New Vermont bill introduced to permit emoji on license plates

Vermont State Rep. Rebecca White (D-Windsor) introduced legislation in the Vermont House of Representatives that would enable citizens to pick one of six emoji to include on their vehicle's license plates. (Last year, Queensland, Australia also began offering emoji on plates.) The Vermont bill doesn't specify which emoji will be included as choices. From the short form description of bill H.866:

This bill proposes to create a new special registration plate with the choice of one of six emojis in addition to the distinctive number assigned by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or the numerals and letters selected by the registered owner of a vehicle as a vanity plate.

(Engadget)

Modified image based on original by Jaycarlcooper (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Florida men play Uno in the road during a red light

In a prank commenting on bad traffic in Cape Coral, Florida, Paxten Sester and his buddies passed time during a long red light by playing Uno in the middle of the road. Dylan Kjos caught the minute-long gag on video for TikTok and its since gone viral.

"(After a minute,) we rushed back into the truck, thinking that the light was about to change. And we still sat in the truck for about another minute," Kjos said.

According to UPI, "Kjos and his friends said they were aiming to poke fun at the local traffic, which they said is particularly slow during the winter.

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Police accidentally auction off car with big stash of drugs hidden in its bumper

In Thailand, police auctioned off a Honda CRV that had been seized in a drug bust. The buyer spent 586,00 baht (US$19,000) on the vehicle. Later, a mechanic discovered a secret compartment behind the bumper that contained nearly 100,000 amphetamine pills. From the BBC News:

Officials said they would conduct more thorough searches in future.

"According to protocols, we search every vehicle we have received and this case was no exception. However, we couldn't find anything at the time, perhaps because the pills had been well hidden," said Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), according to the Bangkok Post.

image for illustration only: "Ritalin" by Sponge (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

Watch this truck fall through an icy lake and completely vanish

A gentleman attempted to drive his pickup truck across the iced over Big Shag Lake in Marquette County, Michigan. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. From the Mining Journal:

Crossroads Truck Repair and the (Michigan Department of Natural Resources) assessed the scene and advised the driver that they have 72 hours from when the incident occurred to pay to have their vehicle removed from the lake...

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will evaluate the lake after the vehicle’s removal for any fluid cleanup.

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Evidence that a car isn't a pedestrian and probably shouldn't use the pedestrian lane

Yesterday in New York, police spent hours attempting to remove this Honda from the pedestrian lane of the Pulaski Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens. Apparently, it was a stolen car and the driver likely escaped through a window.

(ABC7NY) Read the rest

Marvel at this autonomous, drifting DeLorean

MARTY is the name of this 1981 DeLorean that researchers from Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab customized into a self-driving electric car. Now, Jon Goh and Tushar Goel have augmented MARTY so it's capable of drifting through a complicated driving course with incredible precision. From Stanford:

Conducting research in high-speed, complicated driving conditions like this is a bread-and-butter approach of the Dynamic Design Lab, where mechanical engineer Chris Gerdes and his students steer autonomous cars into challenging driving situations that only the top human drivers can reliably handle. On-board computers measure the car’s response over dozens of runs, and the engineers translate those vehicle dynamics into software that could one day help your car quickly dodge a pedestrian that darts into the road.

Most automated vehicles on the road have been designed to handle simpler cases of driving, such as staying in a lane or maintaining the right distance from other cars.

“We’re trying to develop automated vehicles that can handle emergency maneuvers or slippery surfaces like ice or snow,” Gerdes said. “We’d like to develop automated vehicles that can use all of the friction between the tire and the road to get the car out of harm’s way. We want the car to be able to avoid any accident that’s avoidable within the laws of physics.”

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Tesla Cybertruck in LEGO

BrickinNick created this LEGO model of the new Tesla Cybertruck. BrickinNick posted it to the LEGO Ideas site. If enough people like the design, it could become an actual LEGO product. From the LEGO Ideas specs:

While its design may not be for everyone, many different elements and functions of the Cybertruck lend themselves well to an electrifying LEGO build. At this time, only the frunk (front trunk) and tailgate function. Opening passenger doors, a full interior, fold or slide out ramp, opening charging ports, steering, suspension, the Tesla ATV, and more could all be integrated (and are being worked on for future project updates) making for an incredibly fun building experience. LEGO motorization could even turn this into a truly all-electric vehicle in brick form!

Dimensions: 35.6 cm L x 15.2 cm W x 12.7 cm H (14" L x 6" W x 5" H)

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Don't blink or you'll miss this record-setting 1.82 second Formula 1 pit stop

This is the third time this season that Red Bull Racing broke the pit stop record, this time with a 1.82 second servicing of Max Verstappen's car during yesterday's Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix. I hope robots never take their jobs.

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You can own a "DeLorean" hovercraft

This DIY hovercraft styled like the Doc Brown's DeLorean in the Back to the Future films is up for auction on Bring A Trailer. Current bid is $22,500, half of what maker Matt Riese was asking when I posted last year that the DeLorean was listed on eBay. Apparently he's done quite a bit of work on it since. From Bring A Trailer:

The vehicle was constructed with plywood and fiberglass built over a styrofoam slab. The seller reports it is approximately the size of a DeLorean DMC-12, and the bodywork was recently repainted. Equipment includes gullwing doors, as well as working headlights and side markers. Dummy tail lamps flank the rear-mounted fan.

The seller reports that the vehicle is capable of 31 mph on water under ideal conditions, with speeds in the high twenties being more typical. Hovering in choppy water is not recommended.

More: The Delorean Hovercraft

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Watch a delivery person barely (BARELY!) avoid getting run down by a huge truck

Apparently, July 20, 2019 was that fellow's lucky day. Read the rest

Nothing wrong with duct-taped contraption stopped by cops on motorway

The DIY, duct-taped motorcycle was described as the "most unusual vehicle" Sgt. Stephen Andrews had ever seen in 26 tears of pulling over motorists. But he found that it was roadworthy, had passed its Ministry of Transport inspection, and that the driver had paid his taxes. So on its way it went.

"This is certainly not a vehicle that is seen very often on our roads but after road side inspection we couldn't find anything that would prevent the rider to continue his journey.

"The vehicle was keeping up with other traffic and didn't cause any obstruction to other road users.

"The owner made sure that he fulfilled all the safety regulation as well as keeping the insurance, MOT and tax in date."

I would not drive it on a bumper car rink let alone the highway, but godspeed to whoever created this excellent contraption and braves the M25 in it.

Photo: BCH Road Policing Read the rest

Purposely stalling 20% of cars in Manhattan could trigger total gridlock

If a hacker targeting connected cars in Manhattan could randomly stall 20% of them during rush hour, total gridlock would ensue. “This isn't just bad traffic where you are an hour late. It becomes impossible to get from point A to point B,” says Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Peter Yunker who ran a study on the "cyberphysical risks of hacked internet-connected vehicles." From IEEE Spectrum:

Not all cars on the road would need to be self-driving and Internet-connected for such paralysis to occur. For example, if 40 percent of all cars on the road in Manhattan were online and autonomous, hacking half of those would suffice.

...Cities without large grids—-Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles, to name a few—were more vulnerable to gridlock from such attacks.

Yunker and his colleagues cautioned that they considered only static situations where roads were either blocked or not blocked. Future research with more dynamic models would likely show that blocked roads would spill traffic over into other roads. Given such effects, it might be possible to trigger gridlock by stalling much less than 20 percent of all cars, Yunker says.

image: Shutterstock/View Apart Read the rest

Tank vs Car

Here's what happens when a tank T-bones a car at speed. SPOILER: it is what you likely expect to happen. Read the rest

Sweet new moon rover from Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

No, this isn't a concept design for a Space: 1999 reboot but rather an illustration of the new moon rover in development by Toyota and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Toyota has just signed a three year agreement with JAXA and created a Lunar Exploration Mobility Works department that they will staff up with 30 people in the next few months. Unlike NASA's 1970s Apollo moon buggies, this vehicle will be pressurized so astronauts won't need to wear oxygen-supplying spacesuits when tooling around the lunar surface. It'll be powered by "fuel cell electric vehicle technologies." From Space.com:

If all goes according to plan, Toyota and JAXA will build a full-scale prototype in the 2022 time frame, design the flight model and build and test an engineering model about two years later, and build and test the flight model around 2027.

Launch would follow in 2029.

"The rover will be used for missions to explore the moon's polar regions, with the aim both of investigating the possibility of using the moon's resources ― such as frozen water ― and of acquiring technologies that enable exploration of the surfaces of massive heavenly bodies," Toyota representatives wrote in the statement.

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Enjoy this fantastically weak bike accident insurance scam

From Wuhu in China's Anhui province comes one of the best worst insurance scam attempts ever.

(Newsflare) Read the rest

Motorcyclist shows off until the moment he'd prefer nobody was watching

As Bruce Lee once said, "Showing off is the fool's idea of glory." Read the rest

The world's first Tesla pickup truck

Master maker Simone Giertz and her friends transformed her Tesla Model 3 into an electric pickup truck. Their fake TV commercial is above; build video below. TRUCKLA: Available nowhere. Now.

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