Hybrid car is a term used to describe any car with artifical intelligence. Early versions of the hybrid car could only perform simple tasks, much like a tip calculator on wheels. With advances in modern technology, todays hybrid cars can perform previously unimaginable tasks like talking to you, doing your taxes, and even driving themselves.
The hybrid has actually been around since the early 1900's. The movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was based upon actual events involving the first known hybrid car. A 1908 Ford Model A racer that was capable of flight, could act as a boat, and was capable of concious thought was the centerpiece of the movie. The car was origianally developed by Professor Caractacus Potts and the film was a documentary of his invention of the first hybrid.
The First Hybrids
When Professor Potts was killed by Baroness Bomburst, the wife of a wealthy business man who wanted the car all to herself, the footage from professor Potts experiments were sent to the local media. Through some unfortunate postal service errors , the tapes were accidently sent to Walt Disney. Disney waited until 1961 to release the tapes and passed the film off as a work of pure fantasy to avoid any legal issues that might arise.
After the death of Professor Potts, the hybrid car was forgotten for several years until the idea was picked up again by a man named Professor Brainard. Brainard was enamoured by the movie based on the first hybrid when Disney released it. He was determined to create his own hybrid even though he had no scientific training.
Brainards creation would go on to be immortilized in films such as "The Absent Minded Professor" and "Flubber". The "Flubber Car" as it came to be known, is often the target of skepticism by the scientific community. Dean of Technology at MIT, Professor Guy La'Douche commented on the Flubber car by saying..
While the scientific community has not determined whether or not the Flubber car can be considered a true hybrid, there was another car developed during this time that pushed the hybrid car to the next level.]
The Human Engineered Robotic Brain, or HERB, was invented by German Engineer Dieter Meinsvitch in 1969. The car, a 1963 Volkswagon Bug, was fitted with various sensors and modules which allowed the car to actually drive itself. Even more amazing was the fact that the car could pick up on the drivers emotions and would react accordingly to them. For instance, if the driver was angry, the car would not move to prevent road rage cases.
It is speculated that the development of HERB was funded by the German Secret Service to be used in the event of a possible World War III and that shortly after completing HERB, Meinsvitch had a change of heart and smuggled the vehicle out of Germany where he could re-engineer the vehicle for the good of mankind.
While HERB was an engineering miracle, the world was not quite ready to accept it. Even after Meinsvitch renamed the vehicle Herbie the Love Bug in an attempt to appeal to the hippy culture of the day, sales were few and far between. The main hurdle that Meinsvitch could not get around was the incredible price tag attached to the vehicle. The engineering costs alone to manufacture one HERB was well into the hundreds of thousands.
While there are only a handful of Herbies that survive today, Dieter Meinsvitch is widely regarded as the father of the modern hybrid. Several of the concepts and ideas employed by the original HERB are still being used in automobiles today.
The Dawn of the Modern Hybrid
In 1982, a secret Government orginization called FLAG (Foundation for Law and Government), not to be confused with the gay rights group of the same acronym, Friends of Lesbians and Gays, was founded by Wilton Knight. After years of research, FLAG expanded on the engineering behind HERB and produced a vehicle dubbed "Knight Industries Two Thousand", or KITT.
KITT was a marvel of engineering unlike anything the world had ever seen. Building upon HERB's ability to operate itself, KITT also included a full A.I. brain, and featured a voice synthesizer which allowed the vehicle to communicate with the driver.
Fitted with mulitple weapons systems, KITT was a top secret Government project and was never made available to the general population. Shortly after the develpment of KITT, several 1982 Pontiac Trans Am's were fitted with KITT's voice synthesizer and released to the public for sale as a way to fund FLAG operations. Very few of these survive today. The only known privately owned KITT is owned by Gary Sanning of Plains Mound, California. Gary has stated that he uses the vehicle to "... Piss all the other trekkies off at the Sci-Fi convention and it's even gotten him laid once."
FLAG was disbanded in 1986 and all of KITT's invaluable technology was destroyed. The only surviving advancement from KITT that remains is the voice synthesizer that was offered in the public versions of KITT. This is the same synthesizer that Ford uses to power their Sync technology.
Hybrids are abundant today. Spurred by an ever growing demand from consumers, automobile manufacturers worldwide are pushing the envelope to develop the latest and greatest hybrid technology.
Ford currently leads the pack. Their Focus Hybrid boasts Sync technology, which allows you to communicate with your vehicle. With a simple verbal command, you can order the vehicle to change songs, adjust the temperature in the car, set cruise, and various other non important things. This comes in really handy if your too lazy to complete tasks that up until recently, required you to push a single button.
German manufacturer Mercedes Benz has also recently released vehicles that are capable of parking themselves. Mercedes feels that this will be a huge hit with Asian women who cannot park to save their lives.
The Future and Beyond
With the current trend of "Nothing is Impossible" thinking by automobile manufacturers, it's difficult to speculate where the hybrid will end up. Previously unimaginable possibilities are now very realistic goals.
Bill Greenbaum, columnist for Technology and Stuff magazine states, ..."The sky is the limit. Ideas like cars that transform into fighter jets or a car that can get that coffee stain off your tie before you reach the office are now very real possibilities. I believe that one day, man will reach his ultimate goal. A car that can give you a B.J. while driving you to wherever you want to go."
Several public groups have spoken out against the further development of hybrids. These groups fear that the envelope has been pushed too far and car companies are playing God. Barry Severes, President of the group Neighbors Uniting To Stand Against Hybrid Kinetics, or NUTSAHK, published the following article on the subject in Paranoia Quarterly:
...After months of researching what the Government wants us to believe are "harmless" hybrid vehicles, we at NUTSAHK have determined that these vehicles pose a very real threat to our current way of life.... ...NUTSAHK lead scientist John Forson has watched Terminator 3 eighteen times and has decided that a Robot rebellion is very possible with these Hybrid vehicles.
More level headed groups have pointed out that Hybrid Cars are increasing humanity's dependance on technology. These groups claim this dependance has made our society lazy and stupid. Critics of this accusation point to communities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Uncyclopedia, to prove how reliance on technology does not make people lazy and stupid.
- the postman who mistakenly delivered the tapes to Disney was so distraught he came to work the next day and shot everyone in the office, which, coincidentally, was the first known case of "going postal".
- Magic is gay. Don't think so? Siegfried and Roy. I rest my case.