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Korean 'Armadillo' Electric Car Folds Up, Parks, Controlled By Your Smartphone

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the put-it-in-the-glove-compartment-of-your-SUV dept.

Transportation 124

cartechboy writes "Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have unveiled a crazy foldable, compact electric vehicle that, well, folds up like an armadillo. What's more, you can engage the armadillo-like folding process as well as actually park the car with a smartphone. Yes, there's an app for that. Not sure if it's the folding part or the idea of people trying to park any car using their cellphones that makes this concerning. The shrinking process takes only around 15 seconds, and reduces the car's 110-inch length to just 65 inches as it essentially curls into a ball."

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How safe is that car? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44657937)

also a top speed of 40 mph is not very good.

Re:How safe is that car? (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44657983)

As an American who likes to drive on the highway, I agree.

As an American who is currently stuck in an urban shithole where 40mph is a pipe dream, I might want one of these.

Re:How safe is that car? (-1, Flamebait)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44658091)

Agreed. Nothing like sitting in traffic in a Mustang with a 302 Coyote engine. A piece of shit like this is just the thing for the stop and go commute where 35MPH is almost non-attainable. Not to mention the parking lot where I get fender rubs and door dings weekly.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about a year ago | (#44658449)

if it had a full door with a window I might like it better but I would be afraid that the joint would leak given it doesn't snap after a few years of rough driving and speed bumps.

I peeked at a smart pure coupe the other day which I keep thinking my next car might be [the gas one not the electric] and for such a tiny car it has a lot of passenger room for two passengers anyway.

Re:How safe is that car? (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44660593)

"if it had a full door with a window I might like it better but I would be afraid that the joint would leak given it doesn't snap after a few years of rough driving and speed bumps."

They can't, it's legally a quad and cannot have full doors without being able to attain the full collision security a normal car has to get.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#44661037)

The problem with the SMART is, that even with it being that small, the MPG is still only OK. To compare:

SMART: 34/38 $12.4k
Corolla: 27/34 $16k
Civic: 28/39 $18k

So, you pay less for a micro car that gets good city MPG, but just OK highway, and has no space. I guess I would have to ask myself if the price difference is worth it. I am sure the Corolla and Civic have many features that the SMART lacks as well...such as crumple zones.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44661467)

It's not really aimed at US/Australian suburbs. It's aimed at cities like Amsterdam where tiny cars are more practical and already popular.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year ago | (#44661581)

Or a Yaris for $14K that seats 4 and gets 30/37 mpg?

I'm surprised the SMART fortwo is that cheap. When the diesel ones came out in Canada they were much more than that (current msrp for a smart fortwo gas is more than a yaris in Canada). The biggest benefit of a "smart" car over a yaris was parking (special half spots to fit them where I live). Now, if you have the money, an electric car is tempting due to the free charging stations.

Smart cars seemed to all be owned by businesses (with full wrap advertising) or rich people that have it as a city car (but generally drive their BMW or Mercedes if they plan on transporting anything or want comfort).

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44658701)

Agreed. Nothing like sitting in traffic in a Mustang with a 302 Coyote engine.

I'm reminded of "Yuppiedrone", an old song making fun of yuppies, with a line that brags that his BMW will do 100mph in ten seconds or something and "it takes an hour to go five miles."

You're exactly right, this isn't for 100 mile trips any more than a motorized bicycle or motor scooter is. You'd still need a car, but it would be handy, cheap to drive as well as being really fucking cool!

Am I the only geezer here today? I'd expect someone to point out that the 21st century is a science fiction fantasy, just like we thought it'd be, and it's even wilder than we imagined. I don't remember seeing any folding cars in anything I've read... but then, I didn't know that Murray Leinster predicted the internet [baen.com] (full text of story in link) in 1946, either.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#44659643)

Jetson's? His car folded down into a briefcase.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44660239)

Mcgrew wrote :-

it would be handy, cheap to drive as well as being really fucking cool! ... I don't remember seeing any folding cars in anything I've read...

Been done before [dogonews.com] , and forgotten thank goodness, as this Armadillo soon will be.

You have a strange idea of cool. You are going to look like a dork in one of those.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44661533)

Am I the only geezer here today?

No, and yes in many ways it's even wilder than we imagined. eg: the wife is tapping me on the shoulder right now because our WoT battle is about to start...:)

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44660561)

" Not to mention the parking lot where I get fender rubs and door dings weekly."

I see 2 problems.
1. If somebody parks right behind this car, you'll not be able to uncurl it and you will have to take the bus.
2. if you got a nice parking place with the car uncurled, why the hell curl it into a ball if you risk not being able to leave?

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#44661053)

Take up half the end cap parking spot in a parking garage. I

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#44658333)

As an American, is the "foldable" feature attracting you?

I ain't sure the space saving from the length that "goes from 2.8m in drive mode to 1.65m in parking mode" will be a big plus for the States and Canada. Perfect for Japan where every inches saved counts although.

Well, maybe for people living in downtown New York or Toronto but even there, I am not sure that the space saving in parking mode is relevant.

What do you think?

Re:How safe is that car? (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44658369)

Only if I can jump out, engage the folding, and then remote control it into impossibly small spaces. That would be totally hilarious.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#44658423)

Only if I can jump out, engage the folding, and then remote control it into impossibly small spaces. That would be totally hilarious.

That is the entire point of the thing.

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44658601)

Well, maybe for people living in downtown New York or Toronto but even there, I am not sure that the space saving in parking mode is relevant.

You're paying for a space to park your car, the space isn't going to be cheaper because your car is only 1.65m long, so it's pretty much irrelevant.

Except as a cute party trick - "Hey guys, watch this!"

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year ago | (#44658673)

Well, maybe for people living in downtown New York or Toronto but even there, I am not sure that the space saving in parking mode is relevant.

You're paying for a space to park your car, the space isn't going to be cheaper because your car is only 1.65m long, so it's pretty much irrelevant.

Except as a cute party trick - "Hey guys, watch this!"

If these type of cars catch on, they might designate areas of the lots for 'armadillos only', just like some do for compact cars and motorcycles. If that were the case for paid parking, I could see the smaller spots being offered at a reduced rate...I don't know, does anyone know if you pay a different rate right now for assigned motorcycle parking vs a regular parking spot?

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44660057)

If these type of cars catch on, they might designate areas of the lots for 'armadillos only', just like some do for compact cars and motorcycles. If that were the case for paid parking, I could see the smaller spots being offered at a reduced rate

Hmmm...so, you're saying I can split my parking area up into five slots for an armadillo, or three for regular cars...and I can charge 40% LESS for the armadillo spaces, or make 40 MORE on the five spaces....

SO hard to decide....

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year ago | (#44660371)

If these type of cars catch on, they might designate areas of the lots for 'armadillos only', just like some do for compact cars and motorcycles. If that were the case for paid parking, I could see the smaller spots being offered at a reduced rate

Hmmm...so, you're saying I can split my parking area up into five slots for an armadillo, or three for regular cars...and I can charge 40% LESS for the armadillo spaces, or make 40 MORE on the five spaces....

SO hard to decide....

Yeah, parking lot owners may just take the opportunity to jack up the number of stalls without actually reducing the cost per stall...but that would bite them on the ass once they see those stalls sitting empty because even people with an armadillo say 'fuck it, if it's the same price, I'll just grab a full sized stall'

OTOH, if they offer those stalls at even a 10 to 20% discount...well, in some cities in the world, that small savings on an ongoing basis would do a *lot* towards defraying the purchase cost of one of these (unless they're priced like hybrids). Now the trick is to be sure that your lot has been able to add at least 10% to 20% more parking spots in a given area by converting some of it to 'dillo parking...profit!

Re:How safe is that car? (1)

mwehle (2491950) | about a year ago | (#44659125)

You're paying for a space to park your car, the space isn't going to be cheaper because your car is only 1.65m long, so it's pretty much irrelevant.

In San Francisco there are any number of parking spaces, between driveways for instance, which will accommodate a Smart car but not my Prius. The length of the car very much does matter when looking for urban parking.

Re:How safe is that car? (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44658245)

I used to work near a retirement community. 55+, nearby golf course and supermarket shopping mall. Most of the residents had electric golf carts instead of cars and they worked just fine. And that's all this is - a glorified electric golf cart.

Re:How safe is that car? (2)

jonyen (2633919) | about a year ago | (#44658477)

I used to work near a retirement community. 55+, nearby golf course and supermarket shopping mall. Most of the residents had electric golf carts instead of cars and they worked just fine. And that's all this is - a glorified electric golf cart.

But it's a glorified electric golf cart that folds!

Re:How safe is that car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658489)

Is it less safe than a bicycle, scooter of motorcycle? If not, it is safe enough for some road uses.

It is faster than a bike, so we know that it is fast enough for some road uses.

Is it the ideal replacement for every other car on the road? Obviously not. Is it worth pointing out that it will never win a drag race, rock-crawling competition or transport a family of 7? Fuck no.

Looks like one more thing that could break. (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44657961)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years. What happens if the damned thing gets stuck? Or a motor burns out that controls the expansion. Or a gear gets stripped...

And honestly, how small do you need to make a car? The difference between the expanded and contracted versions was not that great. I'd keep it expanded all the time. Why not. Are you ever going to have that little space? Unlikely.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about a year ago | (#44658233)

I'd keep it expanded all the time. Why not. Are you ever going to have that little space? Unlikely.

If people started buying these, I would expect businesses that deal with parking problems to reserve some extra-small spaces for these cars -- most likely desirably-located spaces, in order to encourage people to use them. That's why you'd use it.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44658441)

This reminds me of how California encouraged the use of hybrids and electric vehicles - they made it so that conforming vehicles had access to the HOV lanes even with only the driver.

This was an option worth several thousand dollars to many drivers, which combined with federal and state rebates made the vehicles very attractive to many buyers. Of course, it had the somewhat unattractive affect of allowing ANY hybrid - including relatively huge ones like the Ford Escape that still gets worse mileage than any non-hybrid econoboxes into them while disallowing said fuel-sipping traditionals.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44658989)

And of course there are many non-hybrid cars that get better mileage then many hybrids.

And yet they get no benefit despite being much more environmentally friendly.

Its all politics, fashion, and fads. Logic or justice has nothing to do with it.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44659211)

A guy at my work gets free electricity (and a great spot) for his electric car, which is a Tesla and the most expensive car on the lot. That's logic and justice for you.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44659353)

And of course there are many non-hybrid cars that get better mileage then many hybrids.

Which is why I mentioned the Ford Escape Hybrid up against 'any econobox'. There are small IC engined cars that beat Priuses in mpg, but they're not as common, and generally much more limited.

And yet they get no benefit despite being much more environmentally friendly.

Yep. If you rate them by gas mileage, a non-hybrid is more environmentally friendly than a hybrid. If you rate them by function, the hybrid will win IF the usage pattern favors hybrids - inner city driving, for example. If you're all highway a turbo-diesel will be better.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44659411)

There were a lot of cars in the 1980s that had much better gas mileage... mostly because they were a great deal lighter. Safety standards have complicated that approach. But perhaps if they put as much effort into making cars light they might actually get a superior effect.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44659551)

That's being done for a number of cars, with increasing amounts of aluminum, carbon fiber, even exotics like magnesium. Trick is that doing so is expensive and drives up the cost of the car.

And, as you say, it tends to be counter-acted by things like including a huge battery pack for hybrids, and even for non-hybrids you have the ever increasing numbers of air bags and such.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44659645)

It would be interesting to see what would come of a race to produce a lighter car rather then a more reasonable hybrid. That is, accept the gasoline engine and just try to improve mileage. I think they'd produce a better car at a cheaper price.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about a year ago | (#44659785)

It's not just a weight thing On a round trip between San Diego and Palm Springs (mostly freeway with a good dose of mountain switchbacks), my dads Mazda 6 got 42mpg (EPA rating is 38 highway). Modern engine design can do a lot to increase efficiency.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44660327)

If people started buying these, I would expect businesses ... to reserve some extra-small spaces for these cars -- most likely desirably-located spaces, in order to encourage people to use them.

In the UK there are already quite a few Smart cars, like there were Minis before that, and Bubble cars before that, and it has never happened.

And what do you mean by a "desirable" parking place? In my work car park I tend to park as far as possible from the turnstile, and ditto from supermarket doors; less likely to get dinged that way, and I can go out to my car at lunch time and get some peace and quiet. Just illustrates that different people have different lifestyles, different preferences, and like different cars. There will never be a day when we all drive one of these 4-wheel scooters.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year ago | (#44658393)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years. What happens if the damned thing gets stuck? Or a motor burns out that controls the expansion. Or a gear gets stripped...

And honestly, how small do you need to make a car? The difference between the expanded and contracted versions was not that great. I'd keep it expanded all the time. Why not. Are you ever going to have that little space? Unlikely.

Umm...target market seems to be Korea, where (in Seoul at least) people need all the parking space advantages they can muster. This is a place where it is normal and polite to fold your side view mirrors in every time you park. I'm not sure if this is an automated feature or not, since we took public transit everywhere and just noticed the difference from our 'ordinary'...it was odd at first, but so consistently done that you stopped noticing after a while.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44658545)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years.

Or imagine renting one by the hour from a company like Zipcar [zipcar.com] . A commuter could leave their "real" car at home, and take a train or bus into the city, and then rent one of these, as-needed, to get around downtown.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44658947)

yeah but why not just have a smart car or similar? The collapsed size doesn't appear much any smaller then the ultra compact cars I've seen previously.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | about a year ago | (#44659787)

Perhaps as an end user there would be little benefit, but if the Zipcar franchise had a downtown holding pen, I'm sure they'd appreciate the ability to store almost twice as many cars on the same space.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year ago | (#44658633)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years. What happens if the damned thing gets stuck? Or a motor burns out that controls the expansion. Or a gear gets stripped...

Then you have to get it towed. Just like you do now when your car has a mechanical failure that prevents you from driving it.

And honestly, how small do you need to make a car? The difference between the expanded and contracted versions was not that great. I'd keep it expanded all the time. Why not. Are you ever going to have that little space? Unlikely.

That would depend on where you live or park. If you live in a rural or suburban area then this probably isn't the car for you. If you live or work in the downtown area of a large city, then this may be great for you. Just because it's not useful for everyone doesn't mean it's not useful for anyone.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658927)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years. What happens if the damned thing gets stuck? Or a motor burns out that controls the expansion. Or a gear gets stripped...

Unfortunately, even the modern cars that don't fold up are studded with unnecessary "features" that just add more points of maintenance and unreliability.

I bought a new car last year and the top trim model had half a dozen "features" that nobody at the dealership could explain or even understand. I literally bought the cheaper model - passing up the lumbar adjustments I really really wanted - because the more expensive one had too many dumb and unnecessary electronic add-ons. The car company convinced me to give them less money!

Even in the model I got there are insane so-called "features". Like, every time I get within a certain distance of the car after dark it lights up and unlocks itself. I hate that - I walk by the car a dozen times in an evening sometimes going between house and yard. And my keys live in one place - my pocket - when I'm awake and above water. I'm not going to stop carrying my key ring so the stupid car can't detect me, that's idiotic.

Re:Looks like one more thing that could break. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44659319)

Imagine owning one of those things for several years. What happens if the damned thing gets stuck? Or a motor burns out that controls the expansion. Or a gear gets stripped...

And honestly, how small do you need to make a car? The difference between the expanded and contracted versions was not that great. I'd keep it expanded all the time. Why not. Are you ever going to have that little space? Unlikely.

I expect it to fold up into a briefcase.

Also Fly. Carrying a family of 4.

Unparking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44657975)

If a car parks within 55 inches behind me, how do I unpark? Hell, how do I get into my car at all?

Re:Unparking (1)

jonyen (2633919) | about a year ago | (#44658103)

Good point. Smash its fender with your Armadillo's rear as you try to unpark. Not the best solution, but I'd imagine it would be quite satisfying.

Re:Unparking (1)

demoncleaner925 (2718229) | about a year ago | (#44658509)

1. take out your spare wheel 2. put it between his fender and your fender 3 shunt him back 4. drive forward one yard 5. dont forget your spare wheel 6. leave a note for him, sufficiently sarcastic with a false number that should do it

Re:Unparking (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year ago | (#44658593)

If a car parks within 55 inches behind me, how do I unpark? Hell, how do I get into my car at all?

I would think that these are intended for super short nose-in parking stalls, like the 'compact cars only' or 'motorcycle only' parking spots. It would effectively increase the number of vehicles per square meter, and could make it possible to convert additional spaces to parking for these units as well as motorcycles / scooters. It would be a heck of a lot easier to pick up groceries in one of these than, say, a motorcycle, so long as you are making one trip and unloading everything once you got home...don't forget the eggs in the backseat!

Of course, these concerns could be alleviated somewhat if this vehicle only had the ability to rotate the wheels 90 degrees and slide into / out of a parallel parking spot while folded. Could be a tricky maneuver in heavy traffic, though, considering you'd have to get into / out of the vehicle while in the lane of traffic.

Meh. Interesting idea, I like to see outside the box thinking sometimes :)

What happens if folded when a person is inside (1)

MLBs (2637825) | about a year ago | (#44657987)

From the video, I guess that no harm would come to them other than the fact that if the unfolding breaks, they may not be able to get out.

Re:What happens if folded when a person is inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658219)

I'm more worried about the beer I just bought.

Self-parking I want. Heck, even self-driving would be great. But don't crush my beer.

jetsons, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658033)

yeah, somebody's been watching too much Jetsons.

then again, here in Boston, people have been playing Battletech for waaaay too long: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/projecthexapod/stompy-the-giant-rideable-walking-robot-0

Woops! Folds upon command by cellphone?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658041)

So in other words, no texting while driving?

LoL (3, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44658051)

What if you forgot to take the groceries out of the back before you 'shut it'?
Will it do that if someone is in the car?
I bet a lot of people would have fun tipping them over when folded up.
The smaller size is only when parked, so it won't help you get into a smaller parking space.
Those tiny casters aren't going to be used for rolling it around anywhere, so why the heck didn't they use something more durable like a post/leg?

It's funny, but not very practical in my opinion. I wonder how many clowns you can cram into it?

Re:LoL (4, Insightful)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about a year ago | (#44658237)

And, if someone parks really close to you while it is folded you won't have enough space to unfold it.

Re:LoL (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about a year ago | (#44660095)

That's OK, just pick it up and move it!

Re:LoL (1)

fishybell (516991) | about a year ago | (#44658455)

Obligitory XKCD^H^H^H^H Perry Bible Fellowship: http://pbfcomics.com/156/ [pbfcomics.com]

Re:LoL (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44658499)

1. You open it back up, or since it's likely the cargo space that folds, some sensor stops it.
2. Probably not, but worst case there should be an emergency release. Of course, it's just a prototype.
3. Probably not - the 13.6kwh battery pack is in the front bottom of the vehicle. It should be stable.
4. I figure that's what the cell phone control is for - folded it still has it's front wheels and those casters, so it should still be somewhat mobile.
5. You need actual wheels for 40 mph, but for a 1-5mph parking job? The castors will work just fine. Worst case, use you cell phone to release the brakes and push it out of the spot.

Re:LoL (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44660401)

Meerling wrote :-

What if you forgot to take the groceries out of the back before you 'shut it'?

Firethorn replied :-

You open it back up, or since it's likely the cargo space that folds, some sensor stops it.

The problem is still there, even if you remember the groceries. If I bought those groceries on the way to work, I do not want to have to take them all into the office with me when I get there.

Re:LoL (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44660465)

The problem is still there, even if you remember the groceries. If I bought those groceries on the way to work, I do not want to have to take them all into the office with me when I get there.

You buy groceries on the way to work? I buy them on the way home - not wanting my cold stuff to warm up, fresh greens to wilt during the heat of the day, etc... Plus, well, I'm not a morning person.

Frankly speaking, you don't buy a vehicle like this without accepting compromise. If that's you can't buy groceries before work, so be it. It's still better than a motorcycle cargo capability wise.

For that matter the compromise for morning grocery purchase(or just hauling something for after work) might be to pay the extra $ for a bigger parking spot where you don't need to fold it up for the day.

Re:LoL (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44658757)

I wonder how many clowns you can cram into it?

Jam as many clowns as you can into it, fold it up, expand it, jam a few more in, repeat as necessary.

Bonus: finally a legitimate usage of clowns.

Your move, Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658071)

( eom )

"He liked saving on gas..." (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44658083)

> curls into a (65-inch) ball

I can think of another way it will curl into a 65-inch ball.

trollko8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658123)

goals. it's when [goat.cx]

SF concept from 1974 !!! (1)

foobsr (693224) | about a year ago | (#44658165)

From 'The Mote in God's Eye' (Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle)

Quote from WikiPedia "... On the ground, Engineers drive at breakneck speed on crowded roads without fear of collision, and upon reaching destination, will dismantle their cars so they won’t take too much parking space.".

Also, one can find hints regarding driving habits: "Korean drivers don’t rely on (or follow) rules, just what they can see (i.e. anyone may do anything at any time, so a driver must be vigilant)." ( http://koreanalyst.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/driving-in-korea-vs-america/ [wordpress.com] ).

Well

CC.

Re:SF concept from 1974 !!! (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year ago | (#44659721)

"Korean drivers donâ(TM)t rely on (or follow) rules, just what they can see..."

This doesn't bode well for a car that is 40% blind spot....

Luggage ? (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44658175)

All these "concept cars" assume that you never need to carry anything more than a briefcase, or leave anything inside. I wonder about the lifestyle of these designers.

I'd hate to see the aftermath of folding this car up if you forgot that you had left a couple of six-packs in the back.

Re:Luggage ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658503)

You don't seem to understand what "concept car" means.

Hint: It doesn't mean "we totally intend to put this thing into production as-is and expect people to buy it in droves".

Re:Luggage ? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44658525)

I wonder about the lifestyle of these designers.

College students. Aside from the occasional instant food, they eat out, often from a dining facility of some sort. Even if they buy food, they only have a tiny cube fridge, which is mostly reserved for beer. They have no children to need supplies for, etc... Their rooms come mostly pre-furnished, and delivery services for anything bigger are readily available, assuming they don't just buy it online and have it delivered that way.

Re:Luggage ? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44658605)

I'd hate to see the aftermath of folding this car up if you forgot that you had left a couple of six-packs in the back.

A $5 sensor could solve that problem.

Re: Luggage ? (1)

Badblackdog (1211452) | about a year ago | (#44659153)

They should have made it fold up Into a briefcase like George Jetson's

Re:Luggage ? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#44659833)

I'd hate to see the aftermath of folding this car up if you forgot that you had left a couple of six-packs in the back.

I'd hate to see the aftermath of a side-impact collision. No protection at all with those little flaps for doors.

Not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658189)

Seen things like that before.

Multiple problems with it - among other things, to use it to save space, you have to drive forward into the spot, as the rear rolls up over the front, rather than the other way around.

So it would leave your back to the street - and when you try to unroll it, I see regular drivers slamming into you because they don't expect it

In other news . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658263)

Michael Bay was last seen flying to South Korea.

Issues (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44658289)

1. The cab is not environmentally sealed. The "door" is just a wide bar. Try using this in the rain or cold. It would be little better than a motorcycle.
2. Difficult to carry things in the trunk and still be able to fold. Everything in the trunk will shift around when the vehicle is folded. Things may get crushed or jam the mechanism. How many vehicles to you know have empty trunks? This makes the trunk space and folding mechanism much less useful.
3. Missing specification. What is the acceleration? If it takes 10 blocks to get to 60K it is not very useful.
4. Complexity. More moving parts means more parts to break which means lover reliability and higher maintenance costs.

Re:Issues (2)

samwichse (1056268) | about a year ago | (#44658353)

I disagree, 10 blocks to 60K is very good acceleration indeed, even it's in kph instead of mph!

Sam

Re:Issues (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44659105)

Most vehicles get to 60kph in one block. Do the math. If it takes 10 blocks to get to 60kph and one has to stop every 5 blocks. the top speed is 30kph and the average speed is 15ph. There would be something wrong when a 60 year old on a bicycle can out accelerate you. The main problem is that traffic lights are times for much higher accelerations which would cause one to miss even more lights. It could drop to every 2 blocks which would mean the average speed would be 6kmh and cause gridlock.

Re:Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658363)

"lover reliability"

Hmmm. I like that. Had a girlfriend once who would have rated very high in that category. Too bad "lover loyalty" was not her best feature.

Re:Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658497)

For a "city car" that sees more time sitting idle at a light, it really doesn't need much in the way of acceleration. Braking and steering, yes. Since most of the US doesn't go above 35, one can even take the interstates with this without issue.

Some downsides:

1: Similar to #1, except a thief will kick the "door" open and look for stuff to feed their crack habit.

2: The mechanism looks pretty delicate. Someone will back into it, bend things out of place, and where one had an electric car, now is a modern art sculpture.

3: It would be limited to life in the city. Even the 'burbs might tax its driving range. One can always haul a Honda eu2000i generator, but that is something else that can easily get stolen.

4: Safety. Seen a Smart car get in a wreck? It bounces around like a pinball causing multiple secondary collisions (which the Smart car driver is responsible for regardless of the fault of the original wreck because their car lost control after the first wreck and did the damage to others.) This vehicle is even lighter, and doesn't even have a safety cage.

5: Off-road. Not everywhere is glass-smooth asphalt. One pothole and those dinner-plate wheels likely will be separated from the vehicle.

6: There is no point to have it fold up, realistically. This is more of a novelty item than something one would use on a daily basis.

7: If the battery fails, how do I unfold it?

Cute novelty, but definitely not something safe for the real world, unless one is dealing with golf carts.

Re:Issues (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44660491)

For a "city car" that sees more time sitting idle at a light, it really doesn't need much in the way of acceleration.

Don't know where you live, but in the UK the longer drivers have to wait at lights, the more furiously they accelerate when the lights clear.

Re:Issues (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44660773)

...Cute novelty, but definitely not something safe for the real world, unless one is dealing with golf carts.

That list of seven probably was copied from a list Ford and Chrysler started in the 1970s about those cheap cars in Japan.

Re:Issues (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about a year ago | (#44660455)

jklovanc wrote :-

1. .. The "door" is just a wide bar. Try using this in the rain or cold. It would be little better than a motorcycle.

...

3. Missing specification. What is the acceleration?

Didn't you watch the video? Looks like the acceleration is 0-5 in 10 seconds, and it is meant for indoor use.

Finally... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44658309)

A car that doubles as a trash compactor.

no, it doesn't (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year ago | (#44658343)

It could have just been made shorter. But instead, they added a big empty back section, to lengthen the vehicle for no good reason (let's call it stability), then the entire back useless half folds upward. Hope there was nothing in the trunk buddy.

Thanks for the big empty cavity. That's not helpful.

Probably a very nice golf cart storage system though. Trunk-be-gone!

Re:no, it doesn't (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44658603)

"hope there was nothing in the trunk"
"thanks for the big empty cavity. That's not helpful"

Contradicting yourself a bit here. If you figure that you DON'T need to fold it when parked 100% of the time, not only is it more stable when expanded, it also has a surprising amount of trunk space available. Most people don't use 100% of their trunk space 100% of the time, going by the time I had a trunk I'd say 50%+ full about 15% of the time, otherwise 10% full. 100% full would be less than 1% of the time.

There's also the opportunity to fit more people via folding 'jump seats'.

So in this you get something that can be used as a commuter into the dense city, and still be used to haul groceries home. Just unload before you fold it up, and it should probably have sensors to tell you to empty the back first in case you forget.

Convenient. (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#44658367)

It also neatly folds up when rear-ended. Very economical. It doubles as a coffin.

Re:Convenient. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#44659053)

Well, remember the last armadillo you probably saw was roadkill pie...

obligatory (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#44658389)

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

Autobots! Roll Out! (1)

ArtuRock (932265) | about a year ago | (#44658511)

I will name him Armadilus Prime - proof that Michael Bay makes documentaries. ... wait, it's actually pretty lame, makes a transformation in pretty much a single actuation... he's more of a GoBot.

pretty neat (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#44658575)

It looks just like a hot wheels car.

Space is Important in some places (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658599)

You might not think folding up is of importance but obviously you have not been to Korea. It is common practice to double park and leave you car in neutral so the other driver can push it out of the way.

That's not a car (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#44658893)

That's a golf cart.

No side windows. Top speed below 65mph.

Nothing to see, here.

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44658953)

15 seconds to collapse, controlled via SmartPhone.

Cowl Shake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44659081)

If you've ever driven a Saab convertible, you've felt cowl shake - since they didn't make the frame strong enough when they took the roof off, the rear end feels like it's on a hinge and wobbles all around. I can only imagine what it would be like in something like this, with an actual hinge in there. Ah, those wacky students!

Solar Panel! (1)

darth_borehd (644166) | about a year ago | (#44659445)

How come so few developers thinks to stick solar panels on their electric cars?

Put a solar panel that raises up so it charges in "park" mode and I'm sold.

Stupidest thing I've ever seen (1)

CyberBill (526285) | about a year ago | (#44659709)

Before watching the video, I thought "Oh, the back end folds into the passenger compartment, so it takes up less space. I wonder how they'll prevent people from getting crushed?"

After watching the video I thought "Wait... The whole back part of the car is hollow, and just wraps around the passenger compartment!?"

What the hell is the point? They've made a car twice as long, that is completely unusable space. Just cut that part off, and put the big black wheels in the spot that the small casters are. There, now your car is ALWAYS half the size!

Usless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44659967)

nothing more to say.

You park the thing face out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44660295)

I had a friend who owned a BMW Avante. It's the same concept.

Once you get the thing shorter than the width of a full-sized car you can park it face or ass to the curb and say goodbye to parallel parking.

The car is supposed to park itself too.

And then...? (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year ago | (#44660373)

...what happens when someone parks right behind you, and you are unable to 'unroll' your car?

Time to short TSLA stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44661463)

Look out Tesla!

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