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"Science fiction and science have always danced around each other. Science fiction is the subconscious of science."
- Greg Bear

Roachster  
  A genetically-engineered vehicle based on arthropod DNA; uses implanted control structures.  

In this possible future (around 2044), most purely mechanical devices like cars, trucks and planes are replaced by enlarged organisms combined with implanted control devices.

"...When General Bodies designed their Roachster, they had an immense advantage. An arthropod's shell is laid down by an underlying membrane and is periodically replaced or molted. Once they had gengineered their hybrid to grow bumps in suitable places, beneath the legs... then they could have the membrane secrete a second layer of shell inside those bumps, just within the first... The end result is a wheel mounted on a central hub. The genimal's legs run backward on top of the wheels...

"There's the brain, the spinal chord, the motor centers. A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain." She explained how the controller, a computer, translated movements of the tiller or control yoke and the throttle and brake pedals into electrical signals and routed them as appropriate to the jets or the genimal's motor centers, triggering the genimal's own nervous system into commanding its muscles to serve the driver. All the necessary programming was built into the hardware, burned into PROM chips like the one pictured in his glossy.

"...A Roachster's plug is installed beneath the shell-secreting membrane, so molting will not effect it.

From Sparrowhawk, by Thomas A. Easton.
Published by Ace Books in 1990
Additional resources -

Jack Vance had a very similar idea in his 1964 novel The Last Castle; see the entry for power wagons.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sparrowhawk
  More Ideas and Technology by Thomas A. Easton
  Tech news articles related to Sparrowhawk
  Tech news articles related to works by Thomas A. Easton

Roachster-related news articles:
  - HI-MEMS: Cyborg Beetle Microsystem
  - Spy Moth Cyborg On/Off Switch Perfected
  - Radio-Controlled Beetle By UC Berkeley
  - Remote-Controlled Cyborg Beetle Video
  - Roboroach Slalom Steering Video
  - Roboroach Control? There's An App For That
  - Roboroach Now Shipping!
  - Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives

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