Saturday, September 6

You Could Drive The Mars Car Off A Cliff

A pneumatic entrant for the XPrize is made from the polymer that cushioned NASA's rovers in soft Mars landing

Not only is this thing safe flying over cliffs, but it will also be able to float through all our flooded cities. And I do see more floods in our future, don't you?

Once the XPCar succeeds in winning the X-Prize this year - and it's certainly got my vote - it will be easier for this outside-the-box startup to get the millions of dollars in funding it needs to turn out what will be a very affordable and practical car. Once in production, because of the novel construction (think blowup) it will probably achieve its target of under $10,000.

This is essentially a giant airbag around you, of course cushioned way down in there is the metal chassis and all those parts needed to keep everything moving along that you would want to be made in metal. But all those parts that don't have to be metal, the're not.

And that makes it super safe for those of us who don't drive as well as we might. Even the steering column is not some hard metal thing that will poke you in the chest like they do now in the event of a crash, because the steering wheel is center mounted on the console and swings out of the way in a crash.

Most of us know that its actually all that metal in cars that is mainly responsible for killing and huting you in crashes. The shrapnel, body compression immobility, lung compression, dismemberment and other serious results of a crash are most often caused by the inflexibility of metal and the permanent deformation of the body of the metal car around or into your body. None of that with this car.

XP Car says it should take two average adults with a high school education, under two hours to inflate and unpack the vehicle. Should you and your friend lack this educational milestone, XP also envisions distribution centers and maybe even stores like Sears or Costco would pick up lots of these flat and assemble them for you, and be responsible for declaring these legal. Come to think of it, perhaps that's a better idea anyway. Your Masters degree is not going to change those closed minds at the DMV when you try and register this thing you put together two hours ago.

These will be electric cars, powered by batteries, fuel cell and combinations of both, capable of speeds up to 120 mph. Of course they will take all your gear, and include your cupholder, your iPod mount and so on, everything you come to expect in a car. Oh, you don't have iPod mounts in your car? Well lets hope the XPrize judges see what I see in the car from Mars.

For Matternetwork