Instagram user takupon0816 is a constant stream of the most incredible model car dioramas. The weathering and lighting are so spot on that most barely give away they are in fact small scale models and not life-sized photoshoots. Weathering is a big thing in scale modeling with tools and techniques specifically made for it. There are also diorama model museums in Japan dedicated to showcasing the craft.
Today Google unveiled their purpose-built self-driving car prototype, complete with no steering wheel, brake, or gas pedals. You just jump in, and go. The demo video is pretty impressive, and even the funnier Kara Swisher video of her first ride makes it look kind of fun. [more inside]
Police are stumped as to how thieves are breaking into cars holding small unknown devices, even when they are caught on video doing it.
San Francisco Vehicles Cropped to a Square. A cool, quirky gallery of over 100 vehicles parked in San Francisco, arranged by color (be sure to page through them all and notice the color transitions). Includes a few cool shots and a few WTF cars.
This is probably a viral ad for a car and looks slightly digitally altered but it's still quite amusing and amazing at the same time. If only drivers could actually do this. The qashqai car games site has more.
The Extreme Gravity Racing Series: featuring cars from Porsche, Volvo, and mazda among others. Yeah, it's basically soap box derby racing for adults. [via red ferret]
Cities claim taking photos of speeding cars is done for safety, while others have shown it's just for $$$. They say cameras never lie, but when there is money on the line, who knows? Declan McCullagh rounds up a slew of articles about inaccurate speed cameras on roadways around the world.
Electric cars not good for the environment after all (well, not the immediate environment surrounding them)? Thanks to a glitch in the electrical system of a charging Chrysler Gem, supermodel Veronica Webb's home burnt down, taking her dog and almost her husband with it.
The AAA is best known for free maps, 24-hr towing, jumpstarting cars, and now, ruining the environment. Opposing auto pollution controls? Funding highway construction lobbying groups? Against airbags? Did you know what the AAA was really up to?
Another domain battle begins, as the Honda Motor Corp. is suing the owner of honda.net, a fan site owned by a web designer. The owner has his own take on it, and Alan Herrell wrote a nice summary too. Come on Honda, let it go, this is a pointless fight.
I guess this is proof you can web-enable anything. The New York Taxi.com company launched this site to accompany their internet-connected cab which features live shots from the streets of NYC. While not exactly as exciting as HBO's Taxi Cab Confessions, it is an interesting use of the web.
Like some people, I'm obsessed with traffic. I was very happy to hear that Toyota is developing chips to drive smart cars, since groups of people in cars can't seem to drive very well on their own. I've studied traffic for years (living in LA means lots of "time in the lab") and have actually tried no-stopping experiments and observed merging behavior. People seem to use their brakes too much, or over-react to people ahead tapping their brakes. I can't wait until the day traffic flow can be controlled by computer, LA might be livable again. Just to prove to others that this is in fact a thinly-veiled simpsons newsgroup, Homer and Bart benefited from similar driving-assistance technology in episode #AABF13.
Mobiltrak is a company that can monitor what radio stations people are listening to in their cars. Privacy advocates say they're against this because the monitoring takes place without anyone's consent or knowledge, but I think they just don't want people knowing they really love Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.
The Mostly Ruthless Destruction of the 1981 Dodge Omni is a hilarious site mentioned on the glassdog boards. A few guys systematically set out to destroy a worthless old car. I especially enjoyed the side-impact test. After tons of punishment, they eventually just beat the crap out of it and haul it off to a junkyard.
Honda's releasing the first electric-gas hybrid car this year. It claims to get up to 70mpg too. I love innovative vehicles and cutting edge design, but I have to admit I think it's butt ugly (although, this does remind me of my old CRX). I bet they'll want $30k-$50k for it too. So close, yet so far... (update: they want about 20 grand for it - not that bad for an electric/gas car, but it is still just a two-seater)
I stumbled upon the EV world today, a site dedicated to electric car news. They have some good articles, like this one on Nissan's new electric station wagon, and of course they have the requisite Ed Begley Jr. photo on their main page.
Finally, someone sat and wrote down the rules to yelling Shotgun! When I was in high school, only one of my friends had a car and we developed our own intricate set of rules of when you can or can't legally yell Shotgun! and expect to get the front seat. The shotgunrules.com site is more in depth than anything we ever came up with though.
This is one of the stupidest company ideas I've seen in ages. At work yesterday, this company 'Ad Car Us', spammed everyone's car windsheild with a note asking if you'd like to get paid to carry their bumpersticker. If you go to their site, you can see sample images. This is really stupid. Pay people a few bucks to make their cars look ridiculous, what a great revenue model kids.
In the 'Automakers that don't get it' file comes this. Saab USA is spamming people to tell them about their new cars. Great, thanks to Saab USA's inept marketing department, I'll never buy a Saab in my entire life.