Warning: This Robocar Video is NSFL

It's not safe for living. So please don’t do the precise thing we’re about to show you

1 min read
Warning: This Robocar Video is NSFL
Image: VPmagazin


NSFL: Not Safe For Living

When self-operated elevators were new, certain people—okay, mature people—hesitated to ride them. Other people—okay, little boys—punched every button and then jumped out, squealing with self-satisfaction.
Some things never change: new functions are still getting automated, and little boys are still idiots. 
Here, in a video we freely acknowledge noticing only after  autoblog.com posted it, some anonymous jokers from Germany show off as the backseat drivers of an Infiniti Q50. As we reported at its debut, the Q50 is the world’s first drive-by-wire car, one in which the main connection between the steering wheel and the wheels being steered is digital rather than mechanical.
The car cruises down a curving highway with nothing in charge but a lane-keeping system—a technology intended to help drivers, not replace them. As a commenter at autoblog.com noted, using it as an ersatz human drive is precisely the abuse the new Mercedes-Benz S class prevents by requiring the driver to lay hands on the wheel every dozen seconds or so.
And, yes, the music you hear is the “Ride of the Valkyries,” from Die Walküre, the second opera in Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle. It’s a fine piece of music. But the guys in the backseat of that Infiniti are still idiots.


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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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