June 1st, 2015
Jan Chipchase's Twelve Concepts in Autonomous Mobility is pretty wonderful:
Recently met with the advanced design team of a Japanese client to discuss how autonomous mobility could play out. I've talked publicly about a few of these ideas before – behavioural musings/predictions based on existing practices across markets as diverse as the US, China, Japan and India.
Nookie mode: ensures you don't meet your vehicle when you're out and about until you are ready. This is named after the behaviour of couples who share location with one another to avoid each other on a big out when they may end up with new sexual partners for the night. If the purpose is to hook up the vehicle will increasingly be an option, autonomously driving to minimise discovery. Every car is a potential love-hotel room, albeit with wet wipes rather than great bathing facilities – I would expect them to be significantly impacted by the shorter end of the "short-stay" market, including highly transactional activities such as prostitution.
Hedge-parking: where your vehicle overbooks a number physical parking spaces based on your preferences of timing, location, flexibility and willingness to pay, but is unable to offload the unused spaces on the open market when the time comes to make the choice.
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June 30th, 2014
You might have thought that the Internet Movie Database had cornered the market in film-related data. You'd be wrong. Sometimes the Trivia section of the IMDB just isn't up to the job, and there's nothing for it but to consult the Internet Movie Cars Database. Seriously, this exists and seems to be ridiculously thorough.
For sentimental reasons I asked it for appearances in film and TV by the Vauxhall Chevette and it brought up two pages of results, with screencaps, confirming that between the mid-1970s and the 1980s you couldn't walk up a streets anywhere in the United Kingdom without seeing a Chevette parked. It even had a starring role in an episode of The Likely Lads and a bit part in Christopher Eccleston's season on Doctor Who.
Seriously, I know most of us don't need to use a resource like the Internet Movie Cars Database on a daily basis, but it's good to know that it's out there, being maintained by people who care about making this sort of information freely available to the rest of us.
[Via Matt Patches, talking in the Fighting In The War Room podcast at the 15:36 mark while reviewing David Michod's The Rover. (Not talking about the Vauxhall Chevette specifically, mind, just about the existence of the IMCDb itself.)]
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June 13th, 2014
Volkswagen's Eyes on the road public service announcement is equal parts sneaky and shocking:
I think there's a strong argument that – at least until the combined efforts of Google and Uber get us amateurs out from behind the driving wheel of our cars – all cars should be fitted with devices that block mobile phone or WiFi signals while the engine is turning over. Up until about fifteen or twenty years ago we all managed just fine going out into the world without being in constantly available to our friends, family, babysitter and employers, let alone our Twitter/RSS/Facebook feeds and SMS messages. I'm pretty sure we could all cope with being out of contact with the internet for a couple of hours or so.
June 23rd, 2011
The Russian elite's road rage is quite something, apparently:
When confronted with the growing public outrage over his behavior on the roads, Oscar-winning Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov retold an old pre-revolutionary joke. "A peasant nursed and nursed his anger at his master," Mikhalkov said, "but the master didn't know shit about it." Last month, when Mikhalkov was finally stripped of his migalka — a blue VIP car siren that, when turned on, allows the driver to circumvent all traffic laws — his public bitching about the loss seemed to know no bounds. And it's not hard to understand why: With that blue light flashing, a driver can cut through traffic like an ambulance, and everyone else must scatter.
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January 12th, 2011
Just how fast are Formula 1 cars?
In their defence, I must point out that the road cars sound a lot better.
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July 3rd, 2010
My first thought upon seeing these photos of a restored 1948 Buick Streamliner was – and I mean this as the highest of compliments – that it looks as if it was rendered by Pixar, most likely for The Incredibles.
Can't you just see the Streamliner as Bob Parr's Batmobile?
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January 14th, 2009
Barack Obama's new car is pretty rugged:
Obama's Cadillac has several high tech features, including
- It can withstand rocket impacts and it's perfectly sealed against biochemical attacks.
- Petrol tank: Can withstand a direct hit thanks to a special foam and armor-plating.
- Bodywork: made of dual hardness steel, aluminum, titanium, and ceramics to "break up posible projectiles".
- Tyres: Kevlar-reinforced with steel rims underneath so it can run away no matter what.
- Accessories include: Night vision cameras, pump-action shotguns, tear gas cannons.
- Comes with bottles of blood compatible with the President's blood.
I hope that a matching blood supply is being carried in one of the cars following the presidential limousine; by the sound of things any attack capable of getting past all that armour and drawing blood from the president would probably shake up the presidential vehicle's mobile blood bank up to and beyond breaking point along the way.
John Naughton observes that, given the car's poor performance,
This is one the Top Gear headbangers won't be reviewing. I beg to differ: I'm sure Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond would love to play with it. First they'd play Car Darts with it, then they'd try to cross the Channel, and finally they'd drive it in the wake of a Boeing 747 at full throttle to find out whether it'd roll more times than a Citroën 2CV. Unlike most of the cars they play with, it'd probably survive the experience in one piece.
[Via Memex 1.1]
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