Category Archives: Trivia

Women Who Revolutionised the Automotive Industry

International Women’s Day is the perfect time to showcase how women have changed the automotive industry. When it comes to vehicles, people are inclined to think of Jamsetji Tata, Henry Ford and other famous men who are behind the most recognisable car brands on the market today. But what many people don’t know is that women are the ones behind many of the revolutionary innovations that forever altered the way we drive and view cars. Over the decades, women have taken huge strides into an industry that is undoubtedly male dominated.

1) Bertha Benz
The business partner and wife of automobile inventor Karl Benz, on 5 August 1888, Bertha Benz was the first person to embark on a motorised journey over a long distance in the history of the automobile. She drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim with her two sons in the Patent Motor Car built by her husband Carl Benz. But she didn’t stop there! Along the trip, Bertha realised the need for brake pads to help the brakes operate to their full potential, becoming the woman behind their invention!

2) Shila Dawre
Shutting down all stereotypes, Shila Dawre became India’s first woman auto driver. With just Rs.12 in hand, she left her hometown and went to Pune to start her incredible journey as a driver. Dawre is recorded in the Limca Book of World Records as the first woman auto-rickshaw driver in the country.

3) Suzanne RD Tata
The wife of Indian businessman Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, Suzanne is known for being the first woman in India to drive a car, in 1905.

4) Vasanthakumari
Vasanthakumari started driving at the age of 14 when she didn’t even have a license while fighting patriarchy and poverty. She went on to become the first female driver with the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation in 1993 with a heavy vehicle license.

5) Mary Barra
Starting her career with General Motors in 1980, Mary Barra started off as a General Motors Institute co-op student. In 2014, within her thirty-nine year career, Barra rose to the role of CEO. She became the first-ever female CEO of a major automaker.

Not only have women fought the patriarchy in the automotive industry, they have also made huge contributions and innovations that made vehicles better and safer.

1.Car Heaters
The next time you get a chill and turn on the heater in your car, you have Margaret Wilcox to thank. She was one of the few female mechanical engineers in the late 1800s and invented a way to direct the warm air from over the engines back into the car.

2. Non-reflective windows
What we know today as non-reflective windows to reduce glare, is thanks to the discovery of Katharine Blodgett. A physicist and chemist at General Electric, Blodgett discovered a way to create an “invisible” glass surface. Her technology was used for camera lenses, movie projectors, submarine periscopes, eyeglasses, computer screens and, of course, windshields.

3. Windshield Wipers
After witnessing trolley drivers stopping to get out and wipe snow or rain from their windows, Mary Anderson designed a manual lever that operated a wiper from inside the car.

4. GPS And Wi-Fi
Invented in the 1940s for use as a secret wartime communication system that could keep the enemy from interfering with a ship’s torpedoes, American-Austrian film actress Hedy Lamarr was responsible for inventing the technology that made GPS and Wi-Fi possible eventually giving us internet-enabled cars.

Did You Know: What do the different road lines indicate?

One of the most common road markings that are ignored by drivers is the road lines. These road markings are the coloured paintings on the roads and help to perform the important function of guiding, regulating and controlling traffic. Especially in a country like India, knowing what these road markings mean and following their rules can make our travels safer and smoother.

What exactly do these markings mean?
Line markings are typically white or yellow. While other colours do exist, white and yellow are the most common ones seen on most roads. Horizontal road signs have the following characteristics:

    – They mark the lanes.
    – Serve as a psychological barrier.
    – They define the directions of traffic.
    – They help drivers with information about the road and the established lanes and areas.

WHITE LINES:
A white line separates lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.

1. Dashed white line
A dashed white line is the most common of all road markings. This line indicates that you are free to change lanes with caution and stay in the other lane. These lines are drawn on either a one-way road or a two-way road where traffic is coming from both sides. A dashed white line allows you to overtake, but only after you have checked for approaching traffic.

2. Solid white line
Solid white lines separate two lanes going in the same direction. However, if the line is solid, this indicates that you should not change lanes and you can’t overtake the vehicle ahead. You can only stay in the lane you are already in.

3. Double solid white line
A double solid white line separates travel lanes and prohibits you from crossing the line. You absolutely cannot change lanes for any reason.
WHITE LINES

YELLOW LINES:
A road with yellow lines in the centre indicates that traffic is travelling in opposite directions.

1. Dashed yellow line
A dashed yellow line indicates that passing is allowed from either direction. If the yellow line is dashed, this means that you are free to pass a slow vehicle in front of you by crossing onto the other side of the road. Using your turn signals to indicate your intent to pass, the opposing lane serves as a temporary additional lane.

2. Single solid yellow line
Yellow lines separate two lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions. If there are two solid yellow lines, this means you are not allowed to pass the car in front of you by crossing into oncoming traffic. A double yellow line indicates that passing is not allowed from either side of the road.

3. Double solid yellow line
If there are double solid yellow lines in the centre of the road, this means you are not allowed to overtake the car in front of you by crossing into oncoming traffic. A double yellow line indicates that passing is not allowed from either side of the road.

4. Combo of a solid yellow line with broken yellow line
If the road has both – a dashed as well as a solid yellow line through the centre, it indicates that passing is only allowed by one direction of traffic. If the line on your side of the road is solid, you cannot pass, even if the other side is dashed. Only the dashed side of the road can pass. To put it simply, if you are driving on the side of the broken line, you can overtake a vehicle in your lane. But if you are driving on the solid line, you cannot overtake.
YELLOW LINES

Ford & McDonalds: The Coffee Cars

Jumping-in to combat climate change, Ford has announced that they are teaming up with McDonalds USA to use coffee waste to make parts for their cars: specifically their headlights.

I know what you’re thinking: cars made out of coffee? What!?

Here’s how it works:
The famous automaker will be taking recycled coffee chaff waste from the fast-food giant. Chaff is the dried skin/husk that is removed from the coffee bean after the roasting process. These are always a bit of a nuisance and mostly discarded afterwards, which makes it the waste of roasting coffee beans.

But as the saying goes, one man’s waste is another man’s treasure and Ford is planning to use a chaff composite for interior car components, and under the hood; because when heated and mixed with plastic and other additives, coffee chaff can be formed into pellets and various other shapes. According to Ford, they will be diverting it from a landfill to its laboratory, where it will be engineered into bioplastics.

According to Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, “McDonald’s commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability.” The first car part to be produced using the chaff will be headlamps. With each headlight installation needing chaffs from about 300,000 beans, McDonald’s USA plans to divert a “significant portion” of its North American coffee chaff to Ford. “Like McDonald’s, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we’re always looking for innovative ways to further that goal,” said Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald’s. “By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy.”

As a result of this partnership, manufacturing the car parts will be 20% lighter, which is better for fuel efficiency and will require 25% less energy during the moulding process than with traditional plastic. In addition to reducing food waste, the effort will use less petroleum and lower CO2 emissions.

Unique Parking Garages in the World

We’ve all had to endure the painstaking process of driving through the lanes, winding around those sharp corners and squeezing into tight spaces as we search for an empty parking spot. In a country like India that has an ever-growing population where malls and shopping locations are always crowded – and admittedly people don’t always park according to the guidelines – finding an empty parking spot can be an arduous task. If only someone could come up with a design like these unique parking garages built across the world.

Autostadt Car Towers
The Autostadt Car Towers have made it into the 2014 BOOK OF GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ with vehicle transport technology that has been recognized as the “ world’s fastest automatic parking system in the world” in the category “extraordinary elevators”. With a record speed of two metres per second, new vehicles are transported – in one minute and 44 seconds from the entrance of the towers to the highest parking space. This makes the fully automated high-rise parking system the fastest in the world.

Marina City
Completed in 1964, these twin towers were well ahead of their time. Marina City was originally designed by Bertrand Goldberg to be a small town square in the heart of the city. The upper half of Marina City is home to 450 different apartments and offices while the lower half is dedicated to parking, with 896 parking spaces per building.

Umihotaru
Built on a 650m manmade island (Kisarazu artificial island) surrounded by 360º of water in the middle of the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, Umihotaru is a bridge/tunnel combination that connects the city of Kawasaki with the city of Kisarazu across the Tokyo Bay. The unique and unusual “Umihotaru Parking Area” is designed in the shape of a cruise liner, stands five levels tall, with parking on levels 1 through 3, and commercial facilities on levels 4 and 5. This is the only shopping mall on the sea where you can enjoy panoramic 360º views of Tokyo Bay, as well as many shops, restaurants and services.

Eureka Car Park
Inspired by the work of Swiss artist Felice Varini – who is well-known for his giant vector art superimposed on buildings, this cavernous concrete car park beneath Melbourne’s Eureka Tower used a 3-D chalk drawing technique to transform regular directions into visual puzzles. The design team painted keywords and directions directly onto the garage walls and floors. The words “In,” “Out,” “Up, ” and “Down” snap into alignment to convey information at key decision-making points along the way; with colour codes such as Red = out, Green = in, blue = up and yellow = down.

Robotic Parking Garage
This parking garage in Dubai is currently the world’s largest robotic parking garage and can handle 250 cars per hour with a 765-vehicle storage facility. Robotic Parking Systems can reduce the land area used for parking by 50% as compared to traditional ramp style parking. The robotic automation ensures that the cars are parked as efficiently as possible. It is the first automated parking garage in the Middle East region.

Herma Parking Building
Looking more like a museum or gallery the luxurious façade holds an unconventionally chic parking garage. Herma Parking Building is located in the subcentre of Yongin City and is designed to feature precision openings spread out across the building. The 853-sq-m structure is covered with five layers of over 635 polycarbonate panels and 930 stainless steel pieces.