Sentient Vehicle

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Ever since their invention, people have always been enamored with vehicles. So just like animals, they've been anthropomorphized. There are sentient and sapient cars, buses, trucks, RVs (motorhomes), ATVs, trains (steam-powered, diesel-powered, or light rail), train cars, airplanes, helicopters, boats, ships, spaceships, etc. Name any vehicle, someone has probably made a character based on one. Some of them maintain a Masquerade, some do not, and some live in a world of their own without humans.

This trope does not cover vehicles that happen to have AIs when those AIs are treated as separate entities that are not integrated into the vehicle itself. Also, with the exception of Living Ships, they have to be inorganic (in other words, not a "living" being). May be justified if the vehicle has a true robot form and has its own AI.

Things under the heading "Other" include farm vehicles, construction vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, and golf carts.

Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object. Often overlaps with Automated Automobiles and Magic Bus. Supertrope of Living Ship, Sapient Ship, and Sapient Tank.

See also Sapient Steed and Uplifted Animal.

Examples:

Automobiles (Cars, Buses, RVs, and Trucks, etc.):

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     Advertising  

  • The Chevron Cars are Chevron Corporation's clay-animated stop-motion talking cars that feature in television commercials crafted by Aardman Animations. Modern commercials retain the art style set by Aardman, but do it in CGI.
  • The Red Car and the Blue Car in this Milky Way ad.

     Anime And Manga  

  • In the fourth Doraemon movie, one serves as the Five-Man Band's underwater exploration vehicle. It acts as somewhat of a Deadpan Snarker and Jerkass to most of the boys, although it acts nice to Shizuka, partly because she is nice to it. In the climax, despite being stuffed into Doraemon's 4-D Pocket, it hears Shizuka crying and bursts out, performing a Heroic Sacrifice and taking down the Big Bad.

     Comic Books  

  • The RapeVan from Hack/Slash: Trailers 2.
  • Suske en Wiske: Vitamitje, their car, has a face and a personality of its own, but it can't talk.
  • Wacky Raceland, DC's post-apocalyptic reboot of the Wacky Races, has the racers' cars issued with AIs that are as surly and sour as their crews: all hard, grizzled veterans of the wasteland. In one issue they are parked outside a bush pub where their crews are drinking, and... indulging in less healthy chemical stimulations (willingly or not), while talking smack and dealing with wasteland critters. An eight-legged mutant lizard jumps up and urinates on the Mean Machine, which fries it alive.
    Mean Machine: I've got to put up with a driver who gets me trashed in every single race and a biomechanical dog who wipes his wormy tailpipe on my seats on a daily basis. I sure as hell don't have to take crap from an eight-legged lizard.
    Convert-O-Car: Technically, that was urine.
    A drunk vomits on the Mean Machine
    Mean Machine: Hey!
    The other cars point and laugh

     Films — Animated  

     Films — Live-Action  

     Jokes 

  • A man was lost in the wilderness at night and trying to get back to civilization. As he was walking along the road, he saw a car rolling along and tried flagging it down. After it stopped, he climbed inside and tried to thank the driver...only to see there was no driver. Then the car started to roll along the road again with the man in the passenger seat. The car later came to a turn and the man was afraid they would go right off. Then a hand reached through the window and turned the steering wheel to make the turn. After some time of the car rolling along and the mysterious hand turning the wheel to make the turns, they came upon a town. As they passed a diner, the man jumped out and ran inside. He told his story to the other patrons who either dismissed him as crazy or thought there was some truth to his tale. Then two tired looking men walked into the diner and sat at a table. One of them looked at the man and said "Hey, that's the guy who got into the car while we were pushing it!"

     Literature  

  • In the first book in Diane Duane's young adult Young Wizards series, So You Want To Be A Wizard, the two protagonists enter an alternate Manhattan that is populated by sentient cars that spend most of their time trying to kill each other.
  • Christine and Trucks.
  • The train Sei follows in Palimpsest.
  • Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia becomes this in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After crashing into the Whomping Willow, the car ejects Harry and Ron and takes off into the Forbidden Forest, where it goes native and putters around the woods all year. It later saves Harry and Ron from being eaten by Aragog's clan of acromantulas.
  • Demon Road has the protagonist being driven across the USA by a man named Milo, aboard a 1970 Charger which is always spotless in the morning, though he is never seen to wash it, has incredible fuel economy for classic American muscle, is always spoken about like it's alive, regenerates damage from a Car Fu incident again being absolutely pristine by morning, and begins to devour and slowly digest an undead serial killer who is placed into the boot, which actually deforms to engulf him. Milo is eventually revealed to be an urban legend known as the Highway Ghost, and the Charger is his daemonic symbiote car.
  • In Void City, when Eric invests some of his vampiric essence into his classic Ford Mustang, turning it into a Soul Jar called a momento mori, it gains a measure of life and intelligence of its own. It is able to drive itself independently, and fuel itself by consuming the flesh and blood of creatures it drives over.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • The episode "You Drive". After a man kills a boy in a hit and run accident, his car develops a mind of its own and forces him to confess to the crime.
    • Episode "A Thing About Machines", where a man is tormented by the machines in his home, among them a car which ends up chasing him into a swimming pool where he drowns.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch had an episode that dealt with this trope: Sabrina purchased a car from the Other Realm and it turned out to have a mind of its own. Hilarity ensued as the car pestered Sabrina about the way she treated it.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place basically imitated the Sabrina example (as it so often does) with a cab that Alex reanimated.
  • Justified in My Mother the Car, as it's Mother's spirit that animates the old Porter, but from her speech she might as well really be the car.
  • K.I.T.T. in Knight Rider.
  • Carranger/Power Rangers Turbo; the good guys had a pair of sentient flying cars from outer space. Also, the Crabbie Cabbie, a Monster of the Week from the first series. and Tankenstein from Power Rangers in Space. Let's not forget the Engines of Engine Sentai Go-onger.
  • Krim Steinbelt of Kamen Rider Drive (which is inspired by the aforementioned Knight Rider) uploaded his mind as an AI that primarily inhabits the Drive Driver (earning him the nickname "Mr. Belt"), but can also operate the Tridoron (which is a car rather than a motorcycle like what main Riders usually use) and speak through the Shift Cars.
  • The cast of the preschool series The Big Garage. Which also features a talking gas pump.
  • In Supernatural's pilot episode, the ghost possesses the Impala and uses it to chase down the Winchesters and force them off the bridge.
  • Tayo The Little Bus, a popular South Korean kids' show available in English on Hulu, is based entirely on talking vehicles and aircraft and their interactions with humans.

     Pinball  

     Video Games  
  • Some Shin Megami Tensei games have Oboroguruma, which are ghost/demon cars that talk.
  • When Choro Q series steps into the RPG Wide Open Sandbox genre, every car in it is this.
  • Seek and Destroy features sentient tanks! What makes it funny is the fact that, despite being, well, tanks, the still manage to use a number of human mannerisms, for example, one tank, upon discovering his mooks failed to stop the main character, literally jumps up and down in anger. There's also the appearance of tank priests. It brings to question what sort of religion they follow. Oh, and then there's the final boss, the Tank Emperor, with his Three forms ranging from a massive land cruiser, a bulbous Spider Tank, and finally, a blob of gears, wires, and pure energy.
  • Putt-Putt

     Web Original  
  • Ravensblight is full of, and surrounded by, haunted things of every stripe. Buildings, vehicles, and even an abandoned fairground carousel have all popped up. Of particular note are the Phantom Semi, which may not have a being controlling it, we don't know; the same goes for Maxine, a black Plymouth Fury, though the town drunk swears old dead Selmer came back to get it; and the Haunted Car, a '37 Chevy that was bought new by a woman everyone perceived as being a witch and shunning technology, who was run off the road during the war years. The guy who ran her off was mysteriously "dealt with", with a plate from the Chevy being found nearby even though the car was last seen burning at the bottom of a cliff, though when towed away it kept regenerating itself in time to be sold to new owners, one of whom was robbed and left to die and whose attackers were run down by what appeared to be the car in question; he wanted it out of his life when he found it in his garage upon his release from hospital. The next owner raced it at night, and it is claimed it killed him; it was found ruined later, even though it hadn't a mark the previous night except for the broken windscreen from the incident, so it was towed out to a field and left there. Some say that if you pass that field at night you can still hear the first owners favourite song coming from the car. Is it doing these things itself, or is she still in there, somehow?
  • The SCP foundation has some in custody or appearing in secured areas; one item is part of some dead-end streets where various vehicles appear, scream around in impossible directions, and disappear. Some cars are damaged in accidents and end up in Foundation custody; they can talk through their sound systems, and give every impression that they know they're cars, and hints of coming from a world where cars live without people.
  • The various characters of Raznar's Tanktoons are sentient World War II and Cold War-vintage tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. Notably, cannon barrels are often treated almost like elephant trunks, serving as a weird combination of nose, hand, and gun.

     Western Animation  

Spacecraft (Rockets, Spaceships, etc.):

     Literature  

     Live Action TV  

     Western Animation  

  • In the Futurama episode "Love and Rocket", the Planet Express Ship gets a new AI, which quickly falls in love with Bender.
  • Captain Roger the space shuttle from the DVD-exclusive Cars Toon "Moon Mater".
  • Rocket from Little Einsteins

Trains, Monorails, Trolleys, Steetcars, and Train Cars:

     Anime And Manga  

  • Digimon Frontier had the digital world populated by machine digimon called Trailmon, who were basically sentient trains who carried their passengers to certain locations. Many of the trailmon had different looks, voices, and personalities, some even resembling mechanized animals, a kettle, and even Frankenstein.
    • Digimon Tamers also had the machine digimon Locomon, which traveled on conventional dual metal rails, unlike the single metal rail used by the Trailmon of later works in the franchise.
  • Anpanman has both SL-Man and Poppo-chan. SL-man is a regular steam locomotive, while Poppo-chan is a baby train, about the size of ones that you'd find on a child's ride.

     Animated Films  
  • Casey Jr. in Dumbo, as seen here.
    All aboard! Let's go!
  • Little E and the other trains from The Little Engine That Could, the film of the book. Also in the 1991 direct-to-video adaption.
  • The nature-loving steam train from the Soyuzmultfilm work Train from Romashkova.

     Literature  
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • Blain the Mono from The Dark Tower.
  • The .007 from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same name.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine is actually an adaptation of a series of books called "The Railway Series" by the Rev. W. Audrynote .
  • Raising Steam: Iron Girder the locomotive achieves sentience when so many people see her go until she basically becomes the goddess of all things steam-powered.

     Live Action TV  
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood had a model trolley that seemed to be able to converse with Mr. Rogers, as well as with the inhabitants of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

     Theatre  

     Western Animation  

Airplanes, Helicopters, and Other Aircraft:

     Anime And Manga  

     Animated Films  
  • Pedro the airplane from Saludos Amigos
  • Cars:
    • Rotor Turbosky, Kathy Copter, and Ron Hover the helicopters
    • Al Oft, the blimp
    • Barney Stormin, the biplane and the four fighter jets.
    • Siddeley, the fighter jet from the sequel.
    • Props McGee, Captain Munier, the Falcon Hawks, and Judge Davis from the ''Cars Toons''.
    • The entire Spin-Off film Planes.

     Video Games  

  • Windy Plane, the first boss of Ninja Baseball Bat Man. It's an anthropomorphic prop plane that stands on its tail and punches the player with its front wheels, no less.
  • Undertale has a monster called the Tsunderplane, which is, you guessed it- a Tsundere airplane, which attacks by summoning aircraft and needs to be "Approached" in order to spare it.

     Western Animation  

  • The opening of the Van Beuren Studios Tom & Jerry short "Swiss Trick" features a sentient cartoon train. At one point, it gives out and a rescue dog arrives to give it some brandy to drink.
  • Jay Jay the Jet Plane
  • Harold the helicopter and Jeremy the jet from Thomas the Tank Engine
  • The planes in the 1980s UK animated series Jimbo and the Jet Set.
  • "Little Johnny Jet" .a 1953 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon directed by Tex Avery.
  • Budgie The Little Helicopter: Many of the main cast:
    • Budgie is a little blue helicopter. Lionel, the "aircraft in charge", is a slightly larger brown helicopter with a four-blade rotor.
    • Pippa is a green "single-engined monoplane"note , although it's not evident where her engine is.
    • Chuck is a large twin-engined helicopter (a Boeing CH-47 Chinook, to be precise).

Boats, Ships, Submarines and other Seacraft:

     Anime and Manga  
  • In Arpeggio of Blue Steel humanity has been driven out of the seas entirely by a massive fleet of sapient super ships. More than half of the regular characters are ships.

     Animated Films  

     Western Animation  

Other:

     Anime and Manga  

     Animated Films  
  • In Cars, there are tractors that act like cows and a combine that acts like a bull.
  • In one of the Maters Tall Tales shorts, there were bulldozers that acted like bulls.
  • A tie-in storybook based on this series called Mater Saves Christmas showed Santa Car (a vehicle resembling a Dusenberg) being pulled by snowmobiles that acted like reindeer. Bessie, on the other hand, despite also being a bulldozer herself, is for some reason, not anthropomorphosized. The sequel featured a giant dump truck near the beginning that presumably acted like a bison. Another one of Mater's stories features "The Banshee", a monstrous earth-mover.

     Literature  
  • The jumping (and talking) stagecoach in Bellacrín y la Sombra.

     Tabletop Games  

     Video Games  

     Western Animation  


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