Sound Comparison: Ferrari 458 Challenge vs. 488 GT3

Many have cried sacrilege since the debut of the not-so-naturally aspirated Ferrari 488 family. The model's downsized turbo engine has increased both horsepower and torque significantly over the 458, but some people don't seem to care about that. We recently posted a clip of the 488 GT3 racer flying around track with turbos spooling and whooshing, and now we've stumbled upon footage of the last generation 458 Challenge car. In order to settle some disputes, we're going to pit them against each other to see which you prefer once and for all—high-revving N/A or theatrical forced induction?

First to bat is the old school 458 Challenge. Lightened significantly from the standard Italia model, this car is a no-nonsense screamer that incorporates Ferrari's racing pedigree in a beautiful way. It's clad with carbon fiber and polycarbonate windows to enhance the motorsport feel, and thanks to the 4.5-liter V-8, it catapults to a 9,000 rpm redline. It makes 570 horsepower way up high in the rev range, and thanks to a wonderfully tuned exhaust, it emits a noise like this:

Next up is the 488 GT3, a title-contending machine with a pair of snails. The small displacement 3.9-liter V-8 provides more low-end oomph thanks to its turbochargers and has proven successful in the GT3 series against competition like the Audi R8 LMS and BMW M6. Though not a direct comparison as far as racing spec goes, the testing stands true to the purpose. Listen here as the car whistles and wallops around the circuit.

So which do you prefer? The atmospheric, traditional 458 Challenge or the hardcore 488 GT3? Both have their place, but only one can hold the title of Soundtrack King. Let us know in the comments or on The Drive's Facebook page!

Roads Made of Recycled Plastic Are Being Tested in Britain

A Scotland-based company called MacRebur has come up with a way to create roads that are made of recycled plastic, and are stronger and longer-lasting than normal asphalt-based roads.

The roads are made with a material that MacRebur calls MR6. The MR6 gets mixed with other road-making materials to hold the street together, replacing the need for the oil-based substance known as bitumen. Generally, roads are built of 90 percent rock, sand, and limestone, and 10 percent bitumen—but MacRebur's substance replaces the need for that last wasteful material, according to Inhabitat.

The MR6 is made entirely from waste materials that get mixed into asphalt to create the durable roads. According to MacRebur, roads built with MR6 are less likely to crack than conventional roads; the company says they also lessen tire resistance, which could help improve fuel economy for any vehicles using the roadway.

Currently, the roads are being put down in northwest England in Cumbria County. The first stretch of MR6-infused road was in the driveway of Toby McCartney, MacRebur's founding engineer, according to Inhabitat.

Does Your Vintage Car Need A Modern LED Headlight Upgrade?

This is a short and simple project that anyone with an old car should probably consider. A friend suggested a pair of LED headlights, and I decided to give them a shot. I'd always sort of considered them overkill and perhaps a bit overpriced, but I found a set of American-made Sylvania-branded assemblies on Amazon for just $157 per side and pulled the trigger to give them a shot. With almost 40% less strain on the battery and charging system as an added benefit, the bright lights seem to be worth the cash outlay so far.

I have a big road trip coming up next week, and at least some of that will take place after dark. If these new bulbs help keep me out of trouble on that trip, then I'll consider it a good investment. With my old headlights, the danger was really with oncoming traffic. With modern cars headlights being bright enough to give me a bit of night blindness, they would overpower my headlights and I couldn't see what was on my half of the road at night, and that would last for a split second even after the car had passed. As I mentioned in my road trip piece last week, my 912E and I almost came to a physical dispute with a pack of deer on the highway, because my old headlights were dim and driving at highway speeds at night was overdriving the distance you could see with those sealed beam bulbs. Bullet bitten, let's see what these do.

I waited until after dark to get started on the project so I could do this comparison. The picture above is the light profile of the old sealed beam lights.

This style of headlight is known as a "sugar scoop" for the giant chrome trim ring. That ring comes off with just one screw at the bottom.

The standard 7" round headlight bulb sits inside an aiming mechanism and is held in by a secondary ring that is fastened by three screws. I didn't adjust anything when installing these, as the beams of my headlights seem to be aimed properly, just too dim.

From this point, the new LED assembly just pops in and fastens up the same way the old one came out.

The Sylvania unit I used has a plastic cover that sticks out just a bit from the base, making it sit just a bit further out than the old unit. With this sugar scoop style housing, though, you barely notice.

I waited until sunrise to take this picture of the final result. It doesn't look too bad if you ask me. It's not the prettiest assembly I've ever seen, and it looks just slightly out of place on this old Porsche, but the benefits outweigh the downsides. If you don't believe me, just check out that video at the top of the page.

While I've only driven with these headlights at relatively slow speed for about five minutes, I'll be getting a lot of use out of them in the coming days, and I'm pretty well convinced that they'll do really well. While these headlights are about ten times as expensive as a standard sealed beam might be, it's worth the extra money if it prevents me from getting into a head on collision with an Armadillo as I roll through Texas.

Let BBC Earth Lab Explain The Meaning of Horsepower

The origin of "horsepower" may seem obvious, but it has a lot of details that you may not have known about. It was first coined prior to the Industrial Revolution to determine the amount of work steam engines could perform, and then exploded into a marketing ploy that has remained relevant since the 1800s. James Watt formulated the exact meaning of a horsepower, but it's often forgotten as we use the term so commonly, making its beginnings a bit blurry, so let BBC Earth Lab explain.

The video draws comparisons between the automobile and other machines and creatures that perform work—after all, that's the basis of how horsepower is measured. Farmers often used the term to decide how many horses it would take to haul a load—whether it be equipment, grain, or other crops—and it quickly gained popularity once its specifics were sorted out. Famed scientist Watt determined that horsepower would be defined as one horse's ability to pull 75 kilograms at the rate of one meter per second, characterizing the measurement for the masses.

It was then picked up by those who sold products that performed the work of many horses, like steam engines, who boasted seemingly astronomical figures. Whereas today we normally associate horsepower with speed, it started out as a work-focused calculation. Use of the figure has now exploded as auto manufacturers battle for high-horsepower numbers in an effort to sell more cars.

Watch as BBC's Greg Foot gives a quick history lesson on the unit's beginnings.

Mercedes-Benz’s Famous High-Banked Test Track Turns 50

Manufacturer test tracks are playgrounds for both engineers and enthusiasts alike, with sections to simulate nearly every conceivable road condition—and push their cars to the limit and beyond. Given the work-in-progress nature of the new models being tested they're usually off-limits to the public, but some are so unique they manage to capture the collective imagination of the automotive res publica. General Motors has its collage of famous corners at the Milford Proving Grounds, and Volkswagen rocks a five-mile straight at Ehra-Lessien, but Mercedes-Benz wants you to know its iconic 90-degree banked curve is still alive and kicking as it celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

By the mid-1950s, things were looking up for European automakers as the continent recovered from World War II. Mercedes-Benz in particular had a good little business going between the sublime 300SL, their dopey little Ponton cars, and a whole range of commercial vehicles that helped power West Germany's new economy. But as their ambitions increased along with their product lines, Daimler executives realized that they lacked a central one-stop testing facility that could handle every car and truck they produced. After receiving approval to develop an oddly-shaped sliver of land shoehorned between the Neckar River and one of their plants in Stuttgart, Mercedes opened the first iteration in 1957.

While that skidpad and its concentric circles of different road surfaces is undoubtedly very nifty, that was basically the extent of it, and Mercedes engineers soon realized they needed a much more comprehensive setup to fully vet the new models that were already in the pipeline by the late 1950's. After almost a decade of development, the updated facility was revealed to the public in the spring of 1967, featuring high-speed straights, new rough-road tracks, a crosswind simulator, steep inclines, and of course that insanely-banked curve, totaling almost 10 miles of testing surfaces.

And yes, believe it or not Mercedes-Benz does send its commercial vehicles around that bend. This video shows a bunch of bus drivers riding along for a testing session in the Tourismo K coach, and things look pretty hairy from the inside as it basically goes horizontal on the attempt. Mercedes notes in its press release that once a car gets above 93 mph, the driver can take their hands off the wheel as the centrifugal force keeps the front wheels pointed straight.

For a little reference, the curve at NASCAR's Bristol Motor Speedway only reaches 36 degrees, while this one goes completely vertical at its top. On approach, it literally looks like you're about to drive into a wall. Mercedes notes the maximum speed on the turn is just shy of 125 mph—any faster than that and drivers are at risk of blacking out from the excessive G-forces.

Over the years Daimler has continued to add on to the facility, including new off-road sections and "whisper asphalt" surface to isolate and test car noise, but the bones unveiled in 1967 are still its most recognizable parts.

Here’s What a $64 Million Supercar Photo Shoot Looks Like

Supercars are the pinnacle of automotive engineering—that's what makes it so painful to think about how so many special edition Aston Martins or 1-of-1 Ferraris end up parked in sterile garages for the vast majority of their existence. To a lot of buyers, they're mainly investments and eye candy to be occasionally paraded around town or a track, then back to climate-controlled storage for another three months. That's why it's so incredibly cool to watch this new video of the U.K.'s Supercar Driver Club's annual "secret meet" and photo shoot earlier this month, featuring 208 modern and classic supercars with a combined value of almost $64 million.

Supercar Driver is Britain's largest club for supercar owners, and their website makes it clear they strongly believe in living up to the "Driver" half of their name. The result is a slate of annual events focused on getting these machines out of their garage bays and into the world, promising participants "a Matchbox toy collection in the metal." And honestly, it's hard to think of a better way to describe the sight of their show-of-force "secret meet" at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire. Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Jaguars, Porches, BMWs, Aston Martins, Audis, TVRs—it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. Not that we're complaining about such a stunning smorgasbord.

The video is full of sweeping, slow-motion shots of the cars parading around the airfield before lining up for the big photo shoot. In case we haven't driven home just how many special cars were involved, check out the list of highlights on their website, or just use your eyes - in the front row alone, there's an Enzo Ferrari, a Porsche 918 Spyder, several F40's, both a Jaguar XJ220 and XJR15, and a Bugatti Chiron smack in the middle. Moving to the second tier there's a boatload of other special editions from Maranello and Stuttgart joined by Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, and McLarens, and if your mind can handle it, another ten rows behind that. Finally, a regal old Hawker Siddeley Nimrod jet brings up the rear. It's basically the ultimate version of that "Justification for Higher Education" garage poster from the eighties.

The event also raised over $16,000 for the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice. Though that might sound like pocket change compared to all those supercars, they'll be fundraising throughout the year at other events on the schedule. We're not sure how they'll be able to top this spectacle, though.

The Biggest Opportunity Everyone Is Missing In Self-Driving Cars

The self-driving car industry is blowin’ it.

The definitions of self-driving—from ADAS to SAE automation levels to the inconsistent nomenclature used by the media—are a semantic disaster concealing a vast opportunity. There is no doubt increasing automation will make driving safer, but the safest possible implementation is one that maximizes human capabilities rather than treating them like a cancer.

Automakers are missing the biggest opportunity to profit from saving lives on what is likely to be a long, gentle ascent to Level 4. It requires tossing the insufficient logic behind L2/L3 semi-autonomy and probably even Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and deploying the same hardware and software being developed for L4 as a way to augment human driving.

Though augmented driving represents a clear break from the current crop of semi-autonomous systems, it’s not without precedent. Aircraft are being transformed by automation just as profoundly as cars, but because there is no impetus to move toward pilotless airliners, flight automation systems have been developed to enhance rather than replace human pilots. By following the example set by the commercial aviation sector, automakers can replace the risks inherent to semi-autonomy with the comprehensive assistance of augmented driving.

The Problem is the Transition Gap

Virtually all criticism of Semi-Autonomy focuses on transitions, meaning the length and nature of the control handoff from the system to a human operator.

Transitions are not the problem.

The flaw in Semi-Autonomous driving is inherent: it temporarily substitutes rather than comprehensively assists. The more it improves, the more human skills decline. Even as it improves, every “failure” is attributed to technology rather than human ignorance of it. Its perceived limitations discourage rather than encourage adoption of any form of automation, including future iterations decreasingly skilled drivers will need most, like L4.

Even if someone could “perfect” transitions the overall safety of partial automation will always remain hostage to the atrophying skills of humans in the loop. As Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger stated in an interview about automation, driver’s education is “a national disgrace.” Human driving skills — especially in the United States — have never been great, and the recent spikein American road deaths suggests they are in decline well in advance of automation’s rise. If semi-autonomous systems continue to focus on replacing these skills rather than enhancing them, they will contribute to the very problem they are supposed to solve.

The “transition gap” between declining skills and rising automation will always exist, as untrained humans will always place more faith in technology (and their skills) than warranted. This gap is inherent to semi-autonomy because it is totally binary: it is on, or it is off. That such systems are safer than the average human driver when engaged makes commercializing them a moral imperative, but since they can never improve as quickly as human skill declines, and since the only solution offered by current thinking is L4, they will remain a conceptual dead end, a snake of safety technology eating its own tail until L4 magically becomes ubiquitous at some future date.

That’s nowhere near the best we can do using all the technologies developed along the way.

The Most Important Lesson of Aviation Has Been Ignored

What is Augmented Driving? It’s the synthesis of concepts pioneered in commercial aviation but so far ignored in automotive. What few examples automakers have tried to follow have been limited to infrastructure and protocols impossible to duplicate on the ground in the near or mid-term, like traffic control and ubiquitous communications/location broadcasting.

Augmented Driving ditches the pipe dreams of V2V and V2I by using technology already in place — like drive-by-wire and the increasingly commoditized radars and cameras already part of ADAS/L2 — and adds the higher-resolution GPS and LIDAR-based maps (almost) everyone will build or buy on the way to L4.

The core of Augmented Driving is a car-based implementation of aviation safety systems called Flight Envelope Protections. Airbus and Boeing have been debating and refining these systems for nearly 40 years. That everyone in self-driving research isn’t intimately familiar with them is a disgrace.

What are Flight Envelope Protections? Here’s the wiki:

“...A human machine interfaceextension of an aircraft’s controlsystem that prevents the pilot of an aircraft from making control commands that would force the aircraft to exceed its structural and aerodynamic operating limits. It is used in some form in all modern commercial fly-by-wire aircraft. Its advantage is that it restricts pilots in emergency situations so they can react quickly without endangering the safety of their aircraft.”

Boeing and Airbus differ over the optimal implementation of Envelope Protections. An Airbus will not allow a pilot to exceed certain bank, roll and pitch angles, regardless of input. A Boeing will, but with deterrent haptic feedback that should shame automotive engineers into retirement. Either type of aircraft, flown properly by a trained pilot, is unlikely to bump up against the protections. An untrained, incompetent or drunk pilot, say, equivalent to most drivers on the road today? Envelope protections are their safety net.

Why don’t we have Driving Envelope Protections (DEP)? We do, in the form of ADAS, but they’re relatively primitive. They exist in the form of Anti-Lock Brakes, Traction Control, Stability Control, and Evasive Steering Assistancesystems, but their intervention is inconsistent and largely invisible to — and misunderstood by — drivers. They are poorly or rarely integrated with peer technologieseven within state-of-the-art ADAS suites like that in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Why should drivers be able to panic steer into a wall clearly indicated by their car’s radar sensors? Or steer into a lane where their Blind Spot Monitoring system has identified a truck?

If we can’t guarantee an improvement in driver training outside of car, let’s move it inside by more closely integrating guardrail technologies with the human driving experience, improving both. Let’s gamify driving in a way that encourages and rewards safer driving, building trust between generations raised on analog driving and the technology that can save them from their own mistakes until L4 arrives.

Driving Envelope Protections Are The Future

No one wants to own a connected Porsche 911 capped at the speed limit for safety, but I would love to own an augmented, very-difficult-to-crash 911 that makes me a safer driver in all conditions, at any speed.

Sound crazy? Here’s what Sully had to say about automation vs augmentation:

“It would be much better — at least at a conceptual level — for humans to have more direct engagement with the operation, and technology to provide guardrails to prevent us from making egregious errors, and to monitor our performance. That would be, in terms of our inherent abilities and limitations, a much better way to go.”

All the pieces of real DEP are falling into place. Add high-resolution maps to ADAS, make driver monitoring systems and hands-on-wheel intervals mandatory, add windshield-mounted Augmented Reality/Head-Up-Displays to improve situational awareness, and you have the L2/3 we need, a system where people will remain sufficiently engaged to resolve edge cases binary L2/3 cannot. Drive well and — like aviation protections — DEP will remain completely invisible. Drive poorly and DEP will catch you.

How precisely would DEP work? What about the UI and UX? That’s for future pieces, but here’s my humorous take on how it might work in a 2036 Porsche 911.

Alex Roy is founder of Geotegic Consulting and the Human Driving Association; editor-at-large at The Drive; host of The Autonocast; co-host of /DRIVE on NBC Sports; and author of The Driver. He has set numerous endurance driving records, including the infamous Cannonball Run record. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram..

The Mysterious Case Of The F-117 Nighthawk’s Flip-Down Radar Locators

The F-117 continues to be one of the most intriguing aircraft ever built, even nearly a decade after it was retired, and close to 30 years after it was originally unveiled to the public. From the Nighthawk's "cloaking device" to its "toxic death" paint job, it seem like some of the most interesting aspects of the F-117's story are the small bits that have largely gone unreported. Maybe one of the most obscure and enigmatic details of the "Black Jet" is an elusive component called the Radar Locating System (RLS). For an aircraft that survives on its stealthy shape and coatings, these flip-down antenna arrays seem to deviate drastically from the F-117's modus operandi. But then again, the impetus for their existence may make more sense than not—that is if they really existed at all.

The F-117's Radar Locating System consists (as far as we know) of a pair of small planar antenna farms located under the aircraft's wings, about ten feet from the wing roots, near their leading edges. The idea behind the system seems to have been that the F-117 pilot, who would normally retract all the jet's antennas when moving into hostile territory to minimize its radar reflectivity, could activate the system and its antennas would pop down into the airstream. Once deployed, they would work as a radar homing and warning receiver (RHWR), not only notifying the pilot of the an enemy radar's presence and type, but also its direction and maybe even its general location.

Based on some accounts, the RLS seems to have been more about using the F-117 for the destruction of enemy air defenses (DEAD) role than just avoiding enemy emitters, and was possibly part of a program that aimed to see the F-117 dynamically go after radar and SAM sites as a secondary mission set. Based on the information available, it may have also had a recording function and could have given the aircraft a secondary signals intelligence collection capability as well.

The only picture of the RLS available.

The picture above is credited to James Goodall—if you don't own James's books, make sure to buy them, and a new one on nuclear fast attack subs is coming out this summer. It is a rare photo of this elusive system. According to one source, the array appears to be set up for spiral omni-directional electronic support measures (ESM) antennas, roughly 50mm in diameter, which are typical for 0.2-18GHZ surveillance coverage, and they can be specifically tuned to different bands. Because of their wide spacing on each side of the jet's wings, the two sensor blocks/arrays coupled with the forward motion of the jet would provide direction finding ability. In other words, at least the threat emitter's bearing could be identified, and possibly its range. This would be especially useful for finding and attacking newer road-mobile SAM systems like the S-300 and SA-11 that were emerging at the same time the F-117 was operating under high secrecy in the Nevada desert.

Today some of the most powerful capabilities that a combat aircraft possesses, especially the stealth kind like the F-22 and F-35, are their abilities to detect, classify and geolocate threat emitters and other components of an enemy's integrated air defense systems (IADS). This is done via antennas placed all around the aircraft, under its stealthy skin. These conformal arrays are tied to high-speed computers that use interferometry, a large threat library, and other methods to give pilots—and even other aircraft connected via data-link within the battlespace—a real time tactical "picture" of the electronic order of battle around them. RLS seems like a very early and somewhat poorly conceived attempt to give the F-117 a fraction of this capability. Because conformal arrays and their composite coverings were not available at the time, the flip-down method was likely used.

The likely problem with the system was that it drastically increased the F-117's radar cross section when in use, as its flip-down antennas compromised the jet's smooth ventral surface. This is an especially bad attribute when it comes to maintaining a very low radar cross section for the critical forward hemisphere of the aircraft. The likely result was the F-117's radar signature bloomed drastically when the RLS was activated. As such, the system would not only blow the Nighthawk's cover, but it would also turn it into a target. Not just that, but it would have only offered a "snapshot" of the electronic threat environment around the F-117 at any given time. That's because the system would need to be retracted quickly, or it would turn the jet into a sitting duck while operating in enemy airspace.

By most accounts, it seems that the system was either just part of a test series, or was only used for a very limited amount of time operationally, and how many jets it was installed on remains an unknown—that is if it ever existed at all.

Some veteran F-117 maintainers seem to remember the quirky RLS trap doors pretty well. They even have mentioned that they were known to sag, which would not only hurt the jet's stealth capabilities, but on dark nights that often were prime operations time for F-117 missions, partially opened RLS doors could be a hazard for maintainers foreheads.

Not just that, but the RLS is prominently featured in the F-117's "Dash One" operating manual. It is not only mentioned, and its abandoned control panel identified, but its location is also shown clearly in a diagram of the jet. You can see the mentions below, and the entire manual is available online here.

Some of the snippets from the F-117's Dash-1 that talk about the RLS.

It has been noted that by 2006, the system was not listed in official hazard and crash responders documents which are posted online here. The diagram showing the RLS doors are still there, but it does not identify it as being something that is accessible like the rest of the aircraft's retractable antenna, so it seems as if the doors were permanently sealed or filled-in at some point in time. This could have occurred during a depot overhaul or upgrade.

While we have a picture, written and first hand accounts of the Radar Locator System, it seems that its existence is still highly doubted by some—including the man that largely oversaw the development of the jet—senior Skunk Works engineer and F-117 program manager Alan Brown.

I chatted at length with Mr. Brown about the F-117 and this obscure, and let's face it, mysterious feature. He was as puzzled as I was. After sending him the picture of it, he was kind enough to respond with his conclusions:

"This picture doesn’t look like anything that was ever put on a F-117A airplane, and as such I am inclined to discount the story entirely. The only possibility to my mind is that the USAF made the modification themselves without Lockheed’s knowledge, but that itself is impossible for me to believe, knowing how well we followed up with the airplane in the field. Lockheed Skunk Works always had a cradle-to-grave philosophy in terms of follow-up with its products in service."

Mr. Brown was even nice enough to contact his successor as F-117 program manager, Sherm Mullin, to see what his thoughts were about the RLS enigma. His reply was just about the same as Mr. Brown's, stating that "it was never put on the F-117, period." Although he did mention that it could have been a concept from a study that occurred from 1984 to 1985 that apparently went off the rails conceptually and was disbanded with prejudice as a result.

During roughly that same time period it is known, although not well documented publicly, that the F-117 was tested with some fairly elaborate modifications. This supposedly included a handful of sensor systems in addition to the jet's stock Infrared Acquisition And Designation System (IRADS). We know that a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar was flown on one F-117 in a specially-built radome fitted on the Nighthawk's iconic wedge-like nose. Maybe RLS was one of the other mods that was deemed successful, and was accommodated for in some F-117s built, but never fully installed.

Still, you would think that even something as useless as an empty-flip down antenna array would be well known by the F-117s top engineers and program managers.

So there you have it, the obscure mystery of the F-117's funky little flip-down Radar Locator System. For a jet that was made famous for its work during Desert Storm, it is really amazing that we are still finding new peculiarities of its design and genesis to discuss. Then again, the jet was so exotic for its time and its deep classification added massively to its murky lore—not to mention it has off-the-charts techno-sinister looks—that really it is mystery personified. The fact that it is still flying, and we are still wondering as to its applications, even after it left front line service almost a decade ago, goes to show you that the F-117 is a mystery machine at heart that just won't die.

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Mercedes-Benz Adds Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa to New Models

In order to make vehicle infotainment life easier for Mercedes-Benz drivers, the brand has opted to add Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa into all 2016 and 2017 Mercedes-Benz vehicles. This means owners can interact, start and ready their vehicle while still in their home. As you can see in the video below, the home concierge devices will transfer their abilities into the car, but only to an extent. Both Google Assistant and Alexa will send prompts to the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system, but owners can not interact with Google Assistant or Alexa from inside their car—they can only click yes or no.

Although these digital helpers are a welcomed addition to the modern infotainment system, they could potentially be viewed as an additional distraction. If Alexa or Google Assistant could become a substitute for convoluted and distracting infotainment systems, then the automotive world might be finally moving in the right direction. However, the video makes it look like the installation of these programs just add one more feature to the system.

When people hear “distracted driving,” the average Joe generally thinks of cellphone use, applying make-up, eating, or pretty much the use of anything not attached to their vehicle. However, distracted driving can also be the use of anything on the dashboard or center console that requires you to take your eyes off the road to use. If Mercedes-Benz and other manufacturers continue with Alexa and Google Assistant, The Drive hopes they will consider allowing voice commands from the driver to further reduce distracted driving incidents.

You Can Build a Working Model of a 1966 Porsche 911 Engine

Ever wanted to build a classic Porsche engine without the mess? If so, you’re in luck today—and you don’t even have to make a big financial investment. Franzis sells a super accurate 1:4 scale model of the 2.0-liter flat six from the original air-cooled Porsche 911.

The model comes with about 280 components, including a transparent engine casing, a full exhaust system, LED spark plugs, a real distributor, and timing “chains” (which are actually belts). You even get little head gaskets, which are completely unnecessary, since there’s no oil. When you’re done putting it together, you can run the engine on battery power and see exactly what goes on inside a real flat-six. (My favorite part is the little speaker that makes an authentic boxer engine sound when the motor is running.)

Detailed directions and a ton of screws are included. There’s no glue needed, and the only tool required to put the whole thing together is a screwdriver. Assembling this model is much cheaper, much cleaner, and probably more fun than constructing a real Porsche motor.

It’s recommended for ages 10 and up, but we have a feeling that most people who buy this are much older than 10. If there’s a kid in your life with a budding Porsche obsession or just an interest in engineering, this would be a perfect gift. Otherwise, if you’ve always wanted a working model Porsche engine on your mantle, here’s your opportunity. Now, all we need is the rest of a 911 in 1:4 size.

Check out this hypnotic video of this model being built by Flat Six Fanatics.