Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Driverless Van Travelling from Italy to China

Driverless cars have been around for quite a few years now, you've probably seen them on the television navigating test tracks with ease. They are normally like full sized remote control cars or have on board systems which can be pre programed for a set journey. Some are more sophisticated and feature on board cameras and lazers to help them avoid obstacles.

A team of Italian engineers have designed two driverless vans which are so advanced that they are capable of driving on public roads. The team are from VisLab who create artificial vision and intelligent systems at the University of Parma. They have set out on a journey from Italy to China to prove the road worthiness of their robotic vehicles.

The team are expecting to experience problems during the 8,000 mile trip stating ""We will definitely need some help by humans. It is not possible to have 100 percent driverless. This is why I call it a test, not a demonstration." There is no need to worry though, there will be operatives in the drivers seats of the vehicles ready to take over in the event of any technical issues. Each driverless van will follow a traditional human controlled van in convoy.

The Worst Van Advert Ever?

This advert for the 1985 Toyota Van is pretty cringe-worthy particularly the bit where the driver sticks his head out of the sun roof with a drink in his hand. Clearly these were simpler times when a sun roof was something worth mentioning in a commercial.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kent Police Get Stuck Rescuing Man from Security Van

How many Police officers does it take to free a man trapped in a security van? Well according to recent events in Kent at least three officers are needed: two to get trapped themselves and one to phone the security company.

The man in question became trapped in his secure van after accidentally setting off the van's security system designed to protect it from potential armed robbers. As if that wasn't embarrassing enough there was a crowd of eyewitnesses:

"At first we didn't realise what had happened, the alarm on the van was shouting out 'this van is under attack, please call the police, please call the police'. Me and a colleague just thought it was a malfunction, but then I could see the van moving and knew someone was inside."

Things took a turn for the worse once the local police turned up. Two officers managed to get themselves trapped inside the van also without even freeing the driver much to the amusement of the crowd and fellow police officers:

"One managed to find a way into the escape hatch and got inside to see if the guard was OK, but then shut the hatch and got stuck himself. His colleague then somehow managed to get to the front of the van to try and free the pair, but she got stuck in the driver's seat as the doors would not open.

Then lots of coppers turned up and started laughing, but after about 15 minutes one of them had managed to get through to the security company and I believe some sort of pass code was activated to disable the alarm and all were then able to get out. The guard was fine and the police left laughing their heads off."

The fact that nobody managed to free themselves until the security company had provided the pass code goes to show just how secure these vans are. The police are probably just glad that they got trapped inside with the driver and not with an armed robber!

Amazing Solar/Wind Powered Van