Knox uses familiar characters from her earlier books – including former flames and parents – to test the limits of autobiographical poetry, yet never descends into any kind of distastefulness despite confronting an upturned coyote and Quizno’s parking lot.
From Fiction to Driveway is an investigation into our use and understanding of cars.
1. Invention of the Motor Car
At present, more than 1.4 billion cars are on the road worldwide, making life much simpler than it would otherwise be. Determining who invented the car can be tricky business, though most historians consider Karl Benz’s 1886 Patent-Motorwagen the first practical motor vehicle ever built using an internal combustion engine; it served as a transition between horse-drawn buggies and modern automobiles.
As gas-powered cars surpassed other motor vehicles in sales during the 1900s, manufacturers gradually provided them with ever-more options and features, creating longer and heavier models with increased horsepower, more gadgets, and higher prices for purchase and operation. World War II further compounded this trend through restrictions placed upon automobile production as well as tires and fuel supplies.
2. The Automobile as a Vehicle
Automobiles have long been seen as vehicles for technology innovation. Their history has been greatly shaped by science fiction literature and films like George Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon”, which inspired modern space travel by prompting an industry race to create spaceships capable of leaving Earth.
Now, nearly 590 million cars exist globally – one for every 11 people – making them part of modern society’s fabric.
Cars do have their drawbacks, however; human drivers can become distracted or make errors, while wheels may lose traction over time. Car manufacturers are working to address these concerns through sensors that will alert drivers of danger or other cars nearby.
3. The Automobile as a Tool
Modern society is influenced by various technologies, from communications to home entertainment and space travel. Some technologies have even been directly inspired by science fiction; the cell phone was inspired by Star Trek’s fictional communicator.
Cars play an essential part in science fiction; one such car was the Delorean Time Machine from Back to the Future – one of the most beloved sci-fi cars ever created!
Sci-fi movies often portray cars that can fly, teleport and are driverless as inspiration for automobile design and thinking. We now see an increasing number of automobiles inspired by sci-fi as we see more examples being built every day.
4. The Automobile as a Lifestyle
No doubt about it: the automobile has made a profound mark on society. Its widespread availability has altered job patterns, social interactions and product distribution in profound ways.
Automobiles have also altered where people live, making suburbia possible. Before car ownership became widespread, moving even a few miles could require hours of travel on bumpy roads; now moving a short distance only requires making one quick stop at a car dealership.
However, the impact of automobiles has been mixed; while it has provided new leisure activities and reduced congestion and traffic problems in some ways, its role remains controversial and is a constant source of discussion – reflecting society’s complex relationship with technology.
5. The Automobile as a Technology
So whether it’s riding an alien Skynet Moto-Terminator or taking a DeLorean back through time, modern cars have made science fiction seem increasingly real. At this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), you’ll see several vehicles inspired by science-fiction movies and shows.
Nissan Leaf’s electric drivetrain and self-parking features are inspired by technology seen in Blade Runner. Other futuristic car technologies include onboard diagnostics that give garage mechanics access to important information about your car; shape and motion interpretive software automatically shuts off your engine to avoid collisions with other road users; as well as shape and motion interpretive software which automatically stops it if there’s danger from other road users.
However, it remains uncertain when these technologies will fully become part of everyday driving experience; nevertheless, they will eventually form an integral part of driving safety features and can become part of driving as part of everyday experience.