Posts tagged cars
Posts tagged cars
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel.
In all, fourteen male silkmoths were tested, and they all showed a scary aptitude for steering a robot. In the tests, the moths had to guide the robot towards a source of female sex pheromone. The researchers even introduced a turning bias — where one of the robot’s motors is stronger than the other, causing it to veer to one side — and yet the moths still reached the target.
MOTHS ON TRACKBALLS WILL TAKE OVER THE PLANET
While in San Francisco back in February, I found this piece of art in a weird place: several stories up on the side of a parking garage (links to Google Street View).
The San Francisco Arts Commission wrote it up back in 2002:
Artist Dustin Shuler, who calls himself an “urban hunter of cars” has restored his 1985 public art work “Spider Pelt,” a mounted sculpture of a “skinned” red fiat spider. The Moscone Parking Garage exterior wall faces toward Folsom on Third Street near Howard.
Pretty cool? I thought it was pretty cool.
The photo accompanying this post was taken by Joey Rozier, and you can view it larger on Flickr.
News story from RIA Novosti last week that I only heard about now:
A gigantic traffic jam on the snowbound main highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg that began on Friday was still 34 miles long early in the evening on Sunday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s State Automobile Inspectorate said.
Highway M-10 was hit with three feet of snow late last week causing massive jams in both directions.
“Travel remains stop-and-go for a stretch of between 135 and 190 kilometers (84-118 miles) on M-10 in Tver Region. One lane in each direction is clear of snow. Trucks are moving at roughly 5-10 kilometers per hour (3-6 mph),” the spokesman said, implying that trucks face a travel time of at least 13.5 hours to pass through the jam.
Thirteen and a half hours. Simply absurd.
Matthew Day for the Telegraph:
Spaces in a new car park in the Black Forest town of Triberg now come with male and female symbols. The spaces for women are wider and well lit, while those for men are close to concrete pillars and can only be reversed into.
Explaining the policy, Mayor Gallus Strobel said it was a natural decision because men are better at parking than women.
… Mr Strobel, who denies accusations of sexism, also pointed out that 10 spaces were reserved for women as opposed to just two for men.
See, it’s funny because misogyny.
I am really excited about self-driving cars. I would immediately, directly benefit from them, but aside from the selfish reasons, I’m legitimately excited by what they’ll do for us. People who can’t drive because of age or medical reasons will have easy personal transportation. The millions of hours spent commuting every day can be reclaimed. I can ramble about this for quite a while.
Steven Kopits of Foreign Policy wrote a piece about the economics of electric cars, with a heavy emphasis on what autonomous driving can do for their value. In the piece is an idea I never thought of: self-driving cars don’t need passengers at all:
Many Americans only drive their cars to work, park, and leave them until they drive home at night, making them essentially unavailable for use by others for most of the day. But if the car could drive itself, it could return home to take the children to school, members of the family shopping, and seniors to visit friends or keep appointments. …
If transportation could be purchased as a service, however, this constraint would be lifted. Localities could have a fleet of electric vehicles on call for local trips, allowing EVs to operate within short distances only — just as the typical taxi does.
Can you imagine a fleet of self-driving, municipal taxis? A car sharing system like Zipcar, except that the cars come to you.
Exciting times ahead.
‘Ili: Could it possibly be because cars are fucking expensive?????
Colin: Nope, cars are free just like rent and McDonald’s.
‘Ili: “Super size me.” ::that’s how SUVs were invented::
Colin: “No no like literally. I want to be super sized. Huge.”
‘Ili: “The SUV comes filled with fries.”
From the Belgian organization Responsible Young Drivers comes this prank giving learning drivers first-hand experience of how difficult it is to drive and text at the same time.
Photo by Arnd Wiegmann for Reuters of:
Wood burns in a stove as Pascal Prokop drives his 1990 Volvo 240 station wagon during cold winter weather on a road near the town of Mettmenstetten, south of Zurich
Yes, this man installed a wood-burning stove in his car. He even has a permit!
(Photo via MSNBC’s PhotoBlog, but I recommend you not click through as the piece is just an excuse for terrible puns.)
Hao Nan, China Daily:
The car, a Hongqi HQ3 with full intellectual property rights developed by the National University of Defense Technology, traveled in daytime, taking only three hours and 20 minutes to finish its trip under full computer and sensor control.
“We only set a maximum speed and then left everything to the car itself,” said Dai Bin, a professor in the research team.
“It knew the speed limits, traffic patterns, lane changes and roads using video cameras and radar sensors to detect other cars. It was all controlled by a command center in the trunk,” Dai said.
So cool. I can’t wait for this stuff to come to market.
An excellent tutorial from the 1930’s on the principles and development of the Differential Gear.
I honestly know very little about cars — it never really occurred to me that you’d need to be able to drive the wheels at separate rates like this. However, any engineer will find this video fascinating. And it’s very well produced to boot.