US endorses self-driving cars, with a catch: Feds want to control tech approval, not states

Lexus SUV Google prototype autonomous vehicle in Mountain View, 2015.  REUTERS

Federal auto safety regulators today said that self-driving cars “will save time, money and lives,” but also sent a clear signal that they want the power to inspect and approve technology before it hits the highways, rather than each U.S. state setting its own safety standards.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on a press call today that a new federal premarket approval system "would require a lot more upfront discussion, dialogue and staffing on our part."

The government's statement today is big news for Uber, Google, Apple, and other Silicon Valley firms pouring millions of R&D dollars into figuring out how to swap human drivers for smart machines, or at least allow us to share control in “semiautonomous” setups.

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Man ticketed for driving 88mph in his DeLorean

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Essex, England police ticketed Nigel Mills, 55, for speeding in his DeLorean. He was apparently going 88mph (although his top speed was 89mph). Mills insists that he "wasn't trying to time travel."

"Me and the rest of my family enjoyed the Back to the Future films," he said about his purchase of the DeLorean. "When I’m out in it a few people recognise it, they slow down and take pictures – drivers take pictures out of their windows or try to film you and I get approached at petrol stations.”

Mills's ticket was tossed out of court when the two officers who cited him didn't show up. Probably because Mills erased them from existence.

(The Guardian) Read the rest

The Cat from Outer Space

Movie trailer for The Cat from Outer Space (1978), directed by Norman Tokar and starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, and Roddy McDowall. I predict a remake in 3... 2... 1....

If you're, er, curious, you can watch it on Amazon Video: The Cat from Outer Space

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Jailed driver used frying pan as replacement steering wheel

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A fellow in Adelaide, Australia was arrested for several traffic offenses including using a modified (and magic-markered) frying pan as a steering wheel. From the South Australia Police:

Further checks revealed the car was unregistered and uninsured and had recently been defected and the defect label had been removed.

The 32-year-old from Adelaide was charged with driving unregistered, uninsured, drive contrary to defect, remove defect label, alter number plate and breach of bail. He has been bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 11 October.

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Jeepneys: souped-up rides from the Philippines

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Jeepneys are the unofficial national vehicle of the Philippines. Originally made from modified surplus US jeeps after World War II by companies like Sarao, they developed into a colorful and stylized form of public transportation. Read the rest

What happens if you try to steal a Rolls-Royce hood ornament?

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This anti-theft feature has apparently been standard on all Rolls-Royce models since 2004. Also, the hood ornament has a name: The Spirit of Ecstasy.

(via Geekologie)

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How not to get stuck in traffic

Of course, the best way to not get stuck in traffic is not to drive anywhere. But if you must, see the above.

And if the topic of traffic piques your interest, BB pal Tom Vanderbilt wrote the book on the matter: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

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Failing car alarm has a great beat

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Incredible camouflage truck for sale

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Available for $1800 OBO in Lynchburg, Virginia:

1984 Chevy shorted in great shape with a perfect camouflaged paintjob. 4 wheel drive like new interior, very clean windows. low miles.

(Craigslist)

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Woman so deep in prayer that she drove right into a house

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A woman in Okaloosa County, Florida was so deep in prayer that she blew through a stop sign and drove right into a house. You can't really blame her though. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, she was so immersed in praying that she had closed her eyes and couldn't have seen the stop sign or the house.

Police cited the 28-year-old for reckless driving and property damage. Thank God nobody was injured.

(NWFDailyNews) Read the rest

Rolls-Royce's futuristic self-driving luxury car

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Revealed yesterday in London, the Rolls-Royce 103EX is the car company's vision for a futuristic luxury autonomous whip. The (way) over-the-top concept car features a massive OLED display, Macassar wood detailing, silk carpeting, and an artificial intelligence named Eleanor.

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Horse (car) unable to "Charge!" (drive) through deeply-flooded road

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A gentleman in England spots, adroitly, that the road ahead is underwater. So he decides, not so adroitly, to "Charge!" The story unfolds from this point as you expect it will. Read the rest

Traffic Simulation lets you create jams and experience the joy of abstract human misery

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Traffic-Simulation.de is exactly what it says it is: a depiction of traffic that you can toy with and bend to your will. A useful reminder that no matter how easy you make it for humans (at least modeled ones) they will turn even the most benign cooperative herd activity into a snarling mess of opportunism and incapacitating self-interest. Read the rest

Brilliant billboard for faux funeral home is anti-texting and driving PSA

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This brilliant billboard on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, Canada is actually a PSA to discourage texting and driving. After this, if Wathan Funeral Home were real, people would be dying to get in. (Sorry.)

Excellent work from the john st. advertising agency and Cieslok Media.

(Adweek) Read the rest

India trying out optical illusion speed bumps

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In India, 11,000 people die each year in automobile accidents tied to potholes or speed bumps, presumably because drivers fly over them, often on purpose. India's minister of road transport, Nitin Gadkari, hopes faux speed bumps will help by encouraging drivers to slow down while reducing the risk when they don't. "We are trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers," Gadkari tweeted along with the image above.

The optical illusions have been tried in other countries, including the US, as I posted back in 2008.

"Initially they were great," Phoenix, Arizona police traffic coordinator officer Terry Sills said at the time. "Until people found out what they were."

(Irish Examiner) Read the rest

Man escapes car stuck on precipice only to be struck by bus

Lost Hill Sheriff's Department/Facebook

A man who almost drove off a mountain precipice escaped from the teetering wreck only to be struck by a passing bus.

On Saturday afternoon, the motorist lost control of his vehicle while driving along Malibu Canyon Road, leading the SUV to dangle off the side of the cliff, according to Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Although the driver managed to climb out of the vehicle, he was then hit by a tour bus that was passing by.

He will be OK, according to reports. It's a good job he was hit, actually, because if he'd noticed the bus, he'd have ran away over the cliff edge only to hover in space for several seconds, notice his predicament, then look plaintively at the viewer for a moment before plunging to his doom. Read the rest

The singing road that plays "America the Beautiful"

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On a stretch of Route 66 between Albuquerque and Tijeras, New Mexico, engineers at Sand Bar Construction, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and the National Geographic Channel installed a series of rumble strips that play “America the Beautiful" as you traverse them at 45 miles per hour. Apparently, the jingle of corporate sponsor Nationwide was originally included in the road's repertoire but it has since been removed. Watch the video above about the installation, meant keep to drivers at a safe speed.

(via TIL)

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