The Porsche 918 can make a claim that other supercars can’t: It’s a blueprint for what everyday sports cars will be like in the next few years. Unlike models in the past, they won’t have huge engines with bad fuel economy. Instead, they will rely on electric motors and quick-charging batteries supplemented by smaller gas engines.
It may be another decade before most ordinary folks use self-driving cars to get around town. But some of us may have already seen them around town, at least: Over the past few years, car companies and other research groups have begun testing their autonomous car technology on public roads, in normal traffic. Here, we've collected news reports of public tests of self-driving cars. Germany's Autobahn and California's Pacific Coast Highway are just a couple of the world's roads that robot cars have traversed.
Ford Motor Company said this morning that it plans to develop a recycled material using the waste of another U.S.-based giant: the H.J. Heinz company. If the project is successful, you may some day see the stems, skin, and otherwise unused tomato parts from ketchup production in your car. Ford is currently in the early stages of exploring how to turn the byproducts of ketchup into composite materials used to make wiring brackets, or a storage bin.
Toyota has donated 208 used Camry Hybrid batteries to Yellowstone National Park to power a cluster of five buildings in the wilderness. Though a couple of hundred batteries is not a lot when compared to the millions in circulation, the altruistic gesture has bigger implications: It shows what can be done with large, expensive battery packs from hybrid and electric vehicles once they’ve outlived their usefulness as a power source for automobiles.
It's a bad idea to drink and drive. No rocket science there. But with the goal of reducing drunken driving, researchers have gone high-tech, creating a laser device that can detect alcohol vapor within a moving car, from alongside the road. After the laser is shone through a speeding vehicle, a mirror bounces it back to a detector that can sense small concentrations of alcohol.