What seems more futuristic: flying cars or self-driving cars? They both sound a bit like science fiction, but they’re both getting closer to becoming a reality. In the latest chapter of Google’s efforts to develop a car that uses video cameras, radar sensors and lasers to navigate through traffic, the state of Nevada just granted Google the world’s first license for a computer-controlled, driverless Toyota Prius. Meanwhile, this week we also checked in on the PAL-V (which stands for “Personal Air and Land Vehicle”), a two-seat hybrid car and gyroplane that runs on gas, biodiesel or bio-ethanol. In other transportation news, the Texas Central Railroad floated a plan to build a $ 10-billion bullet train that would run between Houston and Fort Worth, and Toyota officially unveiled its second-generation 2012 RAV4 EV, which features a Tesla powertrain.
We also saw green technology cropping up in unexpected places this week, like the $ 1-billion ghost town that will be built on virgin desert land in Lea County, New Mexico to test emerging green technologies. Construction on the ghost town is set to begin in late June. Milwaukee native Bryan Cera invented Glove One, a 3D-printed glove that doubles as a cell phone. And in Tokyo, participants heaved 100,000 LED lights into the Sumida River as part of the 2012 Tokyo Hotaru Festival. Although it certainly looked cool, that’s a lot of LED bulbs to literally dump in the river, and it raises some questions about e-waste. GE found a more practical use for LEDs, unveiling a new LED light bulb to replace the 100-watt incandescent.
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