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Car manufacturers play the fool

Carbon-flyber: Supercar manufacturer McLaren showed a version of its 570GT with ‘feather wrap’, replete with 10,000 carbon-fibre-veined feathers to create its “most aerodynamic car ever”.

Yearly tradition of April Fools’ Day pranks sees funny and bizarre ‘innovations’


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3 Apr 2017

ANOTHER April Fools Day has come and gone, meaning a number of whimsical and downright ridiculous ‘concepts’ released by various car-makers looking to fool or get a laugh out of consumers, ranging from an in-car dating app to a rentable family to fill out your seven-seat SUV.

Emojis are becoming a more frequently-used means of communication, and British brand MG is looking to utilise the phenomenon with the MG Inter-Car Emoji (MICE) system, which infuses LED technology into the car’s front and rear windshields to project large emojis for all drivers to see.

Drivers can choose from more than 150 emojis which are activated through voice recognition technology.

Honda has also jumped on the emoji communication idea with a set of steering wheel-integrated Honda Horn Emoji buttons, which change the pitch and sequence of the horn to reflect the pressed emotion, which includes, happy, sad and angry tones.

But the manufacturer who says it is “Building today’s tomorrow. Today” wasn’t done there, also releasing a Tinder-like in-car dating app for UK customers called H-Swipe, that uses technology to pinpoint the nearest potential match and brings up their profile picture on the car’s digital windscreen.

Drivers can then use their windscreen wipers to “s-wipe” left or right to accept or reject their dating match, but, like any safety-conscious car-maker, the app is only usable when the car is stationary.

Hyundai has used the recent advancements in drone technology to create an online buying service that employs four fuel-cell-powered ‘Hy-drones’ to deliver vehicles aerially in giant cardboard boxes.

The drones are able to carry up to 2000kg and can travel at up to 190 knots, and can deliver the vehicles two hours after the online purchase is made.

In its pursuit of aerodynamic perfection, British supercar manufacturer McLaren has used the concept of biomimicry to create a version of its 570GT adorned with a “feather wrap”, but unfortunately the optional Feather Wrap was only available on April 1.

The 570GT comes complete with 10,000 carbon-fibre-veined feathers that the brand says creates the most aerodynamic car in its history, and also gives it the look of a gothic Mardi Gras attendee.

Skoda has come up with an idea for test driving its new seven-seat Kodiaq SUV for those who want to experience the car fully loaded but don’t have the time or resources to bring their whole family along.

Called Rent-a-Family, Skoda UK is offering a no-cost option where potential buyers can configure a set of occupants to accompany them on their test drive and includes annoying children, sullen teens, pushy grandma and yapping dog, and for extra realism drivers are asked “are we there yet” a minimum of five times, and requests for toilet breaks are made three times.

The Czech brand has also released a sketch of a Kodiaq SUV in rally-ready guise, despite the fact that a seven-seat SUV rally class is not exactly around the corner.

Mini has boosted the usability of its Convertible with the addition of the John Cooker Works package, helping transform the little soft-top into a full street vendor system.

It comes with a solid oak prep surface, an induction cooker, and can be used for hot or cold food with a menu of applications to help in the making and sale of things as diverse as sushi, ice cream and freshly-squeezed juice.

Parent company BMW has come up with a new accessory for dog owners whose pet enjoys sticking their head out the window while driving, with the dDrive dog basket.

Modelled after the i8 sportscar and capable of being customised for colour and finish, the dDrive system uses a carbon-fibre twin-power turbo fan and Nappa leather upholstery to give your pooch the ultimate ride-along simulation from the comfort of your living room.

Speaking of pet owners, Lotus has come up with a solution for the all-too-common problem of wanting to bring your cat for a joyride when racing your Lotus at a track day.

With the introduction of Lotus Pet Lids, cats can have more than nine lives thanks to a lightweight helmet that weighs in at just 25 grams and can be accessorised with different colour schemes and even with the cat’s name emblazoned on the helmet.

Mercedes-owned Smart has come up with an amphibious variant of its ForTwo city car, called the ForSea, which can travel up to 15 knots and for three hours thanks to a jet propeller joined onto the rear differential.

And Renualt has used its racing pedigree to come up with an F1-inspired hatchback, called the RS 17 Hayonara, which employs Renault Sport’s 1.6-litre hybrid V6 Formula 1 engine.

The Hayonara can transform from road to track-spec through its cutting-edge Bilateral Unified Literal Levitational Systematic Hayonara Intelligent Transformation, which in acronym form reveals the validity of the Hayonara and all other April Fools’ concepts.

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