If you have ever lived in a congested metropolitan area or have driven in circles looking for a parking spot for half an hour, this one is likely to hit home. An MIT concept that has been half a decade in the making is on its way to becoming a viable option for big city driving. A working model of the Hiriko (originally dubbed “City Car”) was recently unveiled in Brussels.
The tiny vehicle resembles a sleeker, runtier version of a Smart Car. However, this runt has the ability to fold in on itself for an upright, space-saving parking maneuver that appears to be directly out of a sci-fi novel. MIT claims that three or four Hiriko vehicles can fit into a standard parking space. Furthermore, the Hiriko has the ability to turn on its axis for virtually no turning ratio, thanks to its four independent electric motors (one for each wheel). It can even move sideways in a crab-like manner, virtually eliminating the need to ever parallel park the old-fashioned way.
The first run of this vehicle will be available in 2013. Vitoria Gasteiz, just outside of Bilbao in Spain, will be the first city to get its hands on the Hiriko. Other cities, including Berlin, Boston, Hong Kong, Malmo, and San Francisco, are also in line for a trial run. The future of driving may soon be at our doorstep, and at an estimated $12,500(US) ticket price, that future may be more affordable than we thought.