The problem with the backseat--really with the whole rear of the car--is that it’s in your way when you’re trying to reverse. So researchers at Keio University in Japan have applied optical camouflage technology to automobiles, making the back seat appear transparent so the driver can see straight through it when backing up.
Five technologies that will shape the cars of the future
By Josh Dean, Seth Fletcher, Seth Porges and Lawrence Ulrich
Posted 08.09.2012 at 12:12 pm 1 Comment
1. THE INTELLIGENT COCKPIT
When J.D. Power released its annual customer-satisfaction survey in June, the issue that most irked American car buyers was not wind noise, inadequate acceleration or anything else related to the actual process of driving. It was unsatisfactory voice recognition. Drivers now expect cars to be rolling information-technology bubbles, and automakers are remaking the driving experience accordingly.
Texting while driving is enough of a problem that it's been pinned as more dangerous than drunk driving, so it was only a matter of time before we started to see technology better able to shut it down. Now on that list: researchers have found a way to detect when a phone is being used in a moving car, then jam it.
The applicant had to drive flawlessly on highways, through neighborhoods, and on the Strip, while Department of Motor Vehicles officials rode along sternly monitoring its skill. When it passed the test, it became the first autonomous vehicle officially licensed to drive on the nation's roads with no human intervention.
Society must make two big leaps in order to enable truly self-driving cars. The first is technological. Engineers need to improve today’s cars (which can warn a driver that he’s drifting out of his lane) beyond current Google and Darpa prototypes (which maintain the lane on their own) to the point where automobiles can edge forward through a construction zone while their owners sleep inside.
GPS devices are great, but sometimes I want to throw mine out the window. There’s something so obnoxious about the Garmin voice, especially when you disregard its navigation choice and it tells you it’s “reCALCulating” in that disapproving tone. A new haptic steering wheel concept would be so much friendlier! Instead of smarmy commentary, the wheel simply vibrates to tell you which way to turn.
As terrifying as this cover is, we won't lie, it's a pretty accurate depiction of how we feel about our vehicles on a bad day. Car maintenance doesn't come naturally to everyone, least of all first-time car owners in the 1920s. This week, we're taking a look at some old school car safety and maintenance tips, mostly from the glory days of stick shift and all that entailed for rookie motorists.
Maps can only get you so far in life — sometimes you need to veer off the beaten path, take the scenic route, or figure out how to get there as the crow flies. Now Google will help you do that. Helicopter View: When Street View and River View just aren’t enough.
A German car nicknamed "heavy drinker" or “boozer” has set a new record for electric vehicle stamina: 1,013 miles on a single charge. The single-seat vehicle’s aerodynamic shape, with the motors integrated into the wheel hubs, helped the car accomplish this feat.
With introspective retrospection, we consider the effects of our trip on transportation in this country
By Pierce Hoover
Posted 08.17.2011 at 11:36 am 5 Comments
On August 11, my son and I completed our summer-long trip across the US in our prototype human-electric hybrid vehicle. Over the course of 71 days, we traveled just over 4,200 miles while consuming about eight dollars in electricity (based on national average kW/hour rates), getting a good dose of exercise along the way as we pushed the pedals to lighten the engine’s load.
Our tiny EV may not be the strongest car on the road, but it may well be one of the most consistent
By Pierce Hoover
Posted 07.27.2011 at 11:18 am 2 Comments
Before starting our summer-long crossing of the United States, I often described it as a coast-to-coast journey. After a couple of weeks on the road at an average of 15 mph, the nomenclature shifted to “cross-country journey,” as the process wasn’t so much about the oceans at either end as the thousands of miles in between.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.