The futuristic concept of real world 'Transformers' driving in the streets has left the drawing boards and is here now.
Meet Hiriko, the real-life transformer car designed by MIT Media Labs as a CityCar prototype was launched this week in Spain. The electric two-seater smartcar is 100 inches long and is capable of folding up and into only 60 inches long. Featuring approximately the same width of a standard car, a typical street parking spot can accommodate three (3) Hiriko electric cars!
Watch the Video to see how Hiriko can function and transform:
Another special "transforming" feature Hiriko has is that the car’s robotic wheels have the ability to tilt in such a way that Hiriko can spin around its own center.
Hiriko has the ultimate technology to be compact due to the deployment of new generation electric motors, steering and brakes on the same wheels all integrated into one system.
The Hiriko vehicle has a capacity is two occupants maximum and offers complete protection from the weather, rain or shine. This extra small vehicle has been dubbed "Urban Car" for another reason besides its compact design, the speed and functionality can only drive as fast as city speed limits and its electric power gets a range of 75 miles per charge.
“I call this mobility on demand! Hiriko’s technology and green footprint is five times better than you find in today’s Smart cars.” - says Ryan Chin, the researcher behind the concept thought up at the MIT labs in the 1980s.
However critics and experts alike agree that the speed limit is critical in reflection with its very minimal, some say total absent of, safety features.
The proximity of passengers to the windshield, and the overall size will not offer protection in the event of a high-speed crash. But then again... neither does riding a motorcycle, and those can go up higher than 100 miles per hour!
The Hiriko electric folding goes on sale in Spain at about 13,000 euros (about $16,500 US dollars).