2016’s Top Ten Tech Cars

This is the year you’ll see self-driving car technology reach mass-market vehicles

1 min read
2016’s Top Ten Tech Cars
Photo: Stefan Milev/Wildfoxrunning

“We wanted flying cars; instead we got 140 characters,” is venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s famous credo.

But though a freeway in the sky seems as fantastical as ever, we are going to get something even better: a self-driving car.

Such a robot, fully aware of its environment, with 360-degree vision and peerless driving skills, is a matter of when, not if. Humans’ fascination with these machines seems limitless, even though autonomous cars could turn us into mere cargo. And unlike airborne cars, self-drivers could prevent the 1.2 million deaths caused by traffic accidents every year.

It’s no utopian fantasy. Among our Top Ten Tech Cars this year are a robotic Audi that tears around racetracks like a professional driver and an electric Tesla whose impressive autopilot skills are as close as the nearest showroom.

Booming sales should also help accelerate the technological pace. Americans parked 17.5 million new cars in their driveways in 2015, more than any year in history, and the Chinese bought even more. That left the industry awash in profits and able to spend heavily on R&D to bring pioneering cars and technologies to market.

So, carbon-based life form, the message is clear. If you enjoy driving, get your fill while you can. In our list of the 10 cars that are rocking our technological world, we’ve included more than a few choices to help maximize your motoring pleasure. After all, we’re only human.

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Video Friday: DARPA Subterranean Challenge Final

1 min read

This week we have a special DARPA SubT edition of Video Friday, both because the SubT Final is happening this week and is amazing, and also because (if I'm being honest) the SubT Final is happening this week and is amazing and I've spent all week covering it mostly in a cave with zero access to Internet. Win-win, right? So today, videos to watch are DARPA's recaps of the preliminary competition days, plus (depending on when you're tuning in) a livestream of the prize round highlights, the awards ceremony, and the SubT Summit with roundtable discussions featuring both the Virtual and Systems track teams.

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Making 3D-Printed Objects Feel

3D-printing technique lets objects sense forces applied onto them for new interactive applications

2 min read

Researchers from MIT have developed a method to integrate sensing capabilities into 3D printable structures comprised of repetitive cells, which enables designers to rapidly prototype interactive input devices.


Some varieties of 3D-printed objects can now “feel," using a new technique that builds sensors directly into their materials. This research could lead to novel interactive devices such as intelligent furniture, a new study finds.

The new technique 3D-prints objects made from metamaterials—substances made of grids of repeating cells. When force is applied to a flexible metamaterial, some of their cells may stretch or compress. Electrodes incorporated within these structures can detect the magnitude and direction of these changes in shape, as well as rotation and acceleration.

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NYU Researchers Pave the Way for Future Shared Mobility

The C2SMART Center at NYU is tackling the most pressing issues in urban transportation

5 min read

NYU researchers led by civil and urban engineering professor Joseph Chow are working in the area of micromobility, a category of transit that includes electric bicycles and scooters, which has grown in popularity in cities around the world.


This article is sponsored by NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

The collection of technologies and markets that comprise so-called "shared mobility" now constitutes a $60 billion market, according to some estimates. This enormous growth has at least in part been driven by the aim of reducing vehicle carbon emissions to address climate change concerns.

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