Nov
09
2012
2

How will self-driving cars change the world?

self-driving-carResearchers at Google and elsewhere have been having great success with self-driving cars. These cars have already driven hundreds of thousands of miles without being controlled by a human driver. It seems inevitable that self-driving cars will become ubiquitous within a couple of decades. How will this change the world? The first effect of the [more…]

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Jul
01
2012
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What’s the Toyota iQ like to drive?

toyota-iqThe Toyota iQ is a very small car, whose carbon dioxide emissions are so low that it is exempt from road tax in the UK. I recently had a chance to drive one, and it was a much nicer car than I was expecting. The car is short, very short. Less than three meters long. [more…]

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Jan
06
2012
2

How have family cars changed over the past 50 years?

ej-holden-dashboardFifty years ago my family proudly owned a basic-specification blue station wagon made in Australia by General Motors Holden. Today the family car is a basic-specification white people carrier made in Japan by Toyota. How has the family car evolved over that time? Our car of the 1960s had bench seats for six adults (in [more…]

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Feb
19
2011
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What are the major components of a car?

car-ch</p>
<div style=This is a guest post by moa. A passenger automobile vehicle, i.e. a car, is usually used for transporting people although small amounts of cargo can also be carried; specialized cars are used for racing and a myriad of other uses. The primary components can be broadly divided into groups belonging to the body, the [more…]

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Jun
16
2010
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Can I catch Legionnaires disease from my car?

windscreen-washer-reservoirIt was noticed in 2006 that professional drivers were five times as likely to catch Legionnaire’s disease as anyone else, and the UK’s Health Protection Agency set out to find out why. They surveyed the habits of survivors of the disease, and of a control group without the disease. It turned out that those who [more…]

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Feb
22
2010
2

Why do traffic accidents happen?

What caused this? (photo by ZapTheDingbat CC-BY)The Department of Transport (D of T) in the UK produces detailed annual reports on traffic accidents where a person has been injured. When investigating a traffic accident, police will take report any contributory factors which contributed to the collision. Not every accident will have a contributory factor reported, and some may have more than [more…]

Sep
11
2009
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What’s driving like in South Africa?

Wide-open South African roadInternational travellers are sometimes hesitant to drive in another country, but self-drive is a great way to see the highlights of South Africa. Driving is on the left, as in 30% of the world including Japan, Australasia, and the British Isles. Distances are in kilometers, and speeds in kilometers per hour. Your drivers license is [more…]

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Jul
27
2009
3

When was the first Traffic Jam?

A Cairo traffic jam  (photo by Walid Hassanein CC-BY)Traffic Jams: we’ve all experienced them and all hate them. But when did this expression come into use? The first traffic jams probably occurred in the earliest civilizations when farmers carried their produce on carts to sell at the city markets and found themselves all trying to squeeze through the small city gates under the [more…]

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Apr
30
2009
1

Is “Running In” still needed for new cars?

engine-running-inA decade or more ago it was common to see a hand-made sign on the back window of the car ahead saying “Running In”. The car was being driven more slowly than usual, and the sign told you that the driver wouldn’t mind you overtaking them. You don’t see the signs any more, but is [more…]

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Mar
20
2009
1

What’s the best color for a car?

Photo by Jan Tik - CC-BYThe best color for a car depends on your needs. Are you most concerned about safety, comfort, appearance or other factors? Where do you live, and where do you drive? The best automobile color for safety is controversial, although every study seems to agree that the most dangerous colors are black and dark blue, which [more…]

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