Automobiles

The Cars of the Future are Already Here

Jun 11, 2015
Virginia Tech, Center for Automated Vehicle Systems

Researchers will soon begin testing automated cars on Virginia Roadways. But the advent of truly driverless cars is still pretty far down the road.

On the outside this looks like any normal Cadillac SRX a sleek, a 2013 luxury SUV.  But it’s been retrofitted with screens and sensors.  A small antenna on top with a GPS and Wi-Fi receiver detecting obstacles ahead, in this case, a tester wearing what looks like a construction worker’s vest containing a transmitter. 

Touting the Tiny Car

Apr 28, 2015

With gasoline prices well below three dollars a gallon, large, gas-guzzling vehicles are again selling well.  Last year’s top three were full-sized pick-up trucks that get less than 20 miles to the gallon in city driving.  Jim Phelan doesn’t care. 

The Charlottesville man has fallen in love with something that gets 55 miles to the gallon, and he hopes to sell others on a car most people have never heard of.

There was a time when a license plate simply identified a car, its owner and, in many cases, if it was on the road legally. But now, with advancing technology, it's much more—and a lot of people don't like it.  

Recent published reports indicate that police departments are using license plate scanners without the public’s knowledge—and even when people haven't committed an infraction. 

Lawmakers are trying to decide exactly what police departments and other agencies can do with that information.

The automobile has shaped American culture for more than a hundred years. So how will the coming, so called, driverless cars change us?  Or how will we change them? 

There are many questions about how this new mode of transportation would work. Some of them echo questions of an earlier age, the last time we made a transition in personal transportation.  

The 1942 film, “The Magnificent Ambersons” directed by Orson Wells is set in the early 20th century when the new horseless carriage was about to replace the horse as a mode of transit.

As more commuters turn to bicycles as an alternative method of transportation, lawmakers say everyone must rethink how we take to the roads.

That approach is now reflected in a new law that takes effect on July 1st.  The law will require motorists to allow three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists.

 

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