Rupert Clevely - 1983 Lancia LC2 at the Goodwood 73rd Members Meeting (Photo 1) by Dave Adams Automotive Images on Flickr.

More cars here.

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MARCH 26 - MARY ANDERSON

It’s time to talk about Mary Anderson, the inventor of the windshield wiper! 

Picture it - New York City, 1902. Anderson is traveling on a trolley and notices that her driver is having difficulty navigating through the extreme weather, during which he has to keep the windows open in order to see. Upon witnessing this issue, she begins to sketch designs right there on the streetcar, in order to provide a sensible solution.

After a few scrapped plans, Anderson finally arrives back in her home state of Alabama and comes up with a working model. The mechanism included a rubber blade that was hand-operated by the driver with a lever. 

She applies for (and is granted) a seventeen-year patent for her window cleaning device. She attempts to sell the rights to a Canadian manufacturing firm in 1905, but they turn her down and scoff at the impracticality of the concept, believing that the process of operating the device would distract drivers. 

Though the history of the windshield wiper is murky - and it seems several other individuals developed similar ideas around the same time - the sad truth is that Mary never profited over her original idea, even though her design most closely resembles what was used on early car models.

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Dec. 21, 1937: Stacked cars made a proud monument to Chicago’s superior parking engineering. Two months earlier, New York held an extravagant auto show at the Grand Central Palace, and The New York Times predicted that every third family in the United States would purchase an automobile, new or used, that year. Yet The Times still found a few columns, through the fanfare, to address the looming crisis of adequate parking. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s recommendations, alas, did not include car towers. Photo: The New York Times

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Mumbai-based sculptor and video artist Valay Shende used thousands of reflective stainless steel disks to create this life-size sculpture of a large work truck carrying 22 people. Entitled Transit, the sculpture was created over a period of 18 months in 2010. The metal disks were individually spot-welded together and the truck’s rearview mirrors display video footage of roadways in London, Mumbai and Dubai. Although the truck itself is stationary, looking into its mirrors gives the impression that it’s moving.

Visit Indian Express to learn more about this impressive sculpture, which is currently on exhibit at the Mumbai City Museum.

Valay Shende’s website to check out more of his creations, including other pieces created with this painstaking spot-welding process.

[via Colossal]

When Driver Error Becomes Programming Error

by Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science

Ninety percent of automobile accidents now involve human error. If scientists succeed in producing computer-driven cars, responsibility may shift to programming errors. In that case, who sues whom? Who is liable?

Scientists working on computer-driven cars — so-called autonomous vehicles — are dealing with issues Henry Ford never worried about, and the technology is ahead of the law.

Google has several fully autonomous cars roaming the streets of California.

In some ways it already is happening by steps. Most new cars have anti-lock braking systems, self-adjusting cruise control, traction control, and computers that can slam on the brakes when it detects an imminent collision. The driver just enjoys the ride.

Meanwhile, experimental autonomous cars get better.

Keep reading