Science says: Self-driving cars will just ‘cruise’ to avoid paying parking

They say self-driving cars are here to stay, and as time goes on, a large percentage (if not all) cars will be replaced with self-driving machines that use alternative fuel sources. But since we haven’t really seen them implemented on a large scale yet, we don’t know the issues that will come up. Science has something to say about them though, particularly about how they will behave when faced with expensive paid parking (and even cheap parking).

In this case our authority is transportation planner Adam Millard-Ball, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He says that the main reason people don’t all drive in cities is the cost of vehicles, mainly the cost of trying to park them downtown. So when self-driving cars arrive, those cars can just cruise around and that will be more cost effective. Worse yet, because driving slower is even cheaper than just driving around waiting, autonomous cars will “cruise” around the city at very slow speeds. Imagine this at airport pickup spots?

He wrote a report on his research called the “The Autonomous Vehicle Parking Problem” which was published in the current issue of Transport Policy.

Self driving cars will cost around 50 cents per hour when cruising at low speeds, he estimates.

He also noted that it will take only a small amount of cars doing this to cause widespread problems. He estimated that 2000 such autonomous cars in downtown San Francisco could slow all traffic in the area to under 2 miles per hour. He used game theory and micro simulation models to figure this out.

So if we’re definitely getting autonomous cars, what further laws and regulations can we expect from our local governments? Well, Millard-Ball points toward a “congestion pricing” implementation for all cities with any traffic, largely because regulation of driving behavior is seriously hard to regulate and enforce. This means that cities will charge a rate just to drive a car within their bounds. This will of course have to be regulated with monitoring (which of course will have to be funded somehow) of driving behavior everywhere. Cars might be charged around $15 to be inside of a city per day, or different streets might have different rates for access.

Nap Desks – They’re here, but does your work have them yet?

It’s not like we don’t enjoy work at all, but there is also something to be said for the value of sleep. This is especially true when you don’t get enough sleep or when it gets so far as sleep deprivation! Who’s been there?

So this desk was invented by Greek designer Nancy Leivaditou of Studio NL. It’s the “1.6 S.M. of Life Desk” absolutely does. The inspiration for the sleep desk came from Nancy living in a smallish NY apartment for a while.

The construction is composed of lacquered wood, metal, and white leather. A simple design that allows the desk to fit in easily in regular offices, as well as apartments and other homes. How it works: The back of the desk has a cushion, so when that is folded down inside the desk, the cushion faces up.

Nap Desks - They're here, but does your work have them yet?

Tesla electric motorhome – Love or hate it?

When RVing lifestyle meets luxury car features

Telsa started with cars, and then pushed out into another market where they saw potential and need: semi transport trucks, and they’re coming close to putting out a powerful, electric-powered, sleek semi tractor that they’ve already shown publicly. RVing is yet another market where Tesla will likely go, given that it’s a large share of the auto industry. Electric RVs, including electric motorhomes, have already been made, but they’re still limited, because you need so much towing/pushing power for the weights involved in RVing vehicles. Some of the forerunners have already entered the market, including the Nissan All-Electric Camper Van, but they are somewhat limited in distance. Tesla seems to be able to push the boundaries as well as anyone, though. So Tesla Motorhomes, but when?

The design is by NeoMam Studios: “Tesla’s Model X is a mid-sized, electric, luxury SUV that can handle a bit of off-roading. But with its prototype of an electric semi truck, we feel that the brand could easily expand into camping territory. Solar panels on the roof power the living quarters, keeping it one with its environment. And with sleek lines and plenty of windows, you’ll be able to enjoy all the perks of camping, with all the comforts of home.” The design is based directly off what Tesla has already shown in their semi tractor offering. What do you think of the motorhome design? Love it or hate it?

This company is hiring part-time Chocolate tasters

Do you know anyone who wants a job as a Chocolate taster?

The requirements for the job? Just one, according to the company: “A passion for confectionary.” They’re looking for someone to pay $14 per hour to taste and review chocolate. They offer a relaxed set of options for what hours of the week their employee will work. They currently want to find 11 Chocolate tasters for this round of hiring, but they’ve hired Chocolate tasters in years past as well. Competition might be steep, though, as they reportedly received over 1500 applications in one day.

The company is Mondelez International, who have Cadbury Chocolates, Orea, belVita, Milka, and Trident. Oh, and they’re also hiring a Chocolate and Cocoa Beverage Taster.

Rainbow Opal “The most beautiful opal in the world”

Rainbow Opal

How the “most beautiful opal in the world” was found in an old mineshaft

This opal, worth over a million dollars, which catches all the light around it and sends it back to onlooking eyes in a blazing rainbow, is a Belemnite “pipe” that was once a kind of cuttlefish skeleton, and was found in 2007 by one John Dunstand, who had been searching and mining for opals for more than half a century in the deserts of Coober Pedy, Australia. He was searching in an old mineshaft in that area with an excavator, when he noticed the colors of the Rainbow Opal, half still burried in the sandstone around it.

“It showed this beautiful colour on the tip, but it was still in this hard lump of sandstone,” John recounted.  “So we cleaned it off and we could see it was a nice piece, but we didn’t know if it was solid, because a lot of time they’ve got sand in them or intrusions. There was a thick skin on it, like a rusty band around it, so we cleaned that off, and every time we touched it some more colour would come out. It was a true gemstone. I knew it was one of the best ever. You’ll never see another piece like that one, it’s so special. That opal actually glows in the dark – the darker the light, the more colour comes out of it, it’s unbelievable. I’ve done a lot of cutting and polishing [of opals], I’ve been doing it for 50 years, but when you compare it to the other pieces that claim to be the best ever, this one just killed it.”

The “Virgin Rainbow opal” is currently on display in the South Australian Museum opal exhibition in Adelaide, and the photo is by South Australian Museum. The stone is currently up for auction.

4-Door Corvettes

Would you drive a 4-door version of the classic American muscle car?

We’ve familiar with muscle car mixrods, such as the Ford Mach 40, but this is a mix of two of the same car. A company called California Custom Coach in Pasadena made a half dozen of these 4-door Corvettes by taking two 1979 Corvettes, cutting them and half, and putting them together again to stretch out the passenger area. The result: A Chevy Corvette sedan that now comes up on online auctions once in a while for a pretty significant pricetag. Although these may have gone for 300-500,000 in the past, the most recent one went up for around 65,000.

What about a new Corvette 4-door? Yes, designers and Corvette fans have been tinkering with the idea and working on concepts. Would you drive a 4-door muscle car like this? Photos by Ron Kimball.