Car Tech

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Getting into your car, turning the key and hearing... nothing is one of the biggest bummers of automobile ownership. Here are some tips on what to do if it happens to you.

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When I was a kid, self-driving cars were the sci-fi future. They were the stuff of Isaac Asimov's Sally and the Johnny Cab from Total Recall. I didn't actually think that they'd ever happen — the concept itself was a long way from reality, a lot more fi than sci. But smarter brains than mine, with the help of some surprisingly old-school tech, have built cars that can drive on everyday roads.

I took a short trip in one, and it was normal. Normal to the point of being bland — which is what you want from a self-driving car.

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The hype around consumer 3D printers has mostly died down, but that hasn't stopped the startup Divergent 3D from barrelling full steam ahead in the industrial printing world. The company debuted the first 3D-printed supercar — the Blade — two years ago and has since continued developing its printing methods. Now, it's working with major industry players like Peugeot and SLM Solutions to use its printing methods at mass scale.

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The future of city driving — at least in theory — sounds amazing. We'll have digital assistants in our vehicles to book last-minute restaurant reservations, and we'll never have to touch a steering wheel again because our cars will drive themselves. At CES, I got a glimpse of how this technology is coming along, and though it was in the context of a carefully designed demo rather than a real-life experience on the city streets, I walked away thinking that a driverless society is a long, long time away.

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If you live less than 50 meters from a major road, you may be more likely to develop dementia.

That's what that results of a recent study looking at 6.6 million people has found, the first to investigate the link between living close to heavy traffic and the onset of major neurodegenerative diseases.

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Video: At CES on Wednesday, Toyota revealed Concept-i, an AI-assisted concept vehicle that uses machine learning to "build a relationship that is meaningful and human". Among other things, this apparently means the ability to wink demurely at its driver.

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In case you haven't heard, self-driving (or 'autonomous', for a very specific value of the word) cars are the Next Big Thing. Every car-maker is working on one, and if they're not, they're looking at companies like Uber and Mobileye and Bosch who are. Ford has its own autonomy plans well underway, and the latest version of its self-driving Fusion Hybrid packs in a bunch more high-tech sensors to understand the world around it in real time.

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Over the weekend, a California-based South Korean celebrity named Ji Chang Son filed a lawsuit against Tesla, which alleged his Model X spontaneously accelerated as he was parking it into his garage, ramming through his living room, and injuring him as well as his son, who was in the car with him.

In a email to Gizmodo, a Tesla spokesperson claimed that before Son filed the suit — which seeks class action status — he "threatened to use his celebrity status in Korea to hurt Tesla" unless the company "agreed to make a financial payment and acknowledge that the vehicle accelerated on its own."

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For most of Cape York, the remote peninsula north of Cairns that runs parallel to the Great Barrier Reef, the nearest major city isn't even in Australia, it's in Papua New Guinea. You know, where head-hunting was a thing up until a couple of decades ago. We just drove through it on the most challenging off-road trail down under.