Why do we call the Mercedes Benz Smart Car smart — when it’s really just small?
A truly smart car might be able to drive sideways, like the equally tiny, shape shifting EO Smart Connecting Car 2.
A research project from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the EO 2 is designed for crowded cities where rush hours are nightmares and parking in nearly non-existent.
Though just a prototype, the EO 2 gives ample evidence of how some of its innovations could lead to truly smart, even flexible cars.
Painted white and featuring large windows and butterfly doors, the all-electric EO 2 looks like the future. It drives like the future, too.
All four of EO 2’s wheel’s can rotate 90 degrees, so that they’re perpendicular to the car’s body.
This allows the vehicle to not only spin in a perfect circle, but when the wheels are fully turned, drive sideways.
Cars capable of this feat could mean the end of parallel parking.
Even if you are an expert parker, sometimes the spot is too small for even a smart car.
At roughly 1,653 lb. (about the same weight as a Smart car), the EO 2 can compress its body, with the panels sliding up and slightly over each other in a sort of crab or armadillo move.
Its body size shrinks down from 8.2 ft. to 4.9 ft., while keeping all four wheels on the ground.
Next up, the German researchers want to reinvent commuting again with a concept they call “Platoon.” Each of the EO 2 cars is designed to connect to another EO 2, creating a sort of train of cars.
The benefit is that drivers in the connected EO 2 Platoon can take their hands off the wheel; the electric car goes into fully autonomous mode.
No word for now on when, or if, the eventually self-drivng EO 2 will come to consumers.Mashable contacted the developers in Germany and will update this post with their response.