The  rear loading 1969 Beach Bomb Kombi is one of the most valuable Hot Wheels collectors cars in the world.

When it was released back in 1969 you could get a Hot Wheels VW Kombi for under $1.

Due to only a few being released by Mattel, there are believed to be only about 25 in existence around the world and they have significantly appreciated in value, becoming a hot collector’s item.

Now you would be forking out $1300 per millimeter, with the value of the above car estimated at $100K.

Who could forget the lovable robotic VW Junior?

How much easier would life be out there with a car that could park itself, suss out other cars, and make decisions for the driver?  Once just part of the popular imagination, these possibilities are slowly becoming closer to being realised.

Perhaps not in the form of walking, talking intelligent humanoids, but certainly the robotic devices that assist us in our daily living and in industry. Robotic vacuum machines and lawn mowers are now commonplace.  In fact the world of personal robotics for technology companies is big business!!  There is a global race to develop smart machines based on robotic concepts.

Just like the State of Victoria in Australia has a 2030 plan for sustainable development,  according to the BBC,  the South Korean Government’s target is that every household have a robot by the year 2020.

Intel have released details of their visionary products having various applications from self-navigating cars with multicore processor based computers as a brain to futuristic projects in the field of health care, the environment and wireless networks.  Intel’s future vision revolves around cars with eyes and processors with engines.

Having foreseen the inevitable, that robots will continue to feature more and more in out daily lives, Intel is focusing on their utility, in particular building sensors so that robots have a better sense of touch.  Just as a shark uses electromagnetic fields to sense what is in their midst, Intel figure that using electromagnetic fields with robotic hands will enable machines to judge the optimum amount of pressure to pick up items without breaking them.

Concrete examples Intel give are a robotic bartender who knows how to handle glasses without breaking them,  listen and respond meaningfully to their patrons’ woes,  and robots that are gentle enough to give grandma a helping hand out of the couch.

Intel’s innovative research is focusing on the way to multiply the number of cores in processing, by building tiny chips and adding customised core engines which are task specific,  for example for encryption.

The Mule (a multifunctional utility/logistics and equipment), an armed robot the size of a Humvee, is Lockheed Martins machine which is capable of firing Javelin anti-tank missiles, featuring a turret-mounted machine gun, coupled with a digital eyeball with laser heat recognising and target acquisition systems in order to aim it’s weaponry with precision.

It uses GPS to navigate, has localised perception to enable it to avoid obstacles like buildings, and it’s versatility is enhanced by it’s six wheels on pneumatic legs to scale cars and barriers.

The Mule is destined to be shipped to conflict hotspots and the US government also plans to use them to clear minefields.

The military use of robotic systems is now widespread with thousands having been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, to conduct renaissance and disarm explosives, whilst also engaging in a futuristic kind of warfare. These uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) are reportedly being used to fire on insurgents. Clearly this kind of technology has the ability to outmaneovre and overpower enemy combatants.

Autonomous robot vehicles are however still by and large in the experimental phase with tactical decision making still requiring a human factor posing obvious challenges.