Car that can ‘shrink,’ drive sideways finally hits the road

A team of engineers in Germany has created EO Smart Connecting Car 2, which can move sideways like a crab

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The explosive growth of cities has forced commuters to struggle through congested roads and fight for limited parking spaces.

However, that may all be a thing of the past, as a team of engineers in Germany has created a ”flexible” electric vehicle that can “shrink” and drive sideways.

The car currently named EO Smart Connecting Car 2 is the brainchild of DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, located in Bremen, Germany. The team behind the car that can move sideways like a crab, is composed of software developers and designers alongside electronics and construction engineers.

The team had worked on the smart micro car for three years.

The car, first announced in 2012 is in its second iteration and despite the fact that it drives like a traditional car, each of its wheels is powered by a separate motor, giving it the ability to drive sideways.

This means the car can fit into tight spaces in urban settings where appropriately spaced parking spots are not always available.

Project manager for the groundbreaking vehicle is Timo Birnschein told CNN that “the whole process -- the transition between normal driving and driving sideways -- takes about four seconds.”

The current prototype which has a range of 50-70 kilometers on a four-hour charge of the battery can also reach speeds of 65 km/h. The car’s two seat configuration allows the car to shrink to approximately 1.5 meters in length also adding to its urban capability added Birnschein.

Birnschein also told CNN that “It is able to reduce its own size by about 80cm, which makes it almost as small as a bike in length. And with this kind of feature you can go into very tiny parking spaces.”

“You are still able to turn on the spot, you are still able to drive sideways and you are still able to connect to charging stations, for example,” he added.

Can also fold itself

The small “Transformer” like vehicle can fold itself reducing its size by shifting the rear axle to the front and slides on rails to raise the interior upwards without compromising on occupant comfort.

The team has invited many manufacturers to examine the vehicle and so far the reactions have been positive.

Birnschein says his team is working on further features like auto pilot and automatic parking and that the dream of such an autonomous vehicle will be a reality once larger manufactures are onboard.