Sentient Vehicle

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Cars 261.jpg

In some works, 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. 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).

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

Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object. Often overlaps with Automated Automobiles and Magic Bus. Supertrope of Sapient Ship and Living Ship. See also Sapient Steed.


Examples of Sentient Vehicle include:

Automobiles (Cars, Buses, RVs, and Trucks, etc.)[edit | hide | hide all]

Advertising[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • 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.
    • Sentient almost everything, you mean. The Jerkass elevator and the killer helicopter come to mind.
  • Christine

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Twilight Zone TOS 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.
    • There's also the 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.
  • Somewhat subverted 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 had a pair of sentient flying cars from outer space.
  • The cast of the preschool series The Big Garage.[1]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Spacecraft (Rockets, Spaceships, etc.)[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • 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[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • * 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.

Animated Films[edit | hide]

All aboard! Let's go!

  • The train that showed up very briefly in Cars.
    • The sequel also has Stephenson the British spy train.
    • Model trains acting like snakes.

Literature[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Theater[edit | hide]

  • Starlight Express features several dozen sentient locomotives and train cars. And their steam-powered God.

Airplanes, Helicopters, and Other Aircraft[edit | hide]

Animated Films[edit | hide]

  • Pedro the airplane from Saludos Amigos
  • Rotor Turbosky, Kathy Copter and Ron Hover the helicopters, Al Oft the blimp, and Barney Stormin the biplane and the four fighter jets from Cars.
    • Also, Siddeley the fighter jet from the sequel.
    • And Props McGee, Captain Munier, the Falcon Hawks, and Judge Davis from the Cars Toons.
    • Plus the entire Spin-Off film Planes.
    • There are also remote control airplanes that act like birds.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Boats, Ships, Submarines and other Seacraft[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel is about the Fleet of Fog, a massive collection of alien AIs that have taken the forms of World War II naval vessels and have essentially besieged the nations of Earth.

Animated Films[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Other[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

Animated Films[edit | hide]

  • In Cars, there are tractors that act like cows and a combine named Frank 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 anthropomorphized.
    • The sequel featured a giant dump truck near the beginning that presumably acted like a bison.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. Which also features a talking gas pump.
  2. And even though "K.A.R.R." was the name of an evil clone of K.I.T.T. from the actual series.
  3. Further, Thomas wasn't originally the main character. He didn't even appear in the first book