Cars Are Fast Becoming Smartphones on Wheels

Ga. man builds Batmobile, other custom cars





Remote control: This app, from Delphi, can be used to track a cars position and monitor its engine condition remotely. Most new cars roll off the production line today with as many sensors, computer chips, and lines of code as youd find in a trunk-load of smartphones. Whats more, thanks to deals between carmakers and wireless carriers, cars increasingly come with high-speed, always-on, wireless connectivitysetting up both new kinds of services and a higher potential for distraction and malfeasance. Today, the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., Sprint , announced a service that will let carmakers improve the sophistication of mobile apps that connect with a vehicles onboard computer system. Prototype apps developed for this new platform can send directions from a smartphone to a dashboard navigation system, adjust the air-conditioning system remotely so its cool before the driver gets in, or pinpoint a vehicle in a busy parking lot. The platform, called Sprint Velocity , uses protocols designed for machine-to-machine communications. The Sprint platform also uses software from IBM called MobileFirst to manage communications between a cars systems and outside apps. Such technology could also let cars report conditions to the driver or to manufacturers more regularly. You might, for example, get a reading off a car that indicates that the vehicle is slipping on ice, says Michael Curry, vice president of applications integration middleware at IBM.









Above, a stork photographed doing the same thing six years ago in Budapest, Hungary. Related Stories JFK delay: Sex-starved turtles mate on runway This stork in Germany isnt bringing any bundle of joy. The long-legged, big-billed bird is doing serious damage to cars and homes in Bergholz and scaring the northern German villages residents. RELATED: BLIND GIRL SAVES FRIEND FROM WILD RACCOON ATTACK IN VERMONT How do we protect ourselves? Johanna Preu asked the Nord Kurier newspaper. The bird has taken to attacking cars and glass doors after it sees its reflection. Mistaking its own visage for a rival, it tries to lash out at the image, stork expert Jens Kruger said. RELATED: KAYAKER ATTACKED BY ALLIGATOR IN EVERGLADES Preu, who woke up early Friday morning to the bird attacking her door, isnt the only one. The village mayor said at least four cars have been attacked, with damage from denting estimated around 1,000 on some of the vehicles. We saw the bird hacking away at our family car, Bergholz resident Kerstin Werth told the Kurier.





Not just for the kids: Miniature replicas of classic Aston Martin, Jaguar and Ferrari cars that can be driven by adults at 46mph





They come with a 110cc petrol engine or an electric motor. The motors are created by engineering firm Pocket Classics and their latest 'tribute' models include the AC Cobra and the Jaguar XK120. Scroll down for video Smaller: The miniature Ferrari 250 California Spider cars are pictured (front) with average sized vehicles. They come with a 110cc petrol engine or an electric motor Having fun: Intricate versions of the Aston Martin DB5 and the Ferrari 250 California Spider have been built. The AC Cobra replica is pictured Cruising along: At 7ft 6ins long and 3ft wide, the miniature cars are just big enough for an adult to drive Intricate versions of the Aston Martin DB5 and the Ferrari 250 California Spider have also been built. A full size AC Cobra would cost up to 600,000 but this handmade miniature is priced at 7,995. At 7ft 6ins long and 3ft wide, they are just big enough for an adult to drive. Each model takes the engineering firm approximately three months to build to order. The replicas are fully serviceable and most come with working lights, horn, indicators, adjustable seats and disc brakes. The petrol models deliver 250mpg and have a semi-automatic gear box with three gears, plus reverse. In the showroom: The replicas are fully serviceable and most come with working lights, horn, indicators, adjustable seats and disc brakes From above: They are suitable for children from the age of 10 to drive.





Stork attacks cars, glass doors in German village after seeing its own reflection





Patrick's version took three years to build. Everything on it is custom-made and you can drive it, though it's not easy. If you think a Ferrari or Lamborghini is a head-turner on the street, imagine driving the Batmobile. "That Batmobile is a little bit harder to get out on the street for the simple reason there are so many people just taking videos and pictures and it's hard to change lanes, it's hard to speed up or slow down," Patrick said. "We normally have to have a chase vehicle (in) front, back and sides of it just to keep everything safe. Of course if we drive it, we try and keep the machine guns down inside the car." There are machine guns on the Batmobile that do fire, though they don't fire real bullets. The Batmobile pumps fire and smoke out the back, too. Patrick"s collection doesn't end there. He has built replicas of Eleanor from "Gone in 60 Seconds," Herbie the Love Bug and KITT from "Knight Rider." While Patrick builds the replicas mostly for fun, people can catch some of his creations at community events.