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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), trams, ATVs, trains (steam-powered, diesel-powered, monorail, 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/or has its own AI.


Things under the heading "Other" include farm vehicles, construction vehicles, bicycles, tricycles, 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. For the villainous version, see Sinister Car.

See also Sapient Steed and Uplifted Animal.


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

    open/close all folders 

  • 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.
  • A short for Shell during Nazi-era Germany features talking cars, and treating the fuel as drinks, and even had sentient fuel pumps. Some of them even sing and dance.

    Anime & 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.
  • In the series Bumpety Boo, a sentient car that hatched from an egg accompanies Ken in Bumpety's search for his mother.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Motu Patlu episode "Magical Book", Motu, Patlu, and their friends are sucked into a magic book which details how their hometown of Furfuri Nagar was once populated by sentient cars and trucks rather than humans. They end up helping a female car named Baby to save her sister from being bullied by several cars and trucks.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Happy Formula, the characters drive their own cars. The cars are at least a little sentient since they know what's going on around them and they often look ahead or look at who's driving them.
  • Super Wings takes place in a world where sapient vehicles, humans, and animals co-exist, and some, such as the eponymous Super Wings, are Transforming Mecha.

    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 A.I.s 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
  • In Spider-Verse, amongst the weirder AU Spiders is a sentient Spider-Mobile from a universe of living cars.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • 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!"

  • 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.
  • Red Dwarf: In the second book, Better Than Life, when explaining how the creation of Genetically Engineered Life Forms transitioned from super-athletes to consumer products, the first example given is living cars, with bony exteriors and flesh interiors, that drove themselves and ran on "carfood" made from pig offal. Like all the other GELFs, they were essentially modified humans who were treated as slaves; when the GELF rebellion started, a VW Beetle is stated to have been involved in the first uprising.

    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.
    • A couple of episodes feature the evil counterpart of K.I.T.T., known as K.A.R.R.
  • 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.


    Video Games 
  • Bendy in Nightmare Run has a boss that’s a taxi named Gaskette.
  • 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.
  • In the Putt-Putt series, the title character and all his vehicle friends are alive, with eyes plastered on the front of their hoods.
  • All the playable vehicles in Stunt Race FX are alive, complete with eyes that look around.
  • One type of Heartless in Kingdom Hearts II, found in Timeless River, takes the form of a convertible car that attempts to run down Sora and his companions.
  • All the vehicles in the Tamagotchi franchise - not just the cars and trucks and buses, but the planes and boats too - have faces and are at least sentient enough to perform actions on their own (the car in Eiga Tamagotchi: Himitsu no Otodoke Dai Sakusen! clearly tries, of its own volition, to outrun the vehicle after the Tama-Friends' special delivery to the Gotchi King).

    Web Animation 

    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 SC Pfoundation 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.
  • One dream in Nightmare Beings had a milk truck with an old man's face on the front that shouted "YOU'RE REPEATING THE PUZZLE! YOU'VE BEEN REPEATING THE PUZZLE! YOU'RE REPEATING THE PUZZLE!"

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Roary the Racing Car
  • Ricardo the racecar in Doc McStuffins.
  • C.A.R. from The Replacements.
  • C.A.R.R. from Stroker and Hoop. Obvious parody of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, even though K.I.T.T. is an AI installed into a car.note 
  • Some of the vehicle characters in Bob the Builder
  • Some of the road vehicles from Thomas the Tank Engine, such as Bertie the bus.
  • Walt Disney's Susie the Little Blue Coupe.
  • Chugaboom from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop
  • Speed Buggy
  • Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch — pretty much the entire cast.
  • Ditto with Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks.
  • Mickey Mouse has a sentient car in the short "Mickey's Rival" (as does his eponymous rival Mortimer). And a sentient taxicab in another, much earlier short "Traffic Troubles".
  • In Season 2, episode 5 ("Car Trouble") of Kim Possible, an inventor named Dr. Freeman created a self-driving car with a female personality named SADI (Systemized Automotive Driving Intelligence), or Sadie.
  • Noddy's car, Car, from Noddy.
  • "Kitty", in Code Monkeys, is K.I.T.T. After K.I.T.T. made the decision to become a rapist after being jilted by Michael.
  • The characters of Jim Henson's Construction Site.
  • Turbo Teen is seen as this, but his closest friends know he's really a human merged with a car.
  • Friz Freleng's 1936 cartoon ''Streamlined Greta Green''.
  • Tex Avery's MGM cartoon "One Cab's Family".
  • The Ghostbuggy from Filmation's Ghostbusters.
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Auto B Good
  • The cartoon version of Beetlejuice had the Dragster Of Doom (or "Doomie") for short. A sentient car created through mad science. Oh, and he's also a werecar, transforming into a monstrous version of himself whenever he's in pain or to chase dogs.
  • Nelvana's The Adventures of Chuck & Friends stars sentient trucks.
  • Trucktown
  • The Hairy Bus (and his twin) from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode of the same name.
  • Eartha K.I.T.T. in Black Dynamite.
  • The UmiCar from Team Umizoomi
  • The toon cars and trains in Bonkers, most notably Ma Parker, the toon tow truck from "Calling All Cars" The episode does answer the question of what is behind the eyes in the windshield of windshield eye cars; it's a cabin complete with a steering wheel, seats, and seatbelts.
  • Two regular characters from Budgie the Little Helicopter are Dell, a baggage cart, and Smokey, a fire truck.
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines
  • The remote control toy car in "Drive My Car" from Beat Bugs, Deestructor (or "Dee" for short because he feels "Deestructor" sounds mean) is sentient and shouts to the Beat Bugs for help when he's driven nearly out of control by his kid. This often happens, and he's disturbed because he doesn't know who's controlling him.
  • 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.
  • The Garfield and Friends episode "Rolling Romance" features Abigail, a car that Jon buys for cheap at a used car lot and falls madly in love with him, as a parody of Christine. Garfield rids Abigail from Jon's life by finding a sentient airport PA system Abigail loves more.
  • The Futurama episode "The Honking" features "Project Satan", a were-car built from the parts of other evil cars. Its steering wheel came from Adolf Hitler's staff car, its left blinker from Charles Manson's Volkswagen and its windshield wipers from K.I.T.T..
  • In "Cutie Pie's Pizza Pies!" from Butterbean's Cafe, Cricket forms a bond with a pizza truck named Cutie Pie who clearly wants to be with her and actively resists Miss Marmalady.
  • There were two episodes in Regular Show that contained sentient vehicles characters.
    • The first time was in the episode "Ello Gov'nor" where Rigby tries to face his fears from a possessed British Taxi after seeing a British horror film called "Ello Gov'nor" (Which appears to be similar to the film The Car.)
    • The second time was in the episode "Out of Commission" when Mordecai and Rigby poured energy drinks on to an old golf cart's engine, resulting in it coming to life.
    Cart: Woah, is this what it's like to be conscious?

Spacecraft (Rockets, Spaceships, etc.):


    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • The main characters of 17776 are three space probes (namely Pioneer 9, Pioneer 10, and the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer [JUICE]) who gained sentience from exposure to human broadcasts.

    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.
  • Every character from Space Racers.

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

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • 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.

    Films — Animation 
  • Stephenson the high-speed spytrain in Cars 2
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Old No. 22, a retired cable car from Herbie Rides Again.

  • The Little Engine That Could
  • Choo Choo 1937: The book stars a steam locomotive who decides to try going fast without her coaches dragging her down one day.
  • 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. Awdrynote .
  • 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.


    Video Games 
  • Cuphead: Aside from the fact that the entire Phantom Express owes the Devil its soul, the train engine itself attacks the heroes Cuphead and Mugman in the final phase.

  • The Beast from Girl Genius is a particularly malevolent Heterodyne built train and Brother Ulm ends with his consciousness transferred into a new experimental train in order to save his life after part of the Beast blows up in his face.

    Western Animation 
  • The train belonging to Mickey Mouse in the early Mickey cartoon, "Mickey's Choo-Choo".
  • 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.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine and friends
  • Chuggington
  • PLAY SAFE! PLAY SAFE! featured a rather demonic-looking steam locomotive that actually scared the lives out of children that have watched this short.
  • The engines of Underground Ernie.
  • At least two of UPA's earliest endeavors featured trains of this kind:
    • The first, Hell Bent For Election, which promoted Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1944 reelection, involves a race between two trains. One is the Win the War Special, a modern streamlined train with a caricature of Roosevelt's face on the engine, and the other is the Defeatist Limited, a rickety old train whose engine has the face of Roosevelt's Republican rival Thomas Dewey, and pulls a bunch of cars representing all that's wrong with America: hot air, high prices, taxes, business as usual (a sleeper car), poor housing for war workers, a hearse wagon for labor legislation, a small two-wheel cart with just a few apples inside for unemployment insurance, and finally a caboose named "Jim Crow." Naturally, the Win the War Special wins the race.
    • The second is the title character in Big Tim, which was produced for the Timkins Ball Bearings Company to advertise their roller bearings for freight cars.
  • Rhyme Time Town has Jaime, who chats with the other characters and is guided by a sentient star at night to get home.

Airplanes, Helicopters, and Other Aircraft:

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • 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 
  • 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. A sentient B-29 bomber is despondent because he can't get work in the new age of jet aircraft.
  • 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 & 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.

    Films — Animation 

    Western Animation 


    Anime & Manga 

  • The Punisher 2099 made his police vehicle sentient by giving it the personality chip from his old robot partner, who turned out to be in the same vigilantistic line of work.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The Warrior of the Lost World has Einstein, a talking motorbike, although mostly it just repeated "90s street lingo" phrases in triplicate in a high-pitched whine. Joel and the Bots were unimpressed.

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

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sapient Vehicle


Worville Wright

Worville Wright lurks in the depths of the world born from Haoyu's heart, embodying Haoyu's warped emotions. He attacks the player by dropping cubes and launching propellers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SentientVehicle

Media sources:

Main / SentientVehicle