Saturday, 28 November 2015

Robot Cars/Car Wars/Robocar - take your pick.

Most of the motoring media has picked up on this story this week - but my favourite take on it is from - although this picture has a lot to do with that:
C3PO looks terrified!

Forumla e is getting a support race.

And, being formula e, it's no ordinary support race - the cars will still be electric (of course) but they will also be missing drivers.  It is a race for autonomous cars.

The cars will be (hardware speaking) identical - which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity - but they can worry about that in the future.  The only difference will be the AI software - I'm wondering if that will mean that each race will pan out in the same way but I'm intrigued enough to want to know more.

Not worrying about driver-safety (or driver existence) will impact on the car design but hopefully crowd safety will still play a part.  Remote cut-out switches perhaps?

Post-race interviews will be held with software geeks but, speaking as a software geek, I don't mind that.

In fact, I look forward to getting a phone call from Nicole Scherzinger.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Pilot Error

Actually it's Driver Error - I just happened to find this story whilst flicking through the Virginian Pilot - the prime news source for Norfolk, VA, USA and its environs.

Here's the link.

It tells the story of two young car thieves who chanced upon a Chevrolet Impala sat at the back of a Post Office with the engine running.

The only occupant was an eight-year-old boy.

So they took the car, dropping him off at school on the way.  I suppose as car thieves go, they were either reasonably nice or reasonably inept.  They abandoned the car later on and completely missed the iPhone that had been left in there that was used to trace the car.

The car owner, however, does not seem very nice - to the environment and probably to her employers either - or to her child really.

It seems that every working day she would have to be at work 20 to 30 minutes before he had to be at school, so she parked the car outside the post office where she worked and let him sit inside, with the engine running listening to music.  Then, presumably, she would sneak out of work to drive him to school.  If her employers were not aware of this before, they are now.

The picture with the article is just a boring shot of the Norfolk Post Office:
So here's a picture of my favourite person from Norfolk (albeit the wrong Norfolk for this story) and an Alvis:

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Couple of Daft News Stories

In a difficult week, we need some lighter news.

Last Friday, Car+Driver gave us this story:
It involves a Google Self-Driving car being stopped by a traffic cop in California for driving too slow.  Another reason to dislike these horrible little vehicles.  The Google marketing spin was quite good though:

"We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25mph for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project. After 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!"

Not yet anyway.  They've not yet had their CHiPs.

Talking of Friday 13th and ghosties and googlies, do you know what this is?
Well I'll tell you.

It's a ghost trying to recall.

Just the one.

Literally one car.

Not one model range - one car.

In America.

They have a product recall out on a Rolls-Royce Ghost like this one but with a dodgy airbag labelling issue:
Now, with possibly ineffective airbags, I hope it doesn't go bump in the night.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Lorry Carrying Bleach Shed Its Load at a Notorious Accident Blackspot Today...

Turning it immediately into a notorious accident whitespot.

The BBC have an item on unusual things spilled onto Britain's roads.

I'm not sure they should have included the deaths of 1500 chickens in a light-hearted article but never mind.

I thought this picture looked a bit horrific when you look at where the cab of the tanker is:
I guess the emergency services must have done that though given that, in this article, they state that "nobody was seriously injured."

There were a couple of spillages this month that could have made the list.

The first involved the M4 being shut by handwipes and diesel.  Maybe they used the forner to mop up the latter.

The second was a milk spill on the M42.

Still, you know what they say...

"No point in crying over spilt milk."

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Tesla Time-Up?

Watch out Nikola, there's a new kid on the block.

Another famous physicist:
He may not look as debonair, but he does do an impressive cage:
This is the news that Faraday Future are coming to take on Tesla in the posh electric car market.

Only thing is, nobody really knows who they are.

Here is their Website.

If you look on their website, you will see that they have poached several senior Tesla staff.  Or maybe they haven't - maybe this is a secret offshoot project of Tesla themselves.

They call themselves FF - like the Ferrari - could it be the Fiat/Chrysler Group?

Most speculation, like in this article, backed up by stories from various news sources who charge you to read them, is that it is Apple who are behind this.

After all, on the FF recruitment page, they ask you to "apply" to them.

Sounds very Appley to me.

On a more sensible note, Faraday Future & Apple are both in California (albeit different ends of the State) and it does look like Apple have been hiring hundreds of people to work on their new car slated for a 2019 launch.

Meanwhile, we await the news of Alessandra Volta teaming up with Microsoft: