Self-Driving Flying Cars Could Land in 2018

While several companies are focused on perfecting self-driving technology, the decades-old dream of building a future filled with flying cars has mostly been put on the back burner. According to Discovery News, one company has been working toward both goals at the same time and hopes to have prototypes of a self-driving flying car on and above the roads as early as 2018.

The Woburn, Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia advocates on its website for a “new dimension of freedom.” Since 2006, the company has been working to make flying cars a reality, and in 2013, it introduced the second generation of its Transition model, which more closely resembles a plane with foldable wings and wheels than an actual car. As the Daily Mail reports, a full-sized unmanned prototype of Terrafugia’s other concept vehicle, the TF-X (above), may be ready in two years, but you won’t be able to have one for another eight to 12 years.

A four-seater capable of vertical liftoff, the TF-X will be a hybrid electric car with a 300-horsepower engine that recharges the vehicle's battery and provides a flight range of 500 miles at speeds up to 200 mph. The flying car will also include a parachute system, automatic air traffic and bad weather avoidance capabilities, and emergency auto-landing protocols. The estimated price will be, according to Terrafugia, “consistent with high-end luxury cars,” so you may want to start saving now.

Check out the 3D-rendered simulation video (above) of what TF-X is expected to look like, and read more about Terrafugia’s developments on the company’s website.

[h/t Discovery News]

Banner image via Terrafugia Inc on YouTube

There’s No Safe Amount of Time to Leave a Dog in a Hot Car

We often think of dogs as indomitable and durable animals who can fend off attackers, tirelessly chase Frisbees, and even eat poop without digestive consequences.

It’s true that dogs generally have a solid constitution, but that shouldn’t lead you to believe they can endure one of the biggest mistakes a pet owner can make: Leaving them in a hot car, even for a few minutes, puts a dog’s life at serious risk.

Even on relatively cool days with temperatures around 71.6°F, the inside of a vehicle can reach 116.6°F within an hour, as Quartz highlights.

If it’s a scorching summer heat wave, an 80-degree day will see temperatures get up to 99°F in just 10 minutes; a 90-degree day can turn the car into an oven at 119°F in the same amount of time.

Dogs can't tolerate this kind of heat. As their bodies struggle to cool down, the temperature is often more than they can expel through panting and opening capillaries in the skin. If their body reaches a temperature of 105.8°F, they're at risk of heatstroke, which only half of dogs survive. At 111.2°F, a lack of blood circulation can cause kidney failure and internal bleeding. Brain damage and death is very likely at this point. Depending on the outside temperature, it can happen in as little as six minutes. Cracking windows won't help.

Unless you plan on leaving your vehicle running with the air conditioning on (and we don't recommend that), there’s really no safe amount of time to leave a pet inside. If you do come back to find a listless dog who is unresponsive, it’s best to get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. And if you’re a bystander who sees a dog trapped inside a car, alert the nearest store to try and make an announcement to get the owner back to the vehicle. You can also phone local law enforcement or animal control. In some states, including California, you’re legally allowed to enter a vehicle to rescue a distressed animal.

[h/t Quartz]

Why an Ex-FBI Agent Recommends Wrapping Your Keys in Tinfoil Whenever You Leave Your Car

A car thief doesn't need to get their hands on your keys to break into your vehicle. If you use a wireless, keyless system, or fob, to unlock your car, all they need to do is steal the signal it emits. Luckily there's a tool you can use to protect your fob from hackers that you may already have in your kitchen at home: tinfoil.

Speaking with USA Today, retired FBI agent Holly Hubert said that wrapping car fobs in a layer of foil is the cheapest way to block their sensitive information from anyone who may be trying to access it. Hackers can easily infiltrate your car by using a device to amplify the fob signal or by copying the code it uses. And they don't even need to be in the same room as you to do it: They can hack the fob inside your pocket from the street outside your house or office.

Electronic car theft is a growing problem for automobile manufacturers. Ideally fobs made in the future will come with cyber protection built-in, but until then the best way to keep your car safe is to carry your fob in an electromagnetic field-blocking shield when you go out. Bags made specifically to protect your key fob work better than foil, but they can cost more than $50. If tinfoil is all you can afford, it's better than nothing.

At home, make sure to store your keys in a spot where they will continue to get protection. Dropping them in a metal coffee can is a lot smarter than leaving them out in the open on your kitchen counter.

[h/t USA Today]


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