Researchers in South Korea hope to solve all kinds of problems with a revolutionary new vehicle that's a real-life Transformer. The Armadillo-T is an ultra-light, ultra-compact electric car that literally folds in half at the flip of a switch. Sure it looks a little bit goofy but come on — you know you want one.
The Armadillo-T is just the latest cutting edge contraption to come out of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the same geniuses that brought us the wirelessly charged buses a few weeks ago. At 2.8m long, this four-wheel-drive automobile is slightly bigger than a Smart Car when it's fully extended, but the vehicle folds up and shrinks down to just 1.65m long, making it small enough to take up just a third of a standard-sized parking spot. Once it's folded, you control the Armadillo-T with a smartphone app that allows you to rotate the vehicle 360 degrees.
Of course, the Armadillo-T is built for the road. Outfitted with a lithium ion battery with the capacity of 13.6kWh, the two-seater charges in just 10 minutes and can drive over 100km on a single charge. There are cameras installed to do away with the need for side mirrors, and the motors are handily installed inside the wheels so there's no need to move the engine to fold the vehicle. The Armadillo-T's designers call the whole setup "an icon toward the future transport system with technology innovation."
And it's not even the first of its kind. Last year, MIT finally unveiled its own version of a folding car, the Hiriko, that's roughly the same size as the Armadillo-T. The Hiriko would share a parking lot with the MIT Media Lab's City Car, a foldable, stackable automobile that's designed for short trips. But really what everybody's waiting for is a car that will actually turn into a giant fighting robot who also happens to be a loyal friend. Science is still working on that one. [PhysOrg]