Thursday, August 22, 2013

This car retreats into a protective, turtle-like shell when parked [with wideo]

Minimizing the footprint of commuter cars in big cities is a constant challenge for automobile engineers looking to produce vehicles that mix eco-friendliness and efficiency. Japan has long been known as a master of tiny commuter car design, but a new design hailing from South Korea offers a new vision of the commuter car that may provide the best solution for space-challenged cities.
The electric-powered Armadillo-T was developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) as a way to help reduce the amount of space used when a car is parked and not in use. Using a 13.6 kWh battery, the car is able to travel up to 37 miles per hour with about a 60 mile range on a single charge.
To accommodate the folding feature, the designers replaced traditional fold-out rear view mirrors with surround-view cameras. Of course, with electric cars like the Tesla out there, the Armadillo-T isn't the coolest looking vehicle, but when you're looking for a commuter car, the focus is usually on function rather than style.
Although the developers of the vehicle hope the new design idea will work to improve a number of issues related to commuting in large cities, they admit that vehicle itself isn't approved for actual road travel just yet.
You can see the Armadillo-T transforming into its armadillo-like incarnation in the video below.