Would The World Be Better If It Was A Giant Bumper Car Palace?

Illustration for article titled Would The World Be Better If It Was A Giant Bumper Car Palace?

All you have to do is fall off of your skateboard and you realize that people are soft, and the rest of the world is hard. What if everything was soft, and cars could float?


Yes, cars today work to maximize the fact that people are soft and everything else is hard. Cars accelerate and decelerate by rubbing their tires against the hard ground. They are made like hard steel cages so that when they hit other hard things, the people strapped down inside aren't hurt.

But what if everything was soft? Could cars work if they were soft all over, and everything else was soft too? This is the very nebulous question that was posed by ZekeStone, Hatebox, Smorgasborg, Ralenti, ryan0640, and Daniel M. Clark when we told the true story of the 1959 Air Car, which was not a Ford as is commonly believed.


My thoughts are that this is a neat idea that would be terrible in practice.

I've seen how hovercrafts handle, accellerate and stop... and as a result, I could see this thing being a noisy nightmare to drive in traffic.


But if you made the cushions big enough, collisions would be low impact, and without damage. Eliminating the fender-bender.



It would basically be bumper cars with a side of hearing damage.


By that rationale we can just put big air cushions on our car and drive carelessly! Not a good idea!



Not quite, since the air-car has no means of traction, both the cars would bounce off one another, further reducing the impact, whereas wheeled (Old-School) cars still have traction from the contact patch.



Until it drifts into a house... unless we put those on air cushions too!


I like where this is going...

Daniel M. Clark

Cars, houses, buildings, traffic lights, pedestrians - let's put everything on a cushion of air! Imagine downtown where everything is just sort of lazily floating around bumping into everything else!


I would love to see a future where cars are soft. I'm not the first person to think of it. I wouldn't mind if everything else was soft too, though if cars were soft enough it might not be an issue. It'd be like living in a marshmallow paradise, only with less diabetes.

What do you think?

Photo Credit: Terreform ONE


Raphael Orlove

Here's a discussion of some of that soft car tech, starting at 20 minutes and 35 seconds into this video. Very cool stuff from MIT.