The future will be filled with technologies and designs we can scarcely imagine. These ten ludicrous visions of the future culled from our readers minds obviously — as they've been imagined — won't be happening. Thank God.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Auto Power Girl
10.) 1957 Studebaker Astral
Suggested By: tonyola
Why It's Crazy: The Astral was powered by a small nuclear reactor. It had only one wheel, but in proto-Segway fashion, it could gyroscopically balance on it, or hover just above the surface of land or water. It also had a protective energy shield (just like Star Wars) that would have made collisions impossible. Sound too good to be true? You're right. It was. Only one was built, it never got it's teeny-tiny Mr. Fission in the back seat, and that energy shield? Please, the car never even got glass all the way around. Studebaker should have pulled their heads out of the clouds.
Photo credit: Barthworks.com
9.) Turbine-Powered Cars
Suggested By: Wolc
Why It's Crazy: Curtiss-Wright had a concept for a car that travelled at incredibly high speeds on eight-lane highways on a cushion of air, provided by a downward-facing jet engine. GM had its Firebird concepts, powered by gas turbine engines. Dodge famously stuck a turbine engine in a couple of Darts in 1962 and drove them across the country. Today, Jaguar has its C-X75 concept car, powered (in theory) by turbine engines. It's an idea that's been played with for decades, and yet it's just not made its way into real passenger cars. Someday...
Photo credit: Auto Journal
8.) Pod-House-Car Thing
Suggested By: Space Docker
Why It's Crazy: In the future, we may all be required to live in 100 square foot pods, and eat dinner in our car/living rooms. That's not really a future I'm looking forward to. This doesn't really look like that much fun to me. The packaging and design may be cool, but would you really want to live in a fancy-schmancy box? With what certainly will be a slow, boring, beige solar-powered box underneath you? I think not.
Photo credit: io9
7.) Honda PUYO
Suggested By: jvanproy
Why It's Crazy: In Japanese, "puyo" sounds like the phrase that means "touching the vehicle's soft body." Right. The PUYO looks like a Pac-Man ghost, which is convenient, because it's controlled by a joystick, too. It also changes color depending on the driver's mood. The interior of the car is completely covered in some sort of soft fabric that moves and changes shape, depending on the driver's mood. Since when did cars that care how we feel become a thing? I don't need my car to try to make me feel better! In fact, the only way I want to feel better behind the wheel of a car is when it's so much fun to drive, a smile explodes all over my face.
Photo credit: Serious Wheels
6.) Segway/GM PUMA
Suggested By: maximum_sarge
Why It's Crazy: What happens when you take the already ridiculous Segway and put a semi-enclosed, horribly ugly body on it that can fit one-and-a-half people? You get this misguided GM experiment into human mobility. The PUMA is built on the guts of a regular Segway, yet somehow manages to make its riders look even more dumb than they did before. Yes, this is just the prototype (thank God) but the finished product wouldn't look much better: it resembles a coffin on two wheels.
Photo credit: CarsBase
5.) Dymaxion Car
Suggested By: irishman72
Why It's Crazy: In theory, the Dymaxion sounds great. Aerodynamic body, 11-passenger capacity, 30 miles per gallon, top speed around a buck-twenty. Unfortunately, in the real world, it wasn't quite as impressive. It had three wheels, but steered from the single one in the back. This made it prone to rolling over, which it did at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The driver was killed and his two passengers were badly injured. Also, the car never got up to its supposed top speed of 120 miles per hour in the wild: it only ever reached 90. Though I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. Would you want to go 120 mph in a car steered by a single rear wheel?
Photo credit: Marta Herford
4.) Self-Driving Cars
Suggested By: E34 is an underrated E30...
Why It's Crazy: First, they came for our Lotuses. I didn't speak out because I didn't have one. Then, they came for our M3's. I didn't speak out because I figured we'd be better off without them. Then, they came for our highways, and there was no one left to speak out, because there was nothing cool to drive on them anymore. It's bad enough that folks don't want to think about driving while they're behind the wheel of their Camrys, Corollas and Prii, but it's even worse when futurists bring up "self-driving" highways. No one with half a brain wants that. Give me the freedom to drive my own car on the highway, or give me death!
Photo credit: techinfo-4u
3.) Nuclear Powered Cars
Suggested By: Jackie
Why It's Crazy: I know that the 1950's were a different time and all, but it astounds me that nobody raised a red flag and said "Hey hold on guys. Is it really such a good idea to stick a nuclear reactor in the back of a car?" I mean, "A" for optimistic thinking, but "F" for considering the public's driving ability, Ford. Putting a tiny reactor in the backseat is an idea right up there with putting people in flying cars and letting them loose. Can you imagine the highway closures we'd have to deal with while the EPA cleaned up a dozen tiny reactor leaks during rush hour? I'll take a jetpack, but you can keep your Nucleon, Ford.
Photo credit: MojoMag.de
2.) Toyota i-Unit
Suggested By: Pessimippopotamus
Why It's Crazy: The i-Unit looks like something that didn't make the final cut of the new Tron movie. It's a transformable personal mobility device, and it's able to take one of two forms. First, the upright setup, where the driver is sitting up and able to interact with pedestrians and passers-by. Second it had the ability to recline for "high-speed" travel. Unfortunately, it looks ridiculous and is totally impractical.
Photo credit: Robotionary
1.) Mercedes-Benz Biome Concept
Suggested By: Lone
Why It's Crazy: Everything about the Biome is ridiculous. Theoretically, the car collects energy from the sun (somehow; we don't see anything resembling solar panels) and stores it in a fluid called "BioNectar4534." Mercedes also claimed to have developed a way to harness trees' excess energy to convert to BioNectar4534, but strangely don't go into much detail. The car itself is made out of BioFibre, which is stronger than steel when mature, but lighter than any other composites. It's grown in their nursery. Some sort of "DNA" is enclosed in the Mercedes-Benz star on the front of the car, and that affects the way the car grows throughout its lifespan. The whole thing sounds like the basis for a bad horror movie about killer cars grown from trees.
Photo credit: egmCarTech