The new concept design from Germany drive sideways!
You may have noticed a trend lately where cars are getting smaller and smaller. Many are attributing this to the rate at which we are filling up the world, and therefore, the roads. Commuters are constantly facing congestion and traffic only to get to work and find no parking. However, German engineers have been working for quite a few years on a solution to that problem. According to CNN, they are making a flexible electric vehicle that can grow and shrink, drive sideways, and can turn very quickly.
This car, the EO Smart Connecting Car 2, comes from DFKI Robotics Innovation Center in Bremen, Germany. A team of software developers, designers, electricians, and construction engineers have come together in the lab to make this smart car. The project is about three years in, and they are finally ready to show the world what they have been working on.
They had a first edition of the car in 2012, but scrapped it to work on this model. The car handles like a traditional car, but each wheel is actually powered by its own motor, and because of this, it can drive sideways.
Timo Birnschein explains more: "The whole process -- the transition between normal driving and driving sideways -- takes about four seconds."
The car has a top speed of about 40 mph and can travel between 30-44 miles on a single four-hour charge. Still, the most exciting part of the car is that is can shrink to about 1.5 meters in length, if need be. It does so by folding in on itself. Again, Birnschein explains:
"It is able to reduce its own size by about 80cm, which makes it almost as small as a bike in length. And with this kind of feature you can go into very tiny parking spaces," he says. "You are still able to turn on the spot, you are still able to drive sideways and you are still able to connect to charging stations, for example."
However, the project has not been without problems: "[It] is very comparable feature-wise to the first prototype," says Birnschein. "The second version is much more reliable and almost road-legal. It's not really, but it's almost there and we are trying to bring this car to the road -- but it's a big hassle to be honest because we have so many new technologies in the car that the technical advisory guys are skeptical."
The next goal is to make the car drive itself.