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Off Topic/Non-philatelic Disc. : Autonomous vehicles

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sheepshanks
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07 Apr 2017
08:29:15pm
Just thinking out loud, with a driver-less vehicle who gets the speeding ticket. The people in the vehicle, the owner, the maker or the system producer?
I know that they are supposed to be programmed to adhere to speed limits but what about temporary ones due to roadworks etc.
On that basis how do the police stop one when it has broken a law or just meets a routine traffic stop, maybe they box it in!
Also is the government going to retro-fit all vehicles that are road legal, with the sensory and computerised systems, because it's going to be at least another hundred years before current road vehicles have been replaced.
Recently one was in collision with a driven vehicle which made an illegal manoeuvre, something that is very common here in Canada and no doubt elsewhere and they are not always DUI.
Just thinking.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 Apr 2017
08:47:05pm

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re: Autonomous vehicles

There shouldn't be any speeding just for the reasons you state. I've found that current navigation systems are pretty much on top of changing conditions. I use the WAZE ap on my phone and the day that the bridge between Pennsylvania and New Jersey was shut down for repairs without any notice, the ap no longer sent people that direction. I also get warnings about construction, accidents and slow downs. Some of it is crowd sourcing... people on the same ap reporting what they see. The ap also tells me when I'm exceeding the speed limit. I believe this will all be well controlled.

I saw a video recently of a Tesla self driving car in Europe that accurately predicted a collision way ahead of itself and braked before the two vehicles colided. Note that these systems never blink or day dream.

It will be a long time before all cars on the road are self driving. Note that due to quality and longevity of vehicles, today's fleet is lasting a lot longer than cars of the past. We have the oldest fleet ever on the roads today. So it will be a long time before they all wear out.

There are macho guys who swear they will never let the car do the driving. As a car guy, I will drive when I want to, but I'd love to crawl in the back and take a nap on my hour plus trip to work each day!

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Webpaper
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07 Apr 2017
09:13:43pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

The problems are limitless on secondary roads where most people actually drive everyday. The two lane country roads, no lane markings, no shoulders, unmarked bridges in rural areas with no guardrails, bicycle lanes that weave in and out, Not to mention dense fog, whiteouts, heavy rains, unplowed roads with 6 to 8 inches of snow or snow/slush, dry streambed fords full of water, and etc, etc.

Bring it on - I'm going to make a big bowl of popcorn and just watch......


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sheepshanks
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07 Apr 2017
09:31:35pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

For a moment there Carol I figured you lived out in the wilds like us, gravel roads impassable when muddy, roads that technically should be there but have been ploughed up by farmers, visibility 5 yards at times, if lucky and certainly the snow deep enough to stop a four wheel drive. Roads are closed by police but website is not updated very often and only the town entrance/exits are signed, so anyone joining the road in between is unknowingly driving without insurance.
My Tom Tom mapping system will not even allow me to input a destination by requesting junction of Road "X" west, "Y" North. Directions here are still given in the form of go 10 miles North, 8 west, 1 south. The area being divided into mile square sections theoretically
with a gravel road on at least two sides.
Give me a good map any day.
Notice the test vehicles are not being tested out in the wilds where there isn't even a mobile signal, be interesting to see how it copes with an ice road in the summer.

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musicman
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08 Apr 2017
08:23:12am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Personally, I wonder if this will lull people into
a false sense of security that transfers over to when THEY are in control
of the vehicle, making them even more distracted.....










Randy

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
08 Apr 2017
08:30:46am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Officer, it was the car's fault.

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musicman
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08 Apr 2017
08:36:42am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Maybe the same as with your dog??

The dog bites the mailman - you, being the owner of said dog, get the citation;

The car breaks a traffic law - you, being the owner of said car, get the citation.


Thinking








Randy

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
08 Apr 2017
09:05:09am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are inevitable and will quickly dominate travel in certain parts of the world within the next 5-10 years. China will, for example, have large sections of completely autonomous vehicles highways within the next few years. This is an technology evolution that is being driven by some incredibly powerful and compelling justifications; saving lives, reducing costs, and significant reduction in resource consumption.

But there are many misconceptions about autonomous vehicles. It is extremely doubtful that rural consumer cars will become the initial autonomous market. The initial market will be commercial/fleet type vehicles running in highly defined areas; we will see this happen in the next few years. Taxis, delivery trucks and the like working in defined urban areas are perfect targets for this technology, not consumer cars running out in the rural sticks like the examples mentioned in this thread.

Here is a good article which describes some of the common misconceptions regarding the immediate future of autonomous vehicles if anyone wants to know more.
http://www.driverless-future.com/?page_id=774
Don

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
08 Apr 2017
11:27:19am
re: Autonomous vehicles

On a"major" road I was on in China going out of Shenzhen, autonomous cars would slow things down. This major road was a four line road but usually had 6 active lanes.

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keesindy
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08 Apr 2017
11:35:08am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Don, we may not see the "significant reduction in resource consumption" that many expect.

Many of the pundits who are gushing about this technology haven't given all the potential consequences of this technology enough thought. We may not see any drop in fuel consumption, and we might even see increases if traffic volume rises significantly as the technology moves into the mainstream of society.

Consider how many elderly (a growing segment of our population) would travel much more in autonomous vehicles where they are unable or unwilling to do so with today's technology. Consider commuters. How many commuters would give up the hassles of mass transit and use convenient autonomous vehicles that can take them from home to office, door to door, AND then park themselves once we're in our buildings and headed to our desks. How many commuters would be comfortable moving even farther from their jobs than is the case today if autonomous vehicles can carry them to work while they work or sleep or whatever.

Consider also the potential negative impact on shorter-flight air travel. Why bother with the hassle of getting to the airport and going through security and then waiting to pick up luggage at the destination when we can have our autonomous vehicles drive us to those destinations overnight while we sleep. How many more family vacations would be by AV rather than air travel?

Unexpected and unintended consequences are often overlooked when new technologies are about to be introduced.

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
08 Apr 2017
12:43:33pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Understood. But are not 'unintended consequences' predicted with every paradigm shift? This is not what they also said about the internet, television, and flying? Heck, this is exactly what they said about the 'new fangled horseless carriages' in 1900. Pave roads? Built gas stations? Motels? Suburban areas? Women getting out of the house? No one could predict or understand how the paradigm shift from horses to cars would impacted society in the early 1900s.

Change is hard, and I am no fan of driverless vehicles (I belong to the Studebaker DRIVERS Club who pride ourselves on driving our cars.) But to deny that fleets of driverless cars won't be filling urban areas in the near future is crazy.

To be truthful, I would rather be driving next to a driverless car then many of the drivers we deal with now.
Don

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sheepshanks
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08 Apr 2017
02:16:06pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Quote:

"To be truthful, I would rather be driving next to a driverless car then many of the drivers we deal with now."


For a moment there I thought you were in Canada as well, but I guess the whole world has some lousy drivers.
Just another thought, how does an AV detect a train, here in rural Canada we have tracks that cross gravel roads every mile, no gates, no warning lights, no signs but the drivers do whistle about half mile away for each of them.
Sad fact that I believe I've reported before but more Canadians have been killed on our roads since the 1950's than died in service in WW1 and 2 combined.
I'm all for anything that cuts that toll but think a better learners course would be of great benefit and much stiffer penalties for bad driving habits.
Not sure I would manage to get any sleep in an AV, do we really trust computers that much.
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Webpaper
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08 Apr 2017
04:06:46pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

The train question is very real here in upstate NY as well. Unguarded crossings are on every side road along Route 104 - when you turn off onto a side road you need to be aware of that. When we first moved here I was almost hit by a train because the last thing I expected turning off a major state route was am approaching train with no signals, no little RR signs, etc. The locals know - visitors and newcomers don't.

We also have roadblocks to check for registration and inspection stickers. What will one of these vehicles do if a trooper is on the shoulder of the road motioning it to stop? Or traffic control that overrides the traffic light at accident, fire and crime scenes? Or as is often the case since they switched to LED lights where the traffic signal lights are filled with snow and no longer visible. I am sure that the signal for the autonomous vehicle will work - but around here we have to treat it as a 4 way stop until the road crews can clean the lights out.

And the above occur regularly in a major suburb of Rochester NY (pop 42,000).

Time will tell but it will be interesting when they venture forth outside of campus like environments and small controlled areas. Maybe I just ought to buy a popcorn machine and invite the neighbors over.

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keesindy
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08 Apr 2017
04:38:48pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

I agree, Don. The AV era is inevitable and will probably arrive fairly quickly, not only because of the reasons you state, but also the due to involvement of heavyweights of the business world (along with their financial resources).

My primary concern is the ability of bureaucratic federal and state entities to provide the necessary infrastructure in a timely manner, and in a manner that takes full advantage of the improved safety features that AV vehicles are likely to offer.

I spent much of my work life focusing on a 20-year time horizon. Thinking about the consequences of change seems to come naturally. But, in retirement, I may be losing the touch. I'm out of practice!

You mentioned the horse and buggy era. I've spent the past several years working on an Indiana history project. I'm focusing on the early 20th century when the interurban system arose quickly to challenge the railroads and then faded just as quickly when the automobile and paved roads came along. I tend to think change is only difficult in the short run. In the long run it usually serves us well.

Here's a page from my South Bend Album at Flickr that you might find interesting. It's part of my Indiana History Project. Scroll down to see my description of the illustration.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoosier_recollections/14055268069/in/album-72157625295925603/

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Benque
08 Apr 2017
04:58:18pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Hi Don,
I wanted to send you this as a private message, but couldn't see how to attach an image to it.
This is my Dad and his car sometime in the 30s, and I know that he really liked Studebakers and had owned one or more of them before 1950. Since he passed away almost 50 years ago, I can't ask him, and my memory of what he said about his cars is dim.
Is this a Studebaker in the pic? Can you see enough of it?
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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
08 Apr 2017
09:00:52pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Hi Benque,
No, it is not a Studebaker, it is a 1946-48 Plymouth. I think it is a 1947, but a Mopar expert would have to say for sure. (The side trim seems to be a 1947 but I thought there should also be bright work around the windshield, which I don't see.)
Don

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51Studebaker
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08 Apr 2017
09:18:53pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Keesindy, that is fantastic!
I truly love the Studebaker history. They originally formed the company in 1852 and built many of the Conestoga wagons that were launched from South Bend as folks moved west. Studebaker celebrated it’s 100 anniversary in 1952, the next oldest car company was Dodge who celebrated their 100 anniversary in 2014!

Studebaker also had long promoted it multi-generational employees; often depicting grandfathers/fathers/sons who had all worked on the same assembly lines. And of course Studebaker had many automotive ‘first’s and were often considered technically advanced for their time. Features like a ‘Hill Holder’, offered in the late 1930s through the 1960s, allowed drivers to take their foot off the clutch on a hill without the car rolling backwards.

I was very excited to finally be able to visit South Bend and many of the existing factory and admin building still standing back in the 1980s. As I walked around with a big VHS camera shooting all the buildings, I had the opportunity to talk to many South Bend residents. I got the shock of my life when I heard horror story after horror story of how Studebaker Corporation treated the workers in 1963, they basically screwed over all the workers by stealing their pensions. Studebaker had, of course, closed down all US operations and moved everything to Canada in 1964. This move allowed them to side step the US pension obligations. It was not until I heard the painful family stories that this hit home for me and I lost some of my admiration for the company that built the cars I loved.

South Bend history will always be tied to the incredible Studebaker history, Tippecanoe place is (was?) a good restaurant and a very cool place to visit as is the Studebaker Museum.

My wife and I actually drove the 51 shown in my avatar to South Bend in August; I am pretty sure it never was less than 100 degrees the entire trip. Hot, but still a really fond memory.
Don

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Benque
09 Apr 2017
11:23:44am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Thanks very much Don. I guess I better revise my time line. I'm sure there is a Studebaker somewhere in Dad's history, but no one left alive to tell the tale from those days.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
09 Apr 2017
11:55:55am

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re: Autonomous vehicles

I was brought home from the hospital in a 1954 Studebaker in 1958. My father was in the army and got assigned to Ft Riley, Kansas and he pointed that car west. In Kansas he had an accident on ice, replaced a few fenders and painted the car in the army motor pool. He drove it home wet and put it in the garage to dry. I was maybe three at the time and exclaimed, "Daddy's new car!" as I put my hand on the door, leaving a little paw print. Yea, that story was family lore retold many times.

In 1962 the '54 was replaced with a brand new 1962 Lark 4 door sedan with the hill holder. That was the family car until 1966. My dad traded it in because it had visible rust on the 4 year old body. That era Studebaker could really rust. When we got to Germany in 1969, the officer my father as replacing had a '62 Lark convertible. Since he was headed back to the USA, he offered it to us for free. That one was so rusty that my father declined and it went to the post junkyard.

Later on in the mid 1980s I bought a 65,000 mile 1963 Lark 4 door sedan. I thought my father would like it and planned on restoring it as a police car. The car looked solid, but once we dug into it, there was structural rust in places I'd never seen a car rust before! We decided it was not restorable. Of course that was after I collected a huge amount of parts and supplies!

I decided to sell the project. I started out advertising it for $2000 since I had receipts for that in new old stock parts. A couple guys came to look, and nobody even made an offer. I lowered the price to $1000 at one point with no takers. Then I decided to advertise the parts. Long story short, I wound up selling everything for near $5000. Once the entire body was taken apart, I had the shell with the engine and transmission still in place. Somebody gave me $1200 for that just to get the engine and trans for another project!

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keesindy
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09 Apr 2017
04:25:15pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Don, here is another piece of Studebaker memorabilia.

At the turn of this century, I had begun producing Indiana History Prints. They were digital collages based on paper objects, mostly postcards, but also letterheads, stock certificates, advertisements and other late 19th and early 20th century items. I printed on 17" x 22" paper and used around 20 items in each print. In the beginning, I was buying items on eBay, scanning them and then reselling them to buy more items for the prints.

I purchased this letterhead in 2004 for a South Bend print I was planning, but that 17" printer died before I got to the South Bend print. I elected not to replace that printer and never got around to producing the South Bend print. In fact, I hadn't even scanned this piece of stationery until today. It's one of several items I have yet to resell!

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
09 Apr 2017
04:54:37pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Nice!


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While I am not a FDC cover collector this Raymond Loewy signed cover ‘delivers' on many levels with me.

Raymond Loewy (Nov 5, 1893 – July 14, 1986) was born in France and became known as "The Father of Streamlining" and the "The Father of Industrial Design". By applying his vision of ‘beauty through function and simplification' he managed to impact everything from postage stamps to space stations. For me he also represents the confluence of two things I hold dear, Studebakers and USPS.

Loewy started his career just before 1920 with many high fashion magazine illustrations and fashion window designs in NYC. By 1929 he had designed his first streamlined industrial design (Gestetner mimeograph machine) and founded his first firm, Raymond Loewy, William Snaith, Inc.

By the 1930s he was contracted for many companies including Hupp Motor Company and Studebaker. His 1934 Sears Coldspot refrigerator was a large success and was followed quickly with the iconic GG-1 electric locomotive for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1936.
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His association with Studebaker lasted well over 40 years; I have many Studebaker ads touting their association with him from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The 1953 Studebaker Starliner, still to this day often raking in the top 10 best car designs ever produced, was an incredible design shift for that time period. Compared to the other 1953 American models, it's ‘short deck and long hood' sports car shape would be copied for many years to come by other auto manufacturers. And the 1963-64 Studebaker Avanti was not only notable for its design but also for being one the first production cars in the world to hit 200 mph. And of course the 51 in my avatar also came out of Loewy Studios.
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Lowey also enjoyed a close relationship with the USPS. He designed the familiar USPS logo (along with many, many other familiar logos such as Lucky Strikes, Shell, etc.) which of course later made its way to a stamp.
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But in 1964 USPS called upon Loewy to handle the rush job of designing the JFK Memorial stamp on the cover shown above. The first design from BEP had been rejected in December 1963 and something was needed quickly. Loewy's team of designers at Raymond Loewy, William Snaith, Inc work around the clock to meet the deadline. Jacqueline Kennedy made the final design decision and asked that the stamp color match that of the interior of Air Force One. She probably did not know it at the time but Air Force One was also a Loewy design.

For many years I placed Loewy on a pedestal but in the early 1980s I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Bob Bourke. Mr. Bourke was the actual designer of the 1953 Studebaker Starliner and worked at Loewy Studios in South Bend. While always a humble gentlemen it become clear to me that Loewy often was getting the credit for designs that he really did not contribute that much too. After further discovery I found some detractors who felt Loewy was more a PT Barnumesque salesman than a true designer.

But either way Loewy signed material does not come to market very often. The cover shown above is ‘to' another famous designer in his own right; Knut Yran. Knut Yran was a ‘up-and-coming' Norwegian designer who made a name for himself with a winning design for the 1952 Winter Olympics. By the time this cover was sent to him he had just started working for Phillips; Loewy was also under contract with Phillips in 1964 and I assume that this is how they met. Yran went on to become the head Phillips design group from 1966 to 1980.

USPS also honored Loewy with a stamp as part of its 2011 commemorative ‘influential industrial designers of the 20th century' series.
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Don

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Benque
09 Apr 2017
05:25:54pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

That pencil sharpener looks very fast indeed!

Thanks guys, for the historical information. Very interesting.

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Webpaper
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09 Apr 2017
07:30:47pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Studebaker made some very high quality cars in the 1930's. They became majority stockholder of Pierce-Arrow in 1928, although Pierce-Arrow manufacture remained in Buffalo, NY until it's demise in 1938.

During those years the Studebaker President series was styled after the Pierce-Arrow save for the headlights being separate from the fenders. The picture below is my late father-in-laws 1933 Pierce-Arrow - pix taken in the early 60's.

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musicman
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09 Apr 2017
07:47:21pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Ah, yes - the Avanti!

One of my favorite cars that no one liked!

Or ALMOST no one, anyway.....

And now its considered ahead of its time.


Thumbs UpThanks for posting the pic, Stude Dude!Thumbs Up


Would love to someday have one sitting in my driveway....maybe like this one!!

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Randy

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sheepshanks
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24 Jun 2017
10:55:11pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

Think we have found the missing Studebakers, they seem to be in a field up here in Manitoba, Canada, so if anyone wants to put in a bid they will be up for auction later this summer.
First picture is of a 1954 model.

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Second one is a 1954 Studebaker sedan.

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Nice weekend project for the enthusiast!

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
24 Jun 2017
11:30:13pm

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re: Autonomous vehicles

I came home from the hospital in a '54 Studebaker sedan. My father later traded it in on a 1962 Lark sedan.

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51Studebaker
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25 Jun 2017
07:10:10am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Here is a bit more confluence of my two hobbies; Studebaker's and stamp collecting...

Studebaker landed a contract with the US Postal Service in late 1961 to deliver a delivery van based upon their economical Champion engine. This engine has been in production since the 1930s and had evolved over the years.

The Studebaker 'Zip Van' started shipping in 1962 and they completed the order by 1964. Here is a 1964 image of 4 Zip Vans loaded on a flat bed behind the South Bend factory.

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Here is a Studebaker photo, also from 1964. Note the lark in the background and another interesting Studebaker model, the 1964 Sliding Roof Wagon. The sliding roof wagon had a rear roof which slid all the way open; allowing tall objects (like a upright refrigerator) to be transported. Some of these were sold to news groups which stood tall cameras in the back.

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Here is one in the Studebaker National Museum (South Bend IN).

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The Zip Van was very Spartan; imagine replacing the ignition switch (lower right corner on image). They even used paper labels on the dash for the 'Heater', 'Flasher' and 'Lights'!

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I put together a pictorial history of all US postal vehicles and it can be seen here
http://www.stampsmarter.com/features/vehicle_home.html

Don

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
25 Jun 2017
09:33:08am

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re: Autonomous vehicles

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Don, when speaking of Studebaker mail vehicles, don't forget the Rural Router Larks! These were sold to independent contractors with right hand drive. Not a big problem for Studebaker since they already had right hand drive cars for countries like Australia.

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
25 Jun 2017
09:49:50am
re: Autonomous vehicles

Happy

Tom,
Studebaker and other US car companies exported right hand drive cars to other countries. Since 1946, Studebaker did something that I always found odd…”CKD kits”. CKD stood for ‘completely knocked down’; they completely assembled the cars stateside, broke them down into crates, shipped the crates, then reassembled the cars in foreign lands. I never looked into it but perhaps they were getting around some kind of tariff situation by doing it this way.

They found that there was also a small demand in US as rural postal vehicles for these right hand models.
Don

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
25 Jun 2017
11:47:20am

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re: Autonomous vehicles

Yes, the CKD kits were because of countries with local assembly rules. Some countries had very stiff import duties, up to 50% for imported vehicles. Australia was always one with protections for it's auto industry. That's why there were Aussie only homegrown bodies on US autos there since the 1930s.

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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
25 Jun 2017
03:17:55pm
re: Autonomous vehicles

As a clarification, in Don's April post, the image of Loewy standing on a locomotive depicts a class S1 steam engine, recognizable by its unusual 6-wheel leading truck at lower left. The GG1, which Don mentions, was an electric locomotive; image below. Several of these survived the difficult 1970s Penn Central railroad merger and a couple worked the Northeast corridor until 1983, a service life of almost 50 years.

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