A German automaker has created a small electric car designed for driving on congested roads or in cramped parking areas. The DFKI Robotics Innovation Center has been working specifically on the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 for the last three years. The car can shrink and drive sideways so it can fit into tight spaces.
A look at the EO Smart Connecting Car 2
The project manager for the car, Timo Birnschein, says drivers can drive the smart car like an average vehicle. It can also drive sideways since the wheels are powered by its own motors. He added that it only takes four seconds to transition the car from normal to sideways driving.
The new car remains in the prototype phase. It can fold itself to shrink from 8.2 feet to 4.9 feet. Its panels slide up and over each other. The unique design makes the smart car seem like a crab or armadillo. All four wheels remain on the ground during the process. Another interesting feature: its wheels can rotate 90 degrees, meaning it can spin in a perfect circle.
The Platoon project
The German tech company is also working on another project called Platoon. This project enables EO 2 cars to connect to each other as well as drive separately. They also hope the car will be able to park itself. DFKI Robotics Innovation Center aims to make the self-driving car a transportation resource with a dock station available to communities.
Birnschhein added that the car was very comparable feature-wise to the first prototype. He said the second version is more reliable, as it’s nearly ready for the road. He admitted that it is a big hassle to get the smart car on the road as they have so many technologies in the car. The technical advisory team is skeptical.
He believes more automakers will develop self-driving cars in next decade, but his company has yet to share when or if the EO 2 will become available to customers.