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October 06, 2005

Baby you can park my car

Nissan has developed an egg-shaped car for drivers who find backing out of tight parking spots a hassle.

The car's body pivots 360 degrees so that its rear end becomes the front.

The Pivo, shown on Friday at a Tokyo Nissan showroom, is still an experimental model and probably will not go on sale publicly for several years. It is a three-seater electric car that looks like a big egg on wheels. Its body revolves in a complete circle while its wheels stay put.

Such moves are possible because Pivo's steering, wheels and other parts are controlled electronically by wireless, or electronic signals, not mechanical links between the cabin and the vehicle's chassis.

"This is a cute car for people who have problems parking," said Nissan Motor Co. chief designer Masato Inoue.

Pivo, also planned for display at the Tokyo auto show opening next month, highlights other technologies, including a system that allows the driver to control devices inside the car simply by raising his or her fingers off the steering wheel.

Finger pointing

That is done through a camera embedded in the steering wheel that senses heat. Lifting one finger might turn on the radio. Two fingers might set car navigation equipment.

The technology works much like voice-recognition capabilities already available in some advanced cars, but Tokyo-based Nissan says some people prefer finger-pointing than talking.

Pivo also allows the driver to see blind spots via cameras attached to the outside of the car.

Inoue says it is possible to design a gasoline-engine vehicles that spins in the same way if electronic controls are approved for traffic safety. But they are unlikely to have the round look of Pivo because a conventional engine requires more room than an electric motor.

October 6, 2005 in Tech/Science | Permalink


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FWIW I long ago "invented" a car for people who do not like to parallel park. It is such a good idea, that it must be impossible to do: the wheels (not the axles, or the car would be balancing like an inline skate) turn 90 degrees and the car scoots sideways out of the space; the wheels then go back into forward position and off you go. If this cannot be done, then: a subsidiary smaller set of wheels at right angles to the major axis of the car lower themselves to the pavement, raise the car enough that the regular wheels clear, and scoot the car sideways out into the street. Then they retract, drive power shifts to the regular wheels and off you go.
Since parallel spaces would no longer need room for cars to jockey into them, you could have more parking spaces per block, besides better parking and fewer accidents.

Posted by: judith | Oct 6, 2005 9:46:46 AM

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