Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stack 'em up

I'll admit I'm a bit skeptical about this technology, especially in the United States, but we'll see how the rest of the world reacts to it.

A team of engineers and architects from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has partnered with General Motors to design a stackable, two-seat car. They did away with the basic design of the car that we're all used to, and rethought everything from the wheels to the engine. For example, each wheel is powered by "wheel robots" - independent motors and suspension systems that allow for more flexible driving, like parking sideways by turning 90 degrees. Prototypes of the so-called "City Car" are expected to be constructed in the near future.

But even more radical than the car's design is the vision of the social system behind the vehicle - it would be part of a car sharing scheme. The cars wouldn't be privately owned, but instead could be rented by swiping a credit card and grabbing a car from the front of the stack, like a grocery cart. MIT and GM have discussed small-scale testing in Singapore and Hong Kong.

No comments: