Do you like to play golf? If so, you may soon have an advantage driving on California roads.
That's because some automakers are planning to respond to that state's strict rules for zero-emission vehicles by building battery-powered golf-cart lookalikes for use there. Ford says it will do just that, and DaimlerChrysler could do the same. (See story on page 44.)
Golf carts on the roadways! The safety implications alone are so enormous we can only assume they are kidding. But, if Ford and DaimlerChrysler are serious, perhaps they have a higher purpose in mind. Like boosting the slowing economy. They may have a point. Think of the economic implications:
Cosmetics sales. Hundreds—maybe thousands—of vehicles could be putt putting down the street with the drivers hanging one leg out the door, much as they would on a golf course. Suntan-lotion companies could reap a windfall as people seek to protect their pale calves, knees, and thighs from being burned.
Fashion revolution. Haberdashers will get rich as more drivers will want baseball and other kinds of hats and two-tone shoes for the road as well as the links. Singer Michael Jackson will make a comeback, perhaps suing for trademark infringement as drivers tour around wearing just one glove.
New sports franchise. Polo will get a boost as drivers, subconsciously swinging golf clubs out the door as they do on the course, gain a new appreciation for the sport.
If road-worthy golf carts are really the next big thing, we should give a nod to those who saw the trend coming years ago. Marketers at Volkswagen come to mind, with their decision to replace the Rabbit with the Golf. And then there's CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams), the racing consortium that competes with Indy. How clever of them to come up with that name!
The only miscalculation that I can see would be on the part of people who think golf carts on roadways, with all the association they have for vacationing, will make for more relaxed and safer drivers. Have you ever seen a relaxed golfer?
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
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