In a message dated 99-06-06 01:27:18 EDT, email@example.com (James Rogers) wrote:
> While safe in a structural sense, I am not so sure such a vehicle would be
As a notorious sports car fanatic, I had to grit my teeth at this. Of course the physics of your post is unassailable, but I find my little fiberglass hotrod increasingly threatened by massive steel SUV behemoths. I sense anarms race of mass going on around me on the freeway. Building light, high-performance (in many senses of the term) cars is more challenging than just welding on more steel, but there are certainly ways to make very light cars very safe: As just a couple of examples, crush zones and air bags are huge advances over the death traps of my youth. (I sat in a beautifully restored 1962 Thunderbird recently and felt threatened by the dashboard while the car was sitting still!)
Thinking up new, higher-tech auto safety systems is a drive-time hobby of mine. I've imagined compressed-gas (or even explosive) reactive crush zones, automatic fire-fighting systems and a whole panoply of intelligent driver-augmentation IT systems, from collision avoidance laser radar warning systems to intelligent emergency management "assistants" that take over more or less control of the car in fast-breaking situations. Of course, as fast as I think of these things, I read about them as just-over-the-horizon developments in actual automobile engineering practice. I'll certainly defend anyone's right to buy and drive an SUV, but they ARE the lowest tech vehicles on the road -- and at a time that can only be characterized as a golden age of automotive engineering and design . . .
Greg Burch <GBurch1@aol.com>----<firstname.lastname@example.org> Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide http://users.aol.com/gburch1 -or- http://members.aol.com/gburch1 "Civilization is protest against nature; progress requires us to take control of evolution." -- Thomas Huxley