Tag Archives | Cars

Nevada To Issue Red Licence Plates For Robot Drivers

robohjStarting this year, check the plates color to know whether the driver of another vehicle is human, or other. Singularity Hub reports:

Other states like Hawaii, Florida, and Oklahoma may follow Nevada’s example, paving the way for robot cars to operate all across the United States.

An extended campaign in Nevada by Google has led to a new host of provisions which will allow automated cars to legally drive in the state. Starting March 1st, 2012 innovators like Google can officially apply for a new kind of robot driver’s license. Automated vehicles will be able to travel the same streets and highways as human drivers, with only a red license plate marking them as robots. Once research on those automated cars is complete (which may take years), the Nevada Department of Motorized Vehicles will issue them a neon green license plate – an indication that the robot drivers are good to go.

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Dynasphere, Forgotten Vehicle Of The Future

Could the Dynasphere have replaced the car? Probably not, but it’s still fun to dream of an alternate world in which it did. Via the Museum of RetroTechnology:

The Dynasphere was invented Dr. J. H. Purves. In the picture below, the son of the inventor is at the controls, and apparently having some difficulties in steering; leaning this monowheel to one side is clearly not going to be easy. The Dynosphere was reported to have reached 30 mph on this run…[and] was said to have weighed 1000 pounds. One eye-witness states: “As a lad one day in the 1930s I went to the beach and saw a man trying to drive a huge wheel across the sands. It wasn’t very successful and wobbled about … I have always wondered what it was or whether I imagined it.”


More on: Museum of RetroTechnology

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Microsoft Creates ‘Avoid Ghetto’ Feature For GPS

ghettoThere are very few areas in the United States in which merely driving through on a main thoroughfare is a serious danger, so personal safety is not what this is about — it’s an app to avoid people of a lower socioeconomic status. Via the Inquisitr:

Microsoft Corporation is taking heat for a patent it filed for what is being called the “Avoid Ghetto” GPS App. The app esentially links up with your GPS or Smartphone and when you are approaching an area that, based on crime statistics or racial make-up, is deemed undesirable it gives you directions around it.

Sarah E. Chinn, author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism, made an interesting point where she stressed that even though it may give people less of a nervous feeling to not get lost and wind up in a really bad neighborhood, the vast majority of crime is committed by people that know each other so this app would not really improve driver safety.

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The True Cost of Commuting


Photo: Minesweeper (CC)

Via Mr. Money Mustache:

It was a beautiful evening in my neighborhood, and I was enjoying one of my giant homebrews on a deck chair I had placed in the middle of the street, as part of a nearby block’s Annual Street Party.

I was talking to a couple I had just met, and the topic turned to the beauty of the neighborhood. “Wow, I didn’t even realize this area was here”, the guy said, “It’s beautiful and old and the trees are giant and all of families hang out together outside as if it were still 1950!”. “Yeah”, said his wife, “We should really move here!”.

Then the discussion turned to the comparatively affordable housing, and the other benefits of living in my particular town. By the end of it, these people were verbally working out the details of a potential move within just a few months.

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General Motors’ Anti-Bicycling Advertising Campaign

The League of American Bicyclists highlights a fascinatingly awful, recent (now aborted) ad campaign from General Motors, commanding college students, “Reality sucks. Stop pedaling…start driving”. Yes — tune out the world, stop exercising, go into debt buying a $20,000 pickup truck:

If you are a student looking to add tens of thousands of dollars of long term debt, care little about the environment, and want pay through the nose for insurance, gas, and parking…GM has got a perfect deal for you. Bonus: it’ll make you fat and unhealthy! All you have to do is give up that dorky bicycle that’s easy to use, practically free, gets you some exercise and is actually fun to ride.

In case you were wondering, GM has a fine-sounding corporate responsibility statement: “As a responsible corporate citizen, General Motors is dedicated to protecting human health, natural resources and the global environment.”


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Prescription Drug Use Now Kills More People Than Traffic Accidents

OxyContin Setup

Photo: 51fifty (CC)

Via the Inquisitr:

In 1979 the U.S. Government began tracking drug-related deaths and for the first time those deaths have surpassed the number of traffic fatalities on an annual basis. The most recent statistics which were taken in 2009 shows that 37,485 people died in traffic related accidents while 36,284 people died from drug related activities in a one year period.

Surprisingly the main culprit of those deaths were not street illegal drugs but rather prescription options including Xanax, OxyContin and the main culprit Vicodin which killed more people than cocaine and heroin combined.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times a Santa Barbara sheriff said: “The problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets.”

The study also revealed that traffic related fatalities have actually fallen by a third since the 1970s even as the number of drivers using American roadways continues to increase, while drug related deaths have doubled in the last decade.

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This Vehicle Registration Plate Surveillance System Is a Warning to Us All

Knight RiderNo CCTV has teamed up with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch to challenge the legality of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) [also known as ALPR in North America] camera network in the UK. A complaint has been sent to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) against a so-called ANPR “Ring of Steel” that is being constructed around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire — but for Royston read any town in the UK.


The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has constructed a network of cameras across the country without any public or parliamentary debate. These cameras record the number plate of each and every vehicle that passes, sometimes taking a photograph of the car and its occupants. The number plate is then compared to a “hotlist” of vehicles of interest, and whether or not the plate is on that list (ie a “hit”), all information gathered is stored for between two and five years.… Read the rest

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Americans Growing Tired of Traffic Light Spy Cameras

Traffic Light SpyAlex Johnson writes on MSNBC:

In more than 500 cities and towns in 25 states, silent sentries keep watch over intersections, snapping photos and shooting video of drivers who run red lights. The cameras are on the job in metropolises like Houston and Chicago and in small towns like Selmer, Tenn., population 4,700, where a single camera setup monitors traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and Mulberry Avenue.

One of the places is Los Angeles, where, if the Police Commission gets its way, the red light cameras will have to come down in a few weeks. That puts the nation’s second-largest city at the leading edge of an anti-camera movement that appears to have been gaining traction across the country in recent weeks.

A City Council committee is considering whether to continue the city’s camera contract over the objections of the commission, which voted unanimously to remove the camera system, which shoots video of cars running red lights at 32 of the city’s thousands of intersections.

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