Into Antiques?

On ebay you'll find over 100 categories covering the Medieval and Renaissance periods, through Georgian, Regency and Victorian, to Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Antique Dealers in California

Linda Stamberger

Linda Stamberger, author of "Antiquing In Florida", is a Florida expert and freelance writer of many genres. Visit this site to read her articles - some of which are available for purchase - as is her book.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records

Brooks Novelty is an all-vinyl record store. We specialize in: jukeboxes, vintage soda machines, antique slot machines, pin balls, arcade games, neon clocks and signs, rare concert posters, old advertising signs and much more!

The Antique Company

Established in the late 1900's, we occupy a huge corner building with a small garden area that leads to another 1000 sq foot store (called TAC) that contains our Mid Century collection.

Vintage Westclox

Westclox photo identification gallery and history and information of clocks, watches and other timepieces. This site primarily displays American clocks made by Westclox that were made from the early 1900's up to about the 1960's.

Antique Appraisals On-Line

We are one of the country's largest, oldest, most qualified and respected appraisal services. The majority of our appraisals are estate and personal property evaluations for valuation documentation purposes. However, we have evaluated goods and personal property for natural disaster losses (hurricanes), theft, fire, freight and shipping damage after the loss has occurred.

Connoisseur Antiques

Featuring fine antique furniture, Connoisseur Antiques is a Los Angeles Antique Furniture Showroom specializing in antique clocks and mirrors, European and French antiques, Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, Sconces, Armoires and much more.

Liz's Antique Hardware

Antique Hardware is the backbone of our business. We offer a complete selection of door, window and furniture hardware, lighting and accessories circa 1890 to 1970.

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall

San Francisco Antique and Design Mall is the largest antique mall in northern California. We opened our doors in October 1997 with 75 dealers and today we have over 200 of San Francisco's most professional antique specialists.

Ambiance Antiques

Importer of 18th and 19th Century French Antiques

C'est La Vie Antiques

European Antique and Accessories in San Diego, CA.

Lang Antiques

We carry a large selection of fine antique jewelry, antique rings & antique engagement rings. We also have vintage estate jewelry, vintage estate rings & vintage estate engagement rings from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian & Art Deco style periods.

Once in a Blue Moon Online Thrift Store

We are an online thrift store featuring new, used, and unusual items.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

California's taking the lead on self-driving cars - Sacramento Bee

California's taking the lead on self-driving cars - Sacramento Bee

California is quietly positioning itself at the leading edge of what could be the biggest revolution in daily travel since the day the buggy was unhitched from the horse.

The self-driving, or autonomous, car, seen by many as a "Jetsons"-like futuristic dream, may be less than a decade from commercial reality, some researchers now say, pushed forward in good part by an unlikely California company – Web giant Google.

"We may be at a historic cusp where driverless cars share the road," said Carroll Lachnit, an editor at the car information site "The (technological) pieces are all there."

The concept excites many who say the technology will lead to fewer crashes and less wasted commute time. There will be less stop-and-go traffic, they say. Self-driving vehicles won't slow down to gawk at things beside the road, a major cause of congestion.

Intrigued by the idea of eliminating human error from driving, a California legislator has introduced a bill to clarify that driverless cars are street legal.

Researchers, notably Google, more known for Web search engines than car components, already are producing test cars that drive on their own in traffic on city streets and freeways.

But the push is generating concerns about the reliability of the technology and questions about whether Californians, known for their love of driving, will turn over control of their cars to computers and sensors.

To highlight the technology, Google recently produced a video that follows a seeing-impaired man as he heads out on a taco run in Google's fully autonomous Toyota Prius. He sits in the driver's seat, but only as a passenger, as the car takes him to a Taco Bell drive-through lane.

The on-board computers do the heavy work, gauging where the vehicle is on the road and what's around it, using continuous feeds from the car's cameras, radar, optical sensors and Global Positioning System.

Google officials say they have launched their high-profile effort because they want to improve safety and because the company believes it has what it takes in computer science know-how to pull it off.

"It's amazing to me that we (even) let humans drive cars," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said a few years ago. Schmidt's view: If computers were invented before cars, cars already would be self-driven.

The technology has a supporter in state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained mechanical engineer. Padilla's Senate Bill 1298 would make it clear under California law that autonomous vehicles can use the public roads. Similar legislation was passed last year in Nevada and is being considered by several other states.

The Padilla bill says those cars must, for now, have a licensed driver in the driver's seat who can take control of the wheel at any point. It also instructs the CHP and DMV to recommend further safety standards to the Legislature.

"My primary motivation is safety," Padilla said. "Pretty much every accident on the road is due to human error."

He said conversations with researchers have led him to believe consumers could be buying self-driving cars within a decade. Google officials also said in an email to The Bee that much of autonomous technology is "years away, not decades."

Padilla recently rode in Google's car from downtown to Sacramento International Airport and came away impressed. All he did, he said, was push a green button on the console.

"If anything, it was a little intimidating how good a driver it was," he said. At one point, as a big rig pulled into the next lane, "I felt myself reaching for the steering wheel to adjust. Before my hand could touch the wheel, the car moved left of center. Even the car knew to give the rig more space."

Others say the cars tend to react very cautiously, and the technology needs refining.

Officials with the Auto Alliance in Washington, D.C., which represents Toyota, Ford, General Motors, BMW and other major automakers, said alliance members are individually exploring autonomous vehicle technology, and have made huge advances in the past decade – much of it already in commercial vehicles.

"Your average vehicle today has more advanced computer work than there was on the Apollo 11 that landed on the moon" in 1969, spokesman Dan Gage said.

Vehicles now employ sensors to parallel park on their own and to warn drivers if they are about to pull into a lane when another car is in the driver's blind spot. Some are equipped with distance control assist, which automatically slows a vehicle when an object is close ahead, and lane departure technology that redirects a car if it begins to veer out of its lane.

Those and future incremental steps may make the ultimate switch-over less than dramatic, said Lachnit of "There won't be the shock of the new. Drivers will be ready for them."

Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence with Santa Monica-based, says self-driving cars can be useful, especially in congested traffic.

"You can update your Facebook, whatever you have to do," he said. "It means a part of (commuters') lives becomes more productive and less stressful."

But he predicts a slow adaption rate, saying the probable higher costs of driverless cars and consumer fear of the unknown will limit initial sales to wealthier people who like new technology.

Among those who say they won't switch is car club member and driving enthusiast Shane Cole of El Dorado Hills.

"I love to drive," Cole said. "If I wanted to just sit, I'd take the bus."

Cole asks what happens when, not if, a car's computer system fails. "My cellphone freezes. The computer shuts down sometimes. Every electronic device is going to fail at some point. Imagine your car wigs out on you on the freeway. It's kind of scary."

There may be bigger issues to resolve.

Toprak and others say autonomous technology would work best if all vehicles were self-driving, and roads are adapted to accommodate them. But that would involve unknown infrastructure expense.

Edmunds' Lachnit said there also is an unresolved legal question. Who's responsible if there is a crash? The vehicle occupant could argue he was not driving.

Automakers, she said, are unlikely to move forward with commercial production of the technology until that issue is resolved.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

Read more articles by Tony Bizjak


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