Cars of the past: Sinclair C5 race in Margate

Presenters from Absolute Radio – Andy Bush, Richie Firth, Dave Berry and Matt Dyson – lined-up for The Great British Sinclair C5 Seafront Race in Margate on Tuesday 5 February.

The Isle of Thanet News reported that the legendary 1980s three wheelers were supplied by C5 Alive, a local enthusiasts’ club run by Eddie Green and Neil Brooks, who have restored more than 30 C5s to full working order.

The C5 is a single-seater battery-assisted pedal cycle with a top speed of 20mph, described by inventor Sir Clive Sinclair as “a vehicle, not a car”.

Of 14,000 made, only 5,000 were sold before Sinclair Vehicles went into receivership. The planned follow-ups, the C10 and C15, never made it off the drawing board.

A dystopian vision of polluted London

Recycling company First Mile has released this striking image of how London’s Oxford Street could look if we fail to tackle air pollution.

Two technologies being championed to avoid such a dystopian fate are electric powertrains and route optimisation programmes – both popular concepts in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) design.

However, new research by Adam Millard-Ball, associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, suggests that, rather than solving the issue of congestion in city centres, self-driving cars could exacerbate the problem, creating gridlock.

“Parking prices are what get people out of their cars and on to public transit, but autonomous vehicles have no need to park at all,” he said. “They can get around paying for parking by cruising. They will have every incentive to create havoc.”

According to Interesting Engineering, his paper, The Autonomous Vehicle Problem, estimates that just 2,000 self-driving vehicles in the San Francisco area will slow traffic to less than 2mph – a nightmare scenario.

Telematics combined with smart congestion charging could conceivably negate this undesirable impact, but the study is grist to the mill for those advising stricter regulation of driverless cars.

Park and charge: Hyundai video on EV automated parking

Hyundai has created an eye-catching video to show off its futuristic electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging system.

The film shows a connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) driving itself to a charging bay, being powered up via magnetic induction, and then parking itself in an ordinary bay nearby.

The owner then summons the car using an automated valet parking app on her smartphone.

Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director, has asserted that such systems will enable cities to radically redefine their use of space, with far less land potentially needed for parking spaces .

“Valet parking systems will enable autonomous vehicles to drop passengers at convenient points, after which the vehicle will leave by itself to undertake a further journey, or park out-of-town,” he said.