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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 12:24, 18 December 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1564 xkcd comics, and only 15 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Sadly, it probably won't even have enough gas to make it to the first border crossing.
Title text: Sadly, it probably won't even have enough gas to make it to the first border crossing.


A self-driving car is a car that requires no human interaction to navigate streets to a destination. Thus, when Black Hat places the rock that weighs "as much as a small adult" into the car's seat, he begins the process of fooling the car into thinking it has an occupant when it does not. His purpose in doing so appears to be to send the car to Anchorage, Alaska, which is presumably far from where Black Hat and Cueball are standing, thus taking the car far away from its owner with relatively little effort on the part of Black Hat. This is the kind of evil prank Black Hat is infamous for.

The title text references the fact that driving to Alaska from the continental or contiguous 48 states requires two border crossings, once into Canada from the mainland, and once from Canada into Alaska. The car apparently begins some distance from the Canadian border, since it will likely run out of gas before reaching Canada. Black Hat expresses regret about this probable failure; presumably he was looking forward to the encounter between the border guards and the vehicle's "occupant". However even if the car does not get to Anchorage he will have created a serious problem for its owner who will have to report a stolen car.

Nevada was the first state to allow the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. But there are now several states in the US (as well as several countries in Europe) that allow this type of test. It is thus not possible to place Black Hat and Cueball based on this, except that they are in North or Central America north of the Darien Gap (the regions connected by overland routes to Alaska). At the time of the release of this comic there were no places where these cars were for sale to individuals, however several corporate owned test cars are frequently seen on public road (such as those operated by Google among others).


[Black Hat, carrying a large rock, is walking toward Cueball. Small fragments (earth?) falls of the rock leaving a trail after Black Hat.]
Black Hat: Would you guess this weighs as much as a small adult?
Cueball: What?
Cueball: Uh, probably.
[Black Hat walks past Cueball who turns to look after him.]
Black Hat: Great!
[Black Hat has walked out of the frame. Cueball is looking in the direction he left. Several noises and voices are coming from off-panel.]
Off-panel: *Thump*
Car voice (off-panel): Please fasten your seatbelt.
Off-panel: *click*
Black Hat (off-panel): Take me to Anchorage, Alaska.
Car voice (off-panel): Navigating
Off-panel: *slam*
[Black Hat walks back in the panel towards Cueball.]
Car driving off:Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Black Hat: I love self-driving cars.
Cueball: ...Whose car was that?
Black Hat: Dunno, but they shouldn't have left it running.

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