[extropy-chat] Fwd: The extropian dream car was Re: [extropians] Aptera 330 MPG hybrid car?

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Mon Jan 23 15:54:19 UTC 2006

I am reposting from extropians - thought it might stimulate a discussion.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
Date: Jan 22, 2006 2:34 PM
Subject: The extropian dream car was Re: [extropians] Aptera 330 MPG hybrid car?
To: extropians at yahoogroups.com

On 1/21/06, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> I presume the old winner looked about as the current one
> http://www.paccar.ethz.ch/pac_car_nogaro?hires
> which is utterly impractical, for the same reason those
> PV-driven solar racers are impractical.

### I am totally unmoved by extreme attempts at improving gas mileage,
since they indeed come at a great cost in practicality.

But, what would be an extropian dream car? Given that extropians want
to get places fast and stay alive for a long time, this machine would
have to combine extreme safety with high speed. I have been thinking
about the ways to achieve substantial risk reductions while increasing
cruising speeds.

First of all, the driver must be enclosed in an impenetrable cockpit -
a windowless sphere of metal stiffened with carbon fiber with thermal
insulation and a supply of air sufficient to survive while the rest of
the car burns down. Secondly, the sphere should be mounted on gimbals
(or a similar arrangement of ball-bearings in a metal cage), so as to
be able to rotate independently of the rest of the chassis - in this
way, in an offset collision the driver would not be subjected to
strong torsional forces. Even more importantly, in a frontal collision
the driver could be oriented in the optimal position along the axis of
deceleration. There are large differences in survivability of
deceleration depending on the direction of it in relation to the
brain. Deceleration of as much as 130 g can be survived without any
major damage, as long as the whole body is decelerated without
allowing significant relative movements of body parts, such as neck
extension or flexion (it was neck flexion that killed Dale Earnhart in
an otherwise trivial accident). This implies that inside the sphere
there must be an active restraint system, similar to the ejection seat
in a jet, that will stabilize all body parts by tying them down to the
seat, and I mean more than a few belts - a whole network of limb,
abdomen, torso, and head restraints would have to be activated moments
before a crash. Finally, the construction of the car outside of the
sphere and its suspension would have to allow a steady deformation
producing the maximal deceleration of the sphere compatible with
survival - from the moment the bumper touches the obstacle to the
moment where the sphere almost touches it, and the part of the car
between the bumper and the sphere is reduced to nothing (e.g. by
controlled disintegration and sideways-ejection of parts). A system of
deformable anchor belts allowing the sphere to slide forward along a
stiff chassis might do the trick as well.

Of course, other changes to the car would have to be made - the driver
would have to use synthetic vision and strictly electronic linkages to
see the road and control the car. Egress would be a bit more
difficult, given the constrains imposed by the spherical cockpit.
These would not be insurmountable.

Assuming a steady deceleration of 130 g = 9.82m/s^2 x 130 = 1276
m/s^2, you could decelerate from 288 km/h (179mph) in 2.5 meters (8.2
feet) to zero, followed by a fuel explosion, and walk away without any
major injury.

Achieving this kind of progress in protecting life *while speeding
like a demon* would be IMO much more extropian than saving gas, which
I think is just techno-wanking.


Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD
Chief Clinical Officer,
Gencia Corporation
706 B Forest St.

Charlottesville, VA 22903

tel: (434) 295-4800

fax: (434) 295-4951

This electronic message transmission contains information from the
biotechnology firm of Gencia Corporation which may be confidential or
privileged. The information is intended to be for the use of the
individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended
recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use
of the contents of this information is prohibited. If you have
received this electronic transmission in error, please notify us by
telephone (434-295-4800) or by electronic mail
(fportell at genciabiotech.com) immediately.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list