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An Invisible Car? Not a Bad Idea But Also Not a Good Idea

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The invisible Aston Martin from Die Another Day

We’ve heard about driverless cars but what about invisible cars? Crazy as the idea sounds, it’s not a mad man’s dream and they could be here today if we really want them.

In fact they’re already here.

The idea of an invisible car made its first appearance in the 2002 James Bond film “Die Another Day”, starring Pierce Brosnan (as James Bond) and Halle Berry as an American agent. In the movie, James Bond’s Aston Martin which is capable of invisibility or adaptive camouflage as they called it, could take on the look of whatever environment it is parked in, almost flawlessly. The car was introduced to him as usual, by the Quartermaster (Q).

Since then, various types of an invisible car have been spotted on some streets in the developed world. Except that they’re not perfectly invisible. The tyres are usually well exposed and the illusion of invisibility is not so strong.

So this is how the invisible car in Die Another Day works. Other types of the car operate on pretty much the same principle.

The entire surface of the car has been covered in a thin, tight polymer (like rubber) which is capable of displaying images. So the entire surface of the car is in effect, a screen.

Around the car, on the surface, several tiny cameras have been hidden, and each camera produces the images of whatever it captures, on the opposite side of the car.

Image: Die Another Day

For instance if the car is parked with a tree in front of it, the cameras at the front of the car will capture the tree and produce an image of the tree, same size, same colour, same position, ditto ditto on the back of the car.

So from that rear viewpoint, for someone standing behind the car, an image of the lower part of the tree which is blocked by the car, will be displayed to you. The size and position of the image fits very nicely with the real tree (the upper part) such that if you do not look very carefully you will not notice that the lower part of the tree is actually camera footage.

“invisible car” by Mercedes

Interesting huh?

But for all the wow factor that it possesses, the invisible car never really came to the party. You can see how this invisible Mercedes is not so invisible.

Perhaps it would be better if it really isn’t. What social function would cars that can just disappear from view serve? When you think of it, a car that can go invisible is still not a very good idea even though it is not a bad idea.

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