It wasn't that long ago that every major sports car manufacturer scoffed at the idea of inserting hybrid-electric powertrains into their track-tuned road-rockets. They reasoned electric motors simply don't light anybody's fire. Even if you don't particularly like that argument, it's a fair one. There really isn't anything like the sensation of unleashing a howling V8 on the open road, or near a gaggle of awestruck teens in the neighborhood. Performance cars exist to arouse a multitude of senses. Their engines sound amazing.
In the future, getting out of a sticky situation might be as easy as clicking your heels together. Design firm iStrategyLabs just unveiled a prototype system called Dorothy (yeah, that Dorothy) that will fasten to people’s shoes, allowing them to click their heels and end up safely back home in Kansas.
A major selling point of self-driving cars is what they remove from the road: human error, driver exhaustion, distracted driving because someone has to keep reminding the urchins in the backseat that "No, we’re not there yet, and if you keep asking I'm pulling the car over right now." Less attention has been paid to the new capabilities driverless cars will open up, such as traveling at much higher speeds than a human driver could manage. Carmaker Audi claims they just set a speed record for driverless cars, zooming 149 mph around a racing circuit in (of course) Germany.
The problem with cars is that they move. For lenders interested in making sure loan repayments happen on schedule, moving collateral can present an investment risk. Recently, Popular Science reported on how, in an effort to mitigate this risk, repo men are scanning billions of license plates, putting drivers' privacy at risk in order to track down repossessed vehicles.
Picture this: You're on a cross-country road trip with your kids, passing through some dusty corner of Nevada in your self-driving 2030 Chevrolet Lumina. Your car then sends an invisible message across the desert: Three passengers. Two in child seats. Sixth hour without a break. A distant server whirrs, combs through a database of your and your kids' past online behavior, and beams a command back to your car. A grinning clown dances across your windshield and a familiar jingle plays. "McDonalds!" your kids squeal. Suddenly you have lunch plans.