Classically, topological vector bundles are classified by homotopy classes of maps into infinite Grassmannians. This allows us to study topological vector bundles using obstruction theory: we can detect whether a vector bundle has a trivial subbundle by means of cohomological invariants. In the context of algebraic geometry, one can ask whether algebraic vector bundles over smooth affine varieties can be classified in a similar way. Recent advances in motivic homotopy theory give a positive answer, at least over an algebraically closed base field. Moreover, the behaviour of vector bundles over general base fields has surprising connections with the theory of quadratic forms.