8 pounds
  • Large Luggage: 29 inches high and weighs 9.9 pounds

All four models are equipped with the Bluetooth lock, GPS tracker, burst-proof zipper and S-shaped wheels. The carry-on and business case do not have a built-in scale since they are typically not weighed when carrying them onto the airplane. The medium and large checked bags are not equipped with the wireless charger, magnetic front pocket, or USB ports since these features are designed specifically for carry-on bags that stay with you throughout your travel experience in the airport and airplane.

Free shipping is available to customers in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and China. And, each smart luggage comes with a five year limited warranty.

SkyValet had a goal of raising $10,000 on Kickstarter, and met it within hours. More than 290 people have backed the project with more than $75,000 pledged, but there’s still time to put your support behind the campaign. And, SkyValet plans to deliver the smart luggage in April — just in time for spring and summer travels.

Smart luggage does it all with wireless charger, built-in scale, GPS tracking [Digital Trends]

Raising boats out of the water on hydrofoils makes them much more comfortable and efficient – and this French design uses electric propulsion and an automatic self-stabilizing system to give you clean, quiet and sexy water transport.

Making its US debut in Miami this week, the Seabubbles Bubble Taxi is a five-seat design about the size of a family car, with a sleek shape reminiscent of a flying car from The Fifth Element.

The Bubble Taxi prototype runs two props on a 20-kilowatt (27 hp) electric drive system, and once it hits around 13 kmh (8 mph), its hydrofoils develop enough lift to make it rise up out of the water, allowing a top speed of 28 kmh (17 mph) as it cruises along about 40 cm (16 inches) above the water.

Getting the main hull out of the drink cuts drag by around 40 percent, helping squeeze extra range out of its 21.5-kilowatt-hour battery, which is good for up to two hours of use or 40 km (25 miles) between five-hour charges. Flying on hydrofoils also takes the craft up above a lot of surface choppiness, making for a smooth and comfortable ride.

Again, the numbers above are only for the prototypes – Seabubbles says its production machines will be faster, with bigger batteries, longer range and 35-minute fast charge times.

If it looks a bit unstable riding on its single, central front hydrofoil and two rear ones, fear not: the Bubble Taxi uses gyroscopic and altitude sensors to measure pitch and roll angles constantly, and the steering system is completely fly-by-wire, allowing the boat to auto-correct for tilt and stabilize itself as you drive.

Seabubbles brings its electric, self-stablizing, hydrofoiling Bubble Taxis to Miami [New Atlas]

A Russian urban electric vehicle manufacturer and developers of artificial intelligence for autonomous driving systems are working on a city tram that will trundle itself around the streets of Moscow in the near future. The fully autonomous tram is due to start closed facility testing shortly, ahead of street tests along Moscow’s tram routes.

The aim of the joint project by PC Transport Systems and Cognitive Technologies is to develop a tram capable of rolling through Moscow districts without a human driver in the cab, “minimizing the number of accidents and reducing their dependence on human factor.”

The resulting vehicle will be available to Russian markets and beyond – including Germany and China – by 2021/2022.

The tram’s AI vision computer system is supplied with visuals from 10 to 20 cameras positioned around the tram, and data from as many as 10 radar sensors. GPS will help pinpoint its position on “high precision cartography” as it drives itself along the tracks.

“The combination of sensors that includes cameras and radars ensures an accurate and reliable detection of road scene objects in any weather conditions (night, rain, fog, snow, blinding light etc.),” said Olga Uskova of Cognitive Technologies in a press release.

The autonomous tram will be able to detect other vehicles (including trams), traffic lights, pedestrians, tram/bus stops, and switches on the tracks, and respond appropriately. The project team says that the vehicle will come to a halt when obstacles are detected, for example, and will also maintain a safe distance behind cars ahead.

Testing at a closed facility is due to start within the next two months, though the tram won’t be going it alone. A human operator will be in the cabin ready to take over if needed. The project will then break out to Moscow’s tram routes after that.

Though the aim is to have the tram run autonomously, the project sees human operators remaining in the cabin for some time to come – either until any legislative restrictions are lifted or merely as psychological comfort for passengers, who may not feel at ease in driverless trams.

Autonomous tram to start closed testing ahead of Moscow street debut [New Atlas]

Purveyor of pint-sized motorboats Jet Capsule recently put the finishing touches to its latest model, the Royal Version 001. The watercraft boasts significant upgrades over the firm’s previous offerings and is bigger, faster, and more luxurious than before.

The Jet Capsule was originally unveiled back in 2013 and the standard model was launched for US$150,000 in 2015. The new Royal Version 001 will set you back at least €250,000 (roughly $285,000).

For the extra cash you get the same basic styling with an increased overall length of 7.95 m (26 ft), which is a couple of feet longer than the standard Jet Capsule. It’s also 3.44 m (12 ft)-wide and 2.3 m (7.5 ft)-high. Inside, it has a total floorspace of 18 sq m (193 sq ft).

The interior is now accessed by a motorized carbon fiber rear door (the cockpit hatch is motorized too) and includes upgraded materials, like teak trim and nine plush leather passengers seats. Toward the rear lies a bathroom at one side and a wet bar on the other. The air conditioning system has been improved too.

The Royal Version 001’s speed has gone up from the standard Jet Capsule’s 38 knots (44 mph/71 km/h) to a maximum of 62 knots (71 mph/113 km/h). Designer Pierpaolo Lazzarini told us that it’s powered by either single or dual Yanmar diesel engines which offer from 370 hp (275 kW) to 1,040 hp (775 kW), coupled with a Hamilton or Rolls Royce jet drive. The boat also has twin Torqeedo electric engines installed and these can be used to cruise at 12 knots (13 mph/22 km/h).

It’s certainly not a cheap option, but looks a lot of fun and would be just the thing to transport you to and from your gigayacht.

Jet Capsule launches bigger, faster, more luxurious motorboat [New Atlas]

Airports are complex arenas with thousands of people filtering through them each day. Not only are they a space for efficient transportation of passengers and cargo, but they also employ thousands of local people and are the landlord to retailers and restaurants that serve millions of consumers each year.

However, with the majority of people frequenting airports for only a short time, not many will stop to think about the affect their behaviour has on any waste created and how it is dealt with. But it’s a bigger issue than you may think.

Dan Brown, corporate sector director at SWRnewstar discusses some of the waste challenges airports face and more importantly, how to overcome them in a way that not only reduces the environmental impact but also creates opportunities for cost savings.

Waste apathy: acting on impulse

Visitors to an airport come in droves and they are often in a rush. It is this sense of urgency that can result in waste apathy. Late for a flight, rushing to meet family members or a last minute change of boarding gate; there are numerous reasons passengers act on impulse when it comes to disposing of their waste. Coffee cups, plastic bottles, food packaging and magazines can be left on seats or dropped into the closest bin. But how can airports address this?

As closed environments with a large audience, airports make great locations for trailing new initiatives.

One example is water-refilling stations which cut down the number of plastic bottles being disposed of. This novel idea reduces waste by encouraging passengers to bring (empty) reusable bottles into the terminal where they can refill for free, rather than buying bottled water airside.

As environmental issues become increasingly relevant to consumers, airport management teams have the opportunity to include waste and recycling stories in their wider communication plans. Helping passengers understand the benefits of their choices to reduce waste and recycle will make a difference. For example, using a refill station rather than buying a plastic bottle of water, saves money and reduces waste in the terminal.

One route to increasing engagement is to proactively highlight to passengers the volume of different materials (plastic bottles, coffee cups, newspapers, etc) managed by the airport and the role they can play in helping reduce waste and increase recycling.

Airports/hospitality hubs

Airports are not only home to a huge number of passengers but the larger airports are now also hospitality hubs. With retail outlets, restaurants, cafes and bars, all selling disposable packaging these individual businesses are creating unique waste streams. So how can they join up when it comes to waste?

Each individual business will have its own internal waste practices in place, but integrating these with the airport’s overall waste and recycling processes brings wider benefits. For example, linking up the capabilities of the waste yard with segregation in each retail unit simplifies processes and increases overall on-site recycling rates.

While this isn’t necessarily easy to start with, it is important. A collaborative approach creates opportunities for airports and their business partners to develop ongoing improvement programmes. Businesses operating in the airport benefit by reducing environmental impact as well as reducing waste costs.

For example, Bristol Airport is running an award-winning engagement programme with onsite retailers to lift the lid on the waste produced and proactively improve the way materials are managed. A dedicated team — aptly named the ‘Waste Champions’ — monitors the waste produced and feedback to the wider airport team with monthly review meetings and provide tenants with regular feedback on the waste they are producing. This partnership ensures there is a broad commitment to the process and teams are held accountable.


Waste is not something to simply ‘get rid of’ – changing the ethos to ‘resources to manage’ is the foundation. Education and engagement to improve waste segregation as well as all working collaboratively are key to limiting the environmental impact of ‘on-the-go’ waste and achieving cost savings.

Overcoming the challenges of ‘on-the-go’ waste in airports [Traveldaily]

Airport parking sucks, but a little French robot parking valet wants to make it better for everyone. After successful trials in Paris and Lyon, the Stan autonomous parking system is on its way to Gatwick, London – and it looks like a terrific idea.

There are very few places in modern life where people regularly need to park a car and then move a whole bunch of luggage. Airports are one of them, and while some handle the space crunch of drop-off, pick-up, short-term and long-term parking better than others, we can all agree there’s a lot of room for improvement.

So how does this sound: you drop your car into a little garage, scan yourself into the system, then head to the plane. A robot then picks up your car, ferries it off to a distant, secure, high-density car park, and brings it back for you to pick up from a similar little garage when you arrive back in town.

French company Stanley Robotics has built such a system, and successfully trialed it at two of France’s biggest airports, including Charles de Gaulle in Paris. The Stan robots, shaped like waist-high toasters with a large pickup tray, zip underneath cars, grab them by the tires, lift them up and move them around. They can steer from both ends, so they’re great in tight spaces.

Stan’s parking facilities don’t have to allow driving lanes every two rows of cars, because the robots can easily move cars about to get to other ones. The doors don’t have to open, so they can be closer together sideways as well. No people are allowed in, so security is terrific and there’s no need for special walkways. The resulting system makes excellent use of space, packing in some 30 percent more vehicles than a regular car park – and since drivers can pre-warn the system about when they’ll be back, the robots can make sure a car’s easily available when it needs to be.

t’s convenient and secure for travelers (although limited by the number of garage spaces available), plus it uses land and space better than a traditional long-term car park design. In places where land is the crunch factor, systems like Stan can vastly change the equation.

The company has signed a deal with London’s Gatwick Airport to begin a trial of the technology this August, as hundreds of thousands of Londoners take their summer holidays. The cars will be stored in the long-stay car park in the South Terminal, where 170 parking spaces will be replaced by 270 robo-valet spots.

Autonomous robot valet parking is coming to Gatwick Airport [New Atlas]

Around five years after its founding, the pieces appear to be falling into place for HyperloopTT, one of the ambitious startups vying to get a futuristic hyperloop transport system up and running. The company has just welcomed its first full-scale passenger capsule to its dedicated test facility in France, with the CEO indicating that the first commercial customers could hop aboard as early as 2022.

HyperloopTT and rival startup Virgin Hyperloop One have teamed up with authorities all around the world to conduct an almost countless number of feasibility studies, but there seems to be particular attention paid to the Middle East. Here, HyperloopTT has plans for a 10-km (6.2 mi) hyperloop system in Abu Dhabi, with an extension connecting the Emirati capital to Dubai and onward to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, almost 1,000 km (621 mi) away.

A fully developed Hyperloop system would shuttle passengers and cargo through near-vacuum tubes inside magnetically levitated pods at around the speed of sound. Given that neither HyperloopTT nor Virgin Hyperloop One has demonstrated systems operating at even close to these speeds, or in the case of the former a system successfully operating at all, it’s worth treating any timelines they’re trumpeting with caution.

But in the last eight months or so, HyperloopTT has started to make tangible progress. In April last year it began work on a test facility in Toulouse, France, to host its first full-scale hyperloop system, and then in October it unveiled its first full-scale passenger pod in Spain.

The two have now become acquainted with one another, with the so called Quintero One pod completing the 1,500-km (930-mi) journey on the back of a truck between southern Spain and Toulouse. The company says “final tests are now underway,” though what that means exactly isn’t entirely clear.

Quintero One is made from a composite material developed in-house called Vibranium, inspired by the fictitious super-metal of the same name from the Marvel Comics. With a total length of 32 m (105 ft), the pod is said to have an internal cabin length of 15 m (50 ft) and a total weight of five tons (11,000 lb).

The company said last year when revealing the capsule that it would be fully optimized and ready for passengers in 2019. And in an interview withCNBC this week, CEO Dirk Ahlborn said he expects the first commercial lines to open in 2022, but that rides may become possible much earlier for folks willing to sign a waiver.

HyperloopTT readies its passenger pod for final testing [New Atlas]

The people have spoken — and they’ve made it abundantly clear that plant-based diets are here to stay, no matter where in the world you are. While the United States has seen a shift towards more people following plant-based diets, it’s clear that the trend is international — and doesn’t stop when people are in transit!

Live Kindly reported that Emirates Airlines has served more than 20,000 vegan meals while aboard their flights this month alone — which represents a 40 percent increase in people choosing a vegetarian/vegan option. The airline makes more than 200,000 meals daily — and in 2019, vegan dinners are now the third most popular request, per Time Out Dubai.

The Dubai-based airline has made a significant effort when it comes to offering their customers delicious meals without any meat or dairy, and their efforts have been recognized, with Vegan News naming Emirates the Best Airline for Vegan Meals.

But their competitors have clearly taken note, and adapted to offer delicious, plant-based meals as well; Norwegian Airlines has shown a 7 percent increase in vegan meals year-over-year, Scandinavian Airlines began offering vegan options last late year, and Air New Zealand made history when they became the first airline to offer the Impossible Burger aboard their flights.

While many people give up animal products for dietary or lifestyle reasons, it’s also one of the best things you can do for the planet. Some researchers believe that eliminating animal products could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by more than 70 percent. Not only would our carbon emissions be significantly reduced if we were less dependent on the meat and dairy industry, but it would also free up many of our resources — like land and water — that agriculture requires.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” lead researcher, Joseph Poore, said when publishing his findings. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

And, of course, if you are still flying far distances frequently — remember that there are more ways to eat a vegan meal than ever before!

Emirates Sees a 40% Increase in Plant-Based Meal Requests on Flights [Green Matters]


Hot off the press! On our round-up this week, we’ve got up and coming properties from a luxury resort nestled on the Island of the Gods — to a “fitness science meets travel” hotel on the streets of Manhattan’s west side. Here are the newest hotels from around the world:

The Standard, London

Set to open this year, The Standard, London is housed in the historic Camden Town Annex and will celebrate the history of the building and neighbourhood — while connecting it to its future. The hotel features 266 rooms designed by Shawn Hausman Design (some including outdoor terraces and bathtubs overlooking St Pancras Station), a garden restaurant, as well as a destination rooftop restaurant.

The Apurva Kempinski Bali

Kempinski Hotels is blessing the new year with the opening of The Apurva Kempinski Bali, a luxury resort channelling the essence of Indonesian culture, art and identity. The resort will open in February, in the upmarket Nusa Dua area of Bali, with 475 well-appointed guest rooms, suites and discreet villas in a quiet beachfront setting.

Equinox Hotels

Equinox Hotel will be located in the emerging Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s west side. Its “science of fitness meets the art of travel” concept will focus on living a well-balanced life with access to state-of-the-art facilities, active-minded programming and nourishing dining.

The property in New York will include a 5,500-square-metre fitness centre, Equinox’s largest yet, and a variety of wellness-focused offerings, including an on-property spa and healthy in-room dining options.

Park Hotel Yeongdeungpo, Seoul

Park Hotel Group has announced the opening of Park Hotel Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, heralding the group’s debut in South Korea. Park Hotel Yeongdeungpo, Seoul, the new-build hotel located within Yeongdeungpo district, is owned by Seoul-based K2 Group. Nestled in Yeongdeungpo district, a 10-minute drive away from Yeouido financial hub, the 14-storey hotel provides 140 rooms and family studios.

Hot hotel openings: Fitness science meets travel [TravelDaily]

After surveying more than 2,800 Chinese travellers and over 1,200 overseas hospitality and retail organisations, the mobile payment firm revealed that 38% of tourists from these second-tier cities travelled to Europe in 2018, surpassing the proportion of respondents from first-tier cities for the first time.

Furthermore, 22% of those from second-tier cities also visited North America, a number on par with the proportion of first-tier cities outbound tourists heading to the region.

Not content with the United States and Canada, the study also recorded another interesting knowledge nugget Chinese tourists are becoming more adventurous, with 10% of outbound Chinese tourists selecting Central Asia, Western Asia and Africa as their destination of choice, an increase of more than a third on 2017’s numbers.

Other key findings include:

  • Outbound Chinese tourists travelled to more destinations in 2018, with respondents visiting an average of 2.8 countries/regions, up from 2.1 in 2017. Both the average actual spending and travel budget for outbound Chinese tourists increased year on year — the former up by 6% to USD 6,026 and the latter up by 15% to USD 6,706.
  • Shopping, accommodations and dining remained the top three categories for purchases by Chinese tourists. Discounts, quality and pricing are the three key factors weighing on Chinese tourists’ shopping decisions.

Infographic: The new engine driving Chinese outbound travel [Traveldaily]

It is a no-brainer that safety tops solo travellers’ list when going on a trip. A recent survey of 2,000 travellers commissioned by Intrepid Travel found that 73% of respondents worry about safety.

As more travellers embark on trips on their own, solo travel is expected to rise this year. This is backed up by the data from Hitwise, the UK’s largest online behavioural research tool, which claims that there was a 143% increase in “solo travel” searches over the past three years.

Millennials are found out to be notorious solo travellers for they are the generation that constantly seeks new and unique experiences. Women also prove to be more adventurous than men as they are more likely to travel on their own. Hitwise says that that the audiences driving searches for solo travel have been women (55% of them) aged between 25-34 years old.

Travel website Wegoplaces reveals an interactive guide that visualises the safest and riskiest countries for travelling alone and offers tips for staying safe. This report explores an overview of the safest, riskiest, most peaceful and hostile countries. Data has been sourced from the Gallup Global Law and Order Report, Global Peace Index 2018 and guidelines from the FCO.

Singapore tops the list of the safest cities worldwide followed by Norway and Iceland.

The 10 safest locations for solo travel with index score (starting with safest):

  1. Singapore (97)
  2. Norway (93)
  3. Iceland (93)
  4. Finland (93)
  5. Uzbekistan (91)
  6. Hong Kong (91)
  7. Switzerland (90)
  8. Canada (90
  9. Indonesia (89)
  10. Denmark (88)

The 10 riskiest locations for solo travel with index score (starting with riskiest):

  1. Venezuela (44)
  2. Afghanistan (45)
  3. South Sudan (54)
  4. Gabon (55)
  5. Liberia (56)
  6. South Africa (58)
  7. Mexico (58)
  8. Dominican Republic (60)
  9. Botswana (61)
  10. Sierra Leone (61)

Although many have fears of safety on a trip alone, solo travel is a safe option for an adventure and it comes with the same risks as travelling with a companion.

Safest destinations for solo travellers in 2019 [Traveldaily]

Food design studio Bompas & Parr has created the “world’s first” vegan guest suite inside a London hotel, omitting the use of leather, wool and feathers throughout its interiors.

Decked out exclusively in plant-based materials, the guest suite at the Hilton has been created by Bompas & Parr in a bid to show that veganism is “no longer only a dining trend, but can also influence a wider lifestyle choice”.

The design studio joins a wider pool of designers making vegan-friendly products that go beyond food– Brooklyn studio Crème recently used home-grown vegetables to create sustainable coffee cups, while Sebastian Cox employed mushroom mycelium to produce suede-like home furnishings.

The suite is set within Hilton London Bankside, just a short distance from Southwark tube station, and comprises of a bedroom, lounge area, and sizeable bathroom.

A majority of surfaces have been upholstered in Piñatex, a leather-alternative fabric originally developed by company Ananas Anam, which is made from cellulose fibres found in waste pineapple leaves. It covers the room’s slate-grey seating, bright red scatter cushions, and flower-embroidered headboard designed by artist Emily Potter.

The use of the material is also intended to serve as a subtle nod to local London history, as when pineapples first arrived in the capital they were sold in Borough market, which is just a few minutes walk from the hotel.

Typical feather stuffing in pillows has been traded for organic buckwheat, millet seeds, or bamboo fibres. Additionally, cotton has been used instead of wool to make the carpet.

All of the snacks, stationery, and cleaning products used in the suite by housekeeping staff are also free of animal products.

This is not the first time that Bompas & Parr has worked with environmentally-conscious materials – back in 2016 the agency used bioluminescent algae to form a glow-in-the-dark collection of jewellery.

Most recently the designers worked to create the “world’s first non-melting ice lolly”, in light of global warming and our increasing need to keep frozen treats cool as temperatures rise.

Bompas & Parr creates “world’s first” vegan hotel suite [Dezeen]

Coworking spaces are something you do not expect in a hotel but they are becoming more popular as more employees embrace flexible jobs and more entrepreneurs and start-ups are building their business on the road.

People are travelling more than ever and with the younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z) compose mostly the workforce, the travel industry is following their every move and behaviour. The addition of coworking spaces also attracts the “digital nomads,” which represents the growing group of people who, thanks to the internet, work remotely and can work and communicate at any time anywhere in the world. Driven by globalisation and the ‘gig’ economy, the current generation benefits from flexible work hours and autonomy over their workplace and work style.

With the number of coworking members expected to jump to 3.8 million in 2020, it is only natural for hotels to capitalise on this feature.

Coworking spaces in hotels provide an area for hotel guests and locals to gather to work and meet. The hotel room is no longer the primary product. The workplace is as important as the room as it offers a central place where the guests have diverse opportunities to work alone or together.

Boutique hotels are first in line to adopt this new trend. Hobo hotel in Stockholm markets itself as not just a hotel, but as a new design hotel that welcomes professionals as well as visitors. It is marketed as “a meeting point, a workplace, an office or just a nice place to visit and hang out” with rooms that you can book.

Hotel Schani Wien is in an ideal location opposite the Vienna’s Central Railway Station housing modern working amenities. To achieve this, they have integrated a coworking space into the hotel lobby including twelve desks. Hotel guests can use the space for free and locals have the possibility to choose 10 days (EUR 90) or 30 days (EUR 150) coworking pass or rent a coworking desk for EUR 190 per month.

Big brands are also embracing the idea. AccorHotels has a joint venture with Bouygues Immobilier to accelerate the growth of Nextdoor in France and Europe. The two groups aimed to create 80 collaborative Nextdoor workspaces by 2022. The move was part of AccorHotels’ strategy to rebuild itself as a hospitality platform, dubbed “augmented hospitality,” which has seen it invest across the sector, acquiring a sharing platform, concierge services provider and hotel reservations platform, among other offerings.

In order to be a successful coworking hotel, one must create a space that facilitates connections between the guests themselves, but also with the locals.

Hotel x coworking space: The future of hospitality [TravelDaily]

The benefits of autonomous planes for airlines are obvious. For starters, it would mean lower pilot costs, with a report by investment bank UBS in 2017 estimating that the industry spends more than $30 billion on pilots annually. The report also suggested that significant fuel savings could be made as autonomous planes would operate flights in a more efficient manner.

Autonomous planes would also solve the growing problem of pilot shortages. Many carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit new pilots, with reasons cited as “a recent increase in the flying hours required for commercial pilots, the aging pilot workforce, fewer new pilots coming out of the military, and a general decline of interest in the career,” Business Insider reported in 2018.

UBS pointed out that “the technology to remotely control military drones already exists, and this technology could be adapted to control … small to medium-sized business jets and, eventually, commercial aviation.”

But in Munich, Germany on Sunday, Vittadini said a big challenge standing in the way of a complete move to autonomous aircraft is convincing regulators that the technology is ready.

“Explainability of artificial intelligence is a real challenge for us when it comes to the certification of products,” the executive said.

Another hurdle — possibly the greatest of all — will be to persuade airline passengers that pilotless planes are a good idea. The UBS report found that 54 percent of 8,000 respondents said they would probably refuse to board a pilotless aircraft, even if the fare was cheaper than a piloted alternative. Only 17 percent said they’d be happy to fly on a plane without a pilot.

It seems likely that before passenger aircraft, cargo planes will be the first to go pilotless. As the technology improves and the number of autonomous flights increases, Airbus hopes the public will gradually warm to the idea of flights controlled entirely by computers.

Pilotless planes are on their way, but would you fly in one? [Digital Trends]

That memorable quote comes from Rose Byrne’s character in the film Spy, upon hearing about this class of service for the first time, while flying in her private jet.

While funny, there is some sad truth to it. What passes for domestic premium economy in the United States is nothing more than an ordinary coach seat with a bit more leg room. Alaska Airlines recently added a Premium Class option, but it’s no different in concept to other domestic carriers’ products (Delta’s Comfort+, American’s Main Cabin Extra, United’s Economy Plus, etc.). There are some perks, like priority boarding and perhaps a free glass of vino, but it’s really just another way for airlines to charge more for the same product.

Unless you’re flying internationally, that is. On those routes, premium economy starts to live up to the name. Some even rival the business or first-class seats offered on domestic flights. An intimate cabin, more comfortable seats, larger seatback displays, and priority services are just some of amenities that come with the slightly higher price, but significantly less than business class – for airlines it’s a way to increase revenue, but for passengers it’s a luxury option without going broke. We’re noticing that international premium economy is beginning to look the same, but we wouldn’t be surprise if airlines start upgrading their products to one-up the competition.

U.S. airlines had lagged behind their global counterparts in this sector, offering the same product as they do in domestic flights. But things are changing. American Airlines was the first to up the ante with an improved premium economy class on international routes that competes against established players. Not to be outdone, Delta is also adding a sophisticated premium econ cabin to its fleet, while United is following suit with a luxe product to be unveiled sometime in 2018.

If you can afford to splurge a little for a more relaxing long-haul flight, here are some of our favorite premium economy classes.

British Airways

Called World Traveller Plus, BA’s sleek premium economy cabin was first introduced on its newest planes, while older aircraft are being updated with the new product. The seats have a 10.6-inch screen that’s 60 percent bigger than the old ones (imagine just how tiny those were), more recline, and AC and USB power for your gear. While the offering is very similar to American’s, it just looks clean and refined.

Air France

Not only is Air France’s redesigned premium econ stylish, the seats have large 12-inch touchscreen displays, which makes viewing movies from a distance a lot easier. Even the silverware and dishes get a bit of extra attention. But it’s the brand-new premium economy product on Air France’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (shown) that has us excited. Each seat has a recline of 130 degrees with improved back support. The tray table even has a “reading rest” for your book or tablet.


ANA’s Premium Economy cabin and service is comparable to the other airlines here: A more spacious seat with power ports and a large seat-back display, and better food and drinks. It’s even developed an exclusive menu for this cabin that features ramen from the highly regarded Ippudo chain of restaurants. But what grabs us is the complimentary lounge access prior to boarding. Lounges offer a great respite from the rest of the airport, and ANA Lounges are some of the best — a modern space with extensive refreshments (the food is highly substantial). It’s a nice bonus you won’t find with other airlines’ (except Japan Airlines) premium economy.


While Lufthansa’s premium economy is similar to other airlines’, with larger screens (11 or 12 inches) and seats, the cabin in its Airbus A380s are located at the front of the plane and separated from the rest of standard economy by the galleys and its own lavatories. This makes it feel more like an exclusive area of the plane. We’ve tried Lufthansa’s product on its Boeing 747-8, and while we found its location on the plane awkward (it’s wedged within the standard economy cabin), we enjoyed the nicer seat and attentive service.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian is a low-cost carrier that operated primarily in Europe, but with the acquisition of Boeing’s new 787, it started long-haul operations to the U.S. and other parts of the world. While Norwegian remains a budget airline that offers low fares, it added a small premium cabin. Seats have some of the largest legroom in a premium econ product, and come with lounge access as well.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic was one of the first to offer a premium economy cabin, and in the early days it was comparable to other airlines’ business class. While the competition has caught up, Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy has the widest seats of any airline, at 21 inches; more legroom is always welcome, but it’s seat width that makes a comfortable ride. Onboard Virgin’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, you’ll find the Wander Wall, a social space filled with snacks and where you can mingle with others.

Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines offers two seat versions in its premium economy class, but it’s the JAL Sky Premium that you should seek out, which you’ll find on its U.S.-Japan routes. JAL also offers a generous amount of leg room, a big leg rest, and footrest. Of course, not to be outdone by rival ANA, premium economy passengers also get lounge access, including those operated by Oneworld partners.

Delta Air Lines

Delta launched its Premium Select cabin in its new Airbus A350-900 jets. The cabin has a two-four-two layout, which means each seat has easier access to the aisle. Each seat has 38 inches of legroom and a 19-inch width, and while it doesn’t turn into a full bed, it has a deep recline and both headrest and leg rest. But Delta isn’t stopping there. Besides a Tumi amenity kit and noise-canceling headphones, passengers have access to a large 13.3-inch LCD, power ports, priority boarding, and elevated dining service.

Singapore Airlines

Available on its Airbus A380, Airbus A350, and Boeing 777-300ER, Singapore’s premium economy cabin has modern, stylish seats with ample leg and elbow room, as well as a 9-inch recline and leg rest. It’s not as lavish as the airline’s first and business classes, but one thing it has in common with those cabins is the “Book the Cook” option, where you can pick your meal before you take off. Each seat has two USB ports and power outlet, 13.3-inch display with on-demand content, and noise-canceling headphones. Perhaps the biggest perk is Singapore’s excellent service.

9 premium economy classes that let you stretch your legs and your dollar [Digital Trends]

Fat-tired electric cruisers with some retro chopper chic have popped up a few times over the years, the Scrooser from 2013 was followed by the Phatty in 2017 and then came the stripped back, stand up Strator last October. At about the same time as the latter was rolling out in California, German startup Schobba launched its own take on the design. We spotted two of its electric scooters while wandering the halls of CMT this week, let’s take a closer look.

Both of the Schobba’s retro-cool, Harley-inspired fat tire rides on display at the Caravan, Motor & Touristik show in Stuttgart, Germany, only offer 60 km (37 mi) of all electric range, so they’re clearly not designed for long road trips across Europe. And with a top speed of just 40 km/h (25 mph), riders aren’t going to break any land speed records. But what they lack in oomph, they more than make up for in style.

The Schobba 2.0 tips the scales at 57 kg (125 lb) including the 60 V/20 Ah LiFePo4 battery. It features a 1,200 W motor, telescopic front fork suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and a 165-12-30 chunky tire to the front and a 215-12-30 at the rear.

The aluminum frame offers a seat height of 70 cm (27.5 in) and ends in a wide 110 cm (43.3 in) handlebar with digital speedo, a classic motorcycle headlight and smartphone holder with USB charging port.

The Schobba 2.0 will set you back €2,199 (about US$2,500).

The Schobba Streethawk shares much of its specs with the 2.0 but is a tad more beastly. It comes with a 1,500 W motor, or the option to upgrade to a 3,000 W, but there’s no increase in top speed or range.

This flavor wears chunkier 205-13-30 (front) and 215-13-30 (back) tires, has a seat height of 75 cm (29.5 in) and is a bit heavier at 70 kg (154 lb). It also benefits from dual rear shocks. Pricing for the Streethawk starts at €3,199 (US$3,650).

Schobba channels some old-school chopper into its electric cycles [New Atlas]

Quite possibly the best-looking large camping trailer at this year’s CMT show in Stuttgart, Eriba’s new Touring 820 becomes the flagship of the much-loved, six decades-old Touring lineup. The new trailer includes an elegant, comfortable interior to complement its good looks and a standard digital smart home system that offers seamless monitoring via an interior control panel and smartphone app.

The long, sleek shell of the Touring 820 is supported by Eriba’s tried-and-true steel cage construction. Much like a teardrop trailer or Airstream, the aluminum-skinned Eriba Touring’s looks are recognized the world over, helping make the trailer Eriba’s most successful. The 28-foot (8.5-m)-long 820 stretches things out but stays true to the Touring look.

The 820 invites you in with its good looks, and once you step inside the entryway, it makes you want to stay with an elegant interior. The added length and height of the trailer mean that the pop-up roof on smaller Touring models is unnecessary, the 820’s fixed roof offering just over 6.6 feet (2 m) of standing height. The rounded furniture takes inspiration from modern yacht design, and a fully blended array of dark and light materials and finishes creates vibrant contrast throughout. The leather upholstery comes standard.

Eriba carves out a well-defined kitchen nook, the countertop curving upwards into the side wall, which itself rises to the ceiling and wraps over top the cabinetry and counter, splitting the kitchen off into a dedicated space, not just a standing cabinet-style block. Cleanly integrated recessed shelving in the side wall and a slide-out coffeemaker tray keep things neat and clutter-free. The rectangular Thetford dual-burner stove mounted atop the counter adds to the neat, strong aesthetic. A 152-L refrigerator/freezer hangs on the wall just next to the main kitchen area.

The spacious dry bathroom across from the kitchen includes separate shower and toilet/sink sections. The sink area even includes a built-in toothbrush holder, offering some of the organization of home.

The front and rear ends of the trailer are where travelers will spend their leisure time. Up front, the dinette lounge basks in the light rushing through the wraparound windshield. At the rear, the longitudinal V-bed finds a comfortable middle ground between couple’s double and dual singles. The trailer sleeps up to four people when the dinette is converted to a second bed.

Eriba takes a big step into the digital era by equipping the 820 standard with its new Smart Home system, a control/monitoring system accessible from both the built-in digital control panel and an accompanying mobile app. This system lets owners easily manage the levels of battery charge, fresh and waste water, and gas.

Other standard onboard equipment includes a roof-mounted air conditioner, floor heating/hot water system and 50-L fresh water tank. Available options include a solar system and multimedia pack with 32-in TV and satellite connectivity.

Eriba adds smarts to its all-new flagship Touring 820 camping trailer [New Atlas]

The feature will work a lot like the checkout feature for most booking sites. The guest simply sets the time and date that they want to be automatically signed out of that particular Roku device. If you’re a host, you can choose to turn this feature on or off, though we can’t imagine why you wouldn’t use it. Receiving a panicked text from a former guest at 2 a.m., when they realize they’re unable to watch Netflix because your current guest is unwittingly using that account, doesn’t sound like a recipe for a productive day. To enable the feature, your account must have a 4-digit PIN associated with it.

Cleverly, if your guest uses channels that you haven’t downloaded to your Roku, they can add these from the Channel Store, and they’ll be removed from your device once they’ve been automatically signed out, leaving your Roku experience untouched.

It’s been a busy few weeks for the streaming device company. Earlier this month, it revealed that it would be ending its dependence on its devices, with the news that its ad-supported Roku Channel would work directly within the Roku app on iOS and Android. Then, at CES 2019, it launched the first 8K Roku TVs with partner TCL. Most recently, its users became the first people to get access to a new product offering from Sling TV that provides free TV shows from the platform’s channels, and gives people the ability to subscribe to individual à la carte channels, without having to first pay for the full base set of channels.

Roku adds automatic sign-out mode, for those with regular houseguests [Digital Trends]