We recently came across a story that captured our attention. Land Rover, reported the Daily Telegraph, has developed a car that can be controlled from your mobile phone. Simply download an app, and the accelerator, brakes, steering and gears are all under your thumb’s sway – so long as the vehicle remains at under 4mph.
This is pretty astonishing in itself, but the real reason why it captured our attention was that it reminded us of a James Bond movie. Remember that scene in Tomorrow Never Dies where Bond controls his BMW 7-series via, yes, the screen on his mobile phone? That was in 1997. Almost 20 years later, it seems that the technology of Q-branch is reaching our fingertips.
It got us thinking about some other Bond gadgets that are now making their way into our vehicles. Here’s our quick list.
1. Puncture-proof tyres
When you’re an international spy evading the bad guys, tyre spikes are sometimes an unavoidable hazard. That’s why 007’s BMW – as seen in the clip linked to above – also came with re-inflating tyres. Run Flat tyres may not be quite the same thing, but they’re close: their reinforced sidewalls allow you to carry on driving for up to 50 miles after a puncture.
As well as its revolving number plates, smokescreen, machine guns and famous ejector seat, Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 was equipped with a GPS-style map display below the dashboard that he used to track Auric Goldfinger. It’s not too dissimilar to the built-in sat navs that come in many cars 50 years later – though they’re usually for finding your way, not hunting down your enemy.
3. Flying cars
The flying car that elevates Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga from a barn in The Man with the Golden Gun may seem far-fetched, even by the standards of Bond movies. Surely, this is straight out of science fiction? But it turns out that no less an entrepreneur than Google’s Larry Page is developing flying cars of his own. As we reported in a recent edition of our Inside Track series, he’s backing not one but two companies that are working on this technology.
Page isn’t the only tech entrepreneur trying to emulate the Bond movies. Tesla’s Elon Musk conjured up memories of the submarine Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me by revealing that the upcoming Model S ‘floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time’.
But Musk might be about to go a step further. He’s bought the original ‘Wet Nellie’ from the film, and intends to install Tesla machinery and ‘try to make it transform for real’. Presumably without the anti-aircraft missiles, though.