Sunday, February 12, 2012

Car Hopping

We stopped by the Motor Trend International Car Show this weekend. Neither of us is actually in the market for a car right now but it seemed like a fun thing to do on an otherwise cold and overcast day in February. We spent hours hopping in and out of all kinds of shiny new cars.
Like the Prius with the solar powered ventilation system. According to the Toyota website, the solar panel embedded in the roof powers “an electric fan to draw outside air into, through, and out of the cabin once the inside temperature reaches 68° Fahrenheit. It will lower the cabin temperature to near the outside ambient temperature to help make the cabin more comfortable when reentering the vehicle.”

That was pretty cool.
We saw a movie star car too. The Acura display included a S.H.I E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) edition TL. I haven’t seen the movie but I like the concept of the sound cannon as an accessory.

This month cars were also the cover story by Tom Vanderbilt in Wired magazine. Tom writes that the future of cars that drive themselves is closer than you may think. "GM’s Alan Taub predicts that self-driving cars will be on the road by the decade’s end."

“The more interesting question isn’t when we will let go of the wheel completely but what form and purpose the car will have when we finally do.”

A couple of weeks ago, I was discussing this latest automotive development with Ian Kennedy after the State of the County luncheon. He quickly grasped the significance of this for those late nights out when you don’t have a designated driver. No problem, just pre program the car to take you home when you climb back in.

I was thinking about another benefit. If these predictions hold true, by the time they come to take my car keys away (“Dad, we don’t think you should be driving anymore…”) it won’t matter. Just like a horse, my car will always find its way back to the barn even if I can’t.
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