The New York International Auto Show starts later this week, but the best in show may not be something from BMW or Ford. (I hope you laughed at that.) A car contest is being held that’s sponsored by the X Prize Foundation, the same group responsible for that earth-to-the-moon contest. This particular contest aims to spur people to create an affordable, drivable car that gets 100 miles to the gallon. There’s two categories, city and non-city: the city category allows for three-wheeled cars while the non-city demands four wheels.
The X Prize folks say contests help spur innovation. “Cooperation is wonderful, but it doesn’t lend to breakthroughs or true innovations,” says its chairman. Of course, there’s always one nerd who disagrees and believes things should be invented for invention’s sake. “Creating useful innovations ought to be self-rewarding. If you need a prize, then maybe it’s not an invention worth pursuing,” says some historian out of the University of Maryland. Good vibrations don’t pay the bills, chief.
It’s like the Cold War. Either we invent this or we’re in trouble.
I think Peter and I are gonna swing by the show later in the week. We’ve got nothing better to do.
‘The Amazing Race,’ as Played in the Lab [New York Times]