| 2nd April 2012
Have a good April Fools’ Day on Sunday? Ours was hit and miss – the kids burst into the bedroom screaming that the lounge was on fire at 8am. It wasn’t, of course (It was the kitchen).
It's not all about car leasing, you know. We’re lucky to work in an industry that has a sense of humour. A lot of the world’s leading car manufacturers make a point of putting serious effort into their April Fools’ gags. Think back to last year and Seat’s S.M.A.R.T A.R.S.E. navigation system, Land Rover’s self-levelling tax disc holder and BMW’s ‘royal edition’ M3 coupe.
2011 was a pretty vintage year for car April Fools’ jokes. Could 2012 top it? Below are five of our favourites from yesterday:
Darth Vader TomTom
Darth Vaders voice keeps kids calm in stressful situations
“No... I am your father... Now turn left off Junction 6." Our favourite April Fool crack this year goes to TomTom, for the sheer effort they’ve put into creating a story of absolute nonsense. The joke? That Darth Vader’s navigation voice coming from your trusty TomTom is incredibly relaxing to children, and increases their happiness by upwards of 68 per cent.
“Everything we do is about making journeys better," says Walter Hermsen of VP Product Management in the official press release. “When we found that for 97% of parents, 'crying and unhappy children' is the single biggest source of disturbance in the car, we knew we had to find a solution and Project GAGA was launched.
“Our customers have been telling us for years that their TomTom navigation voice feels like part of the family. Now, it would seem that every family car should have Darth Vader on board to cheer up children and parents alike."
They’ve even gone so far as to create a video showing experiments from their NavLab, complete with kids being used as market research (we’ll admit, it took us a good few minutes to twig that they were actually joking...):
Google’s NASCAR Project
Google want to take the racing world by storm
Google likes to go a little bit further than most when it comes to April Fools Day. Yesterday saw them release no fewer than 14 gags, ranging from interplanetary analytics, teleporting to a business location when you click on a search ad, and Street Roo (a kangaroo with a street view camera taped to its noggin). One of the company’s better efforts yesterday was a project called Google Racing, where they announced they had formed a partnership with NASCAR to form a Google Racing division.
Referencing their (very real) self-driving car project, the official line from Google’s blog reads: “Our autonomous cars have now been test-driven (or rather, test-ridden) for more than 200,000 miles without a single machine-caused mishap. And today we're moving the project one great leap forward with Google Racing, a groundbreaking partnership with NASCAR to help self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing. We think the most important thing computers can do in the next decade is to drive cars—and that the most important thing Google Racing can do in the next decade is drive them, if possible, more quickly than anyone else. Or anything else."
Peugeot’s Mood-Changing Paint
Peugeots paint job is one of this years better April Fools entries
Peugeot’s boffins have created a new psychochromatic paint for their cars that reflects the mood of the driver. Coating an RCZ with the paint, they demonstrate the different colours the car can turn according to the driver in the video’s current state of being. It turns yellow when he’s happy, for instance. Dark blue when he’s serious, and bright red when he accidentally looks down the presenter’s cleavage.
Vince Clisham of Peugeot says (with a straight face): “This really is a world first for motoring, to have developed a paint that accurately reflects the emotion of the driver, will no doubt have our competitors green with envy. Particularly as our customers can experience this innovation behind the wheel of the RCZ – a sports coupé that already inspires goose-bumps with its double-bubble roof line."
Subaru’s Self-Cleaning Car
We thought it was too good to be true
We can't wait to get some new car quotes for this baby! Subaru has taken the time to focus on a real, controversial issue. They want people to beat the impending hosepipe ban (it’s raining outside the office today, by the way) by buying their brand new ‘self-cleaning car’. Its patented AF technology cleans the car at the touch of a button, eliminating the need to fill up bucket after bucket with hot soapy water, time and time again.
“Nanogenerators convert mechanical energy available in the environment into electrical energy, activating safe low-voltage electrical currents on the car’s outer body surface; these currents flow in precise, overlapping patterns to disturb and dissolve micro-attachments on the car’s metalwork, such as dirt and dust," says Subaru’s Professor Ai Lai. Apparently.
Here's the ‘technology’ in action:
Statico’s Motionless Car
The Statico Immotus is at the forefront of British motor technology
It wasn’t just global brands taking the time to mess with people’s minds. Motoring journalists also joined in the fun – specialist auto website MotorTorque.com exclusively announced that British coachbuilder Statico Motors is building a five-door hatchback called the Statico Immotus, a motionless car to combat the efforts of Google’s driverless beasts.
The car boasts 'Active Power Rotary Integrated Lock', which has been heralded as 'motionless technology' by Statico, with a spokesperson saying: "This is the ideal solution for those who wish to fool their neighbours into thinking they have a premium, motioned car in the driveway. Plus, they will not need to pay fuel costs, insurance or road tax on the car. The Immotus will be superb car for getting from A to B. If A and B are in the same place. If not, at least you'll be able to watch a film or listen to some music."
You can read more about the new Statico on MotorTorque’s website.
(Image source: skye_sd)