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Inflatable Passenger
Status: Weird News
image Sheilas’ Wheels, a UK-based auto-insurance company that caters to women, has announced the invention of a "buddy on Demand": "a blow up man that inflates at the flick of a switch if and when a passenger is needed to be used whenever a woman driving alone after dark needs an instant passenger."

It doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it would be very useful for carpool lanes as well. I suspected the whole thing was a joke since I couldn't find any picture of this "Buddy on Demand," and it's not for sale yet, but in their press release Sheila's Wheels notes that "The 'Buddy on Demand' was designed and created by Inflate, with all design rights owned by esure services Ltd." That sounds official enough to make me believe they really did create this thing.

Update: Found a picture of the Buddy. (Thanks, VL)
Categories: Exploration/TravelTechnology
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 26, 2006
Reuters article displays one picture, but I am not sure about the provenance.
Posted by VL  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  03:44 AM
The scary part of driving alone at night isn't the driving. It's the walking to and from the car. I guess it would stop someone from following you home or something though.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  04:40 AM
Belgian newspaper De Standaard has a set of pictures.
The article (in Dutch): http://www.standaard.be/Artikel/Detail.aspx?artikelid=DMA25072006_010
The pictures:
Posted by robert.wood  in  Hasselt, Belgium  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  05:37 AM
And if there is a problem... there is always the manual inflation valve.
Posted by Jim  in  Columbus, Ohio  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  09:24 AM
Its obviously fake. They put the thing in the drivers seat.
Posted by coit  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  12:26 PM
>It doesn't sound like a bad idea, and it would be very useful for carpool lanes as well.

Motorists in the Virginia suburbs of Washington have been using dummies to get around traffic congestion for years. It's probably been officially declared illegal. Go back in the files of the Washington Post and you'll find lots of stories about the police catching people doing this.
Posted by Phred22  in  Maryland  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  12:39 PM
From his comment, I guess Jim thought the same thing I did about this thing. It looks just like the autopilot from the movie Airplane! Let the hilarious possibilities ensue.
Posted by Archibold  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  03:00 PM
"Its obviously fake. They put the thing in the drivers seat."

Erm, coit, in the UK the driver's seat is on the right and the passenger seat is on the left.

It seems like it wouldn't have been that hard to make the face a little more realistic, though.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Marathon, Texas  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  06:51 PM
These inflatible companions date back almost 100 years to the early days of women driving automobiles

P.
Posted by PeteL  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  09:21 PM
"It looks just like the autopilot from the movie Airplane!"

They had a similiar tech in the movie "Men In Black 2" iirc.

I'd be funny if someone forgot to remove it and some guy get on the passenger seat without noticing, and then suddenly it deploys by accident. Oops!
Posted by RAMChYLD  in  somewhere in Malaysia  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  09:27 PM
"Erm, coit, in the UK the driver's seat is on the right and the passenger seat is on the left."

Heh heh.... I was just kidddinnngggg.
Posted by coit  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  11:24 PM
I think this should be illegal. What do you want to bet that people just use it to get out of trouble if caught drink-driving or speeding? 'It wasn't me driving, officer!' - much better than blaming a real passenger as you wouldn't be getting a friend or relative in trouble.
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  05:02 AM
"... The piano has been drinking,
not me."

--Tom Waits
Posted by Big Gary  in  Floydada, Texas  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  01:47 PM
I imagine this would be a boon to all those trying to get away with driving in the carpool lane, but really, do you think a potential rapist is going to be fooled for more than a second by that?!
Posted by Joe Stricker  in  Detroit  on  Sat Jul 29, 2006  at  01:31 AM
I am a single female whom is buying a mobile home,thus will be travelling on my own. I thought of this sometime ago. A large, rough redneck ,guy, hat on head ,checked shirt. He could sit up in the passenger seat .Reading , the current newspaper,. We don't have those passenger lanes here. Any direction to secure him, would be appreciated
Bon Voyage, Cherry
Posted by cherry Reddy  in  Australia  on  Fri Jul 05, 2013  at  08:50 PM
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