Tag: On-the-Road


How a Self-Driving Car Sees the World

Recently I got my drivers license, it took me a year and a half to get it so you can imagine I was pretty happy. It might sound like I’m a bad driver, but in Holland it’s not uncommon to take a lot of time to obtain the permit. Now I’m cruising the decorated highways of the Netherlands in my dad’s car. I learned to shift the gear, to steer and most importantly to drive safe, looking around and pay close attention to everything.

These days learning to shift gears is not necessary anymore, a lot of cars are automatic. And in the nearby future it might not even be required to get the driving license at all, if Google self-driving cars take over.

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The Flying Car

Where did I park my flying car? Dutch company PAL-V Europe NV designed a three-wheeled vehicle somewhere between a motorcycle and a helicopter.

The half-car, half-plane hybrid is built to travel as easily on the road as in the sky, converting from automobile to airplane in ten minutes.

Imagine the of benefits going wherever and whenever you want to, avoiding traffic jams, crossing lakes, rivers or mountain ranges. On the other hand, if flying cars will become generally available, how would a large number of vehicles in the air be regulated? It seems as though this would have to go hand in hand with some sort of new guidance system. Could it be the birth of a new class of means of transport? Peculiar object of the week.

Source: BBC Future

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Updated Next Nature Spotter

Enough bird spotting? Put on your nextnature glasses and start spotting with the updated Next Nature Spotter app for iPhone.

Join us in spotting Next Nature phenomena around the World. Download the free Next Nature Spotter app for iPhone in the iTunes store, and start recording examples of next natural phenomena from your everyday life. Explore the grocery store, the freeway, even your own home in a new light.

The Spotter lets you share and comment on other next nature examples in your neighborhood. It also features a handy blog reader function.

The best spotter is awarded with a free copy of the Next Nature book, and the winning entry will be published on our blog. Better get snapping, though – the last day to submit entries for this round is March 31th.

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Manufactured Animals

Delivery Drones Are Coming

Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos certainly thinks so. In a 60 Minutes interview, he announced that Amazon wants to use octocopters to deliver your order within a half hour at any location you choose.

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Back to the Tribe

Modern Cave Painting

Primitive man lived in caves. He used the surface of these caves as a canvas (*) to make representations of the things that surrounded him: animals and hunting, stories of magic and ritual, which helped him to make sense of the world.

Over the years, his cave has changed quite a bit: today, it comes on four wheels and in bright, shiny colors. In their turn, tribes of other cavemen use them as canvasses for their own art. An art which in itself has become more primitive and abstract, or minimal and conceptual if you want. It doesn’t nessecarily want to tell a story, or say something about the world outside the cave. Rather, it seems to refer to the cave itself. Instead of making representations of magic and rites, the creative act itself has become the ritual. Now drive me back to the tribe!

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Manufactured Animals

Meanwhile on the Savanna

Our peculiar image of the week shows the DARPA Military Robot Bull in a field test. This mobile four legged robot is developed to support troops carry gear through rugged terrain. Unsure if it gives milk. Action movies are available here.

Via Global News Pointer. Thanks Monique.

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Nongenetic Evolution

Automotive Monsoon – Reign or Rain of the Cars?

Try it once. Go stand near a highway, close your eyes and listen carefully. Hear the sound of tires on the asphalt, hear the rhythmic ‘sshhh’, focus on this particular sound. And then, start to imagine you’re in a forest, maybe even a rainforest. Imagine you are standing in the middle of the rain season in a tropical forest. Would the sound of that monsoon be so much different?

As cars spread over the planet, one could speak of the reign of the cars. Most certainly, a lot of people noticed this. But how many noticed the rain of the cars? This sound similarity is particular, and might go even further: Go stand near a highway again, but now find a spot quite near some traffic lights, so a certain rhythm will come over the sound. Again, close your eyes and listen carefully. Again hear the sound of tires on the asphalt, hear the now even more rhythmic ‘sshhh’, again focus on this particular sound. Imagine you’re on a beach, and this rhythmic sound is the sound of the sea. The waves dictate the rhythm, they keep coming and smashing themselves on the beach, fading away as they do.

Car numbers keep increasing. As more cars are fueled with electricity, motor sounds are becoming less common. The sound of tires stays, though. The automotive monsoon stays, and will soon be everywhere. Now, hotels advertize having sea sight, where the sound of the sea has relaxing powers. Will we soon have our holidays with highway sight, for the relaxing rhythm of tire sounds?

Credits for the first part of the movie go to Rudolf Prinsen (YouTube).

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Guided Growth

Desire Paths

Design by planning vs design by doing. Desire paths are unplanned paths grown by the erosion of its use. They emerge as shortcuts where constructed pathways take a circuitous route. Perhaps one day, all our roads will be desire paths.

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