Every year car manufacturers try to get a joke in for the first of April. It shows they have a human side and that they’re not just massive faceless corporations. It’s always a bit of fun and the Japanese offices of some of the world’s biggest auto makers do enjoy making an April Fools joke or two.
With the impact of social media these days it’s no surprise more manufactures are showing their April Fools jokes on this medium. A couple years ago Audi Japan ran an April Fools campaign where they had a rice cooker as an optional extra in the back seat of an A8. It was pretty funny and went viral around the world.
Hoping to get even a grain of that, here are this year’s April Fools jokes from car manufactures in Japan.
This one is kind of random. Okay, Honda make other things not just cars. Hell, they even do private jets now. But for April Fools they decided it’d be a good idea to venture out into the treasure finding business.
What you see here is a machine to find buried gold. Stay with me here. It was developed in secret and confirmed the legend of buried gold deep within a cave. Fair enough on Honda. Since they can’t seem to get gold in Formula 1 they might as well just try and dig some out of a cave.
From Land Rover is an appropriate device called “Adventure Navi”. It’s said to overcome rugged terrain and will bring you to any destination. They say it can be installed in all their cars. The photo accompanying this shows a Discovery going down into the subway at Tokyo Station. That would save precious minutes on a daily commute. Also, note the plate on the Disco. Well played Land Rover Japan, well played.
VW Japan really thought about their April Fools’ gag this year. Post-Dieselgate I assumed it would’ve stayed away from anything related to do with fuel, economy, or emissions. But it turns out no, because their pitch is a future where you can connect to the car in front o f you and have “infinite fuel economy”. Yes, because theft is the best way to match claimed fuel consumption figures.
It works in three steps:
Step 1: Decide when to connect. You simply find an unsuspecting victim you want to siphon fuel from and press the ‘Connect’ button on your dash.
Step 2: Capture and connect. The radar at the from to the car detects the objects and the fantastically named ‘Connect Active Lightsaber’ extends out and latches itself to the car in front.
Step 3: Dock and Suck. The ‘Connect Active Lightsaber’ catches and grips on to things with a special sucker. There are also two options for the ‘CAL’. The suction cup type attachment is standard fit, while a ‘hook’ and a ‘thumbs up’ attachment are optional extras.
But wait, there’s more! Because the ‘CAL’ basically latches on to the car in front, it sort of works as autopilot. VW say it reduces tension of driving, the annoyance of traffic jams, and anxiety of falling asleep behind the wheel because ‘CAL’ transforms you from a ‘driver’ to a ‘connector’. You can then get on with your journey with a smile on your face and enjoy canned coffee.
As if it’s almost too good to be true you can even latch on to a space shuttle too. However, VW does stress oxygen masks and protective clothing are not included.
This one is my favourite and one I wish was actually real. MINI Japan have realised the dangers of pedestrians walking around glued to their smartphones. So, in response they’ve come up with a system that transmits special electromagnetic waves within a radium of 10 meters to basically stop smartphones from working. Meaning the humans behind them have to pay attention to their surroundings. It’s simply called the ‘Ultimate Safety Optimisation”.
It doesn’t just work on pedestrians’ smartphones, it also shuts down other driver’s smartphones should they be driving and playing Pokemon GO.
I say I’m all for this but only if I was a driver of a MINI. If I was a pedestrian I’d probably be very annoyed if my phone died every time a MINI was nearby.
Lastly, Audi. I guess it’s hard to come up with a follow up to the amazing back seat rice cooker. But this year Audi Japan have come up with some thing called ‘Adaptive Tsukkomi Control’. Basically it’s like autonomous driving, but with humour.
So it has all the usual assists and systems for autonomous driving but it also works as a partner for conversation. Because I guess Audi expects most of its owners to be driving alone. Using the latest language analysis technology to monitor the context of the conversation, the car will open and close its door to perform ’Tsukkomi’ style humor. Think of it as the car giving you a slap on the back in response to something you said.
The car uses microphones and cameras to monitor the person it’s “speaking” to. It also analyses 200 things such as sex, voice inflection, rhythm, breaking, nationality, and regionality. It’s probably best explained visually so there’s a video Audi Japan put on YouTube.
Let us know what you think of these April Fools inventions. Are there any you’d like to see in the future?