A Vehicle that Folds for Easy Storage
Stackable carts can be found in Airports all over the world. You throw in a quarter or 2, use the little cart until you are done and then take it back. What if that basic technology was applied to a mass transit system in larger cities?
Once again our inventors at MIT have outdone themselves. This time they have an idea that could potentially change how we look at mass transit in larger cities. The Smart Cities Group from MIT Media Lab is currently working on 2 different designs that will save parking space and the environment.
The first is a foldable electric scooter. They plan to unveil a prototype next week at the EICAM Motorcycle show in Milan.
The second is a foldable 2 seater "car", called the City-Car. MIT said they plan to have a working prototype to show off next year.
"We're looking at urban personal mobility in a much more sustainable way than the private automobile provides," says William Mitchell, director of MIT's Smart Cities Research Group."
The basic idea is to solve the "last mile" problem. The "last mile" is that unavoidable short distance between a major transit point and your final destination.
The most innovational part of these vehicles is an omnidirectional robotic wheel. The drive motor, braking system, steering components and suspension are all housed within a sealed unit above the wheel. The lack of space between the dive system and the wheel makes the application much more flexible. For example, the car can be folded and stacked with 6 or 7 others and still fit into a traditional parking space.
MIT hope the new system will greatly decrease congestion inside cities and reduce harmful emissions. They have not yet released any information as far as real-world testing. I'll bet the shorter walks from you car to the mall entrance will be nice though.
Source : TechnologyReviewGeorge Delozier