MIT’s William J. Mitchell presented one of the school’s Smart Cities projects at Dwell on Design, the City Car. While not a replacement for full-size cars or trucks, it’s an easier way to get around an urban area that could be rented at transport nodes (like the bike-sharing systems in place now). It’s teeny tiny–so small there’s no room for a steering wheel, you control it with a joystick. There are electric motors in the wheels, which are omnidirectional and braking, and computerized navigational systems that can intelligently move through the city. And it folds and stacks like a shopping cart into an electric charging platform, which would hypothetically be wired into solar panels on the roof of a nearby building. It has such a small footprint that a typical Manhattan block that could hold 80 cars could hold six times that many City Cars.
When talking about a prototype folding scooter they’re testing in Taipei, Mitchell called it “our little version of Optimus Prime.” Complete with a Michael Bay soundtrack, we hope.