Nissan's Pivo 2 and NASA's Modular Robotic Vehicle are both rather special prototype vehicles, in that they can rotate all four of their wheels 90 degrees in order to drive sideways – a feature that would definitely make parallel parking easier. Now they've got some company, in the form of the electric EO smart connecting car 2, or EOscc2.
Created by a team from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the EOscc2 was designed to be "an ultra-flexible micro-car for mega-cities." It's powered by a 54-volt lithium-iron phosphate battery pack, which drives four 4-kW wheelhub motors.
The car is also equipped with stereoscopic front and rear cameras, potentiometer sensors, a LiDAR system, and six 3D time-of-flight cameras. Tied into the onboard computer, this suite of sensors allows for autonomous parking and other driver-assistance functions.
It is hoped that once developed further, the technology will also allow the automobile to drive itself with complete autonomy, and to link up with other EOscc2's to form connected train-like "platoons" for longer road trips. Sharing each others' battery power and experiencing less wind resistance, the cars in these platoons would use less power than if they were each making the trip individually.
And yes, the EOscc2's wheels can turn completely sideways. This means that it can pull straight in and out of tight parking spots, made even easier by the fact that its cabin can sort of "hunch up" while doing so, making the whole vehicle one meter (3.3 ft) shorter – not unlike the experimental Armadillo-T car. It can also turn on the spot, and drive diagonally.
Should the car not be big enough or have enough range for some applications, it also has a docking interface that allows not only for the platooning and battery-charging, but that additionally lets it receive extension modules such as range extenders, passenger modules, or cargo modules. Rinspeed's Dock+Go concept works along the same lines.
There's no word on whether or not we'll ever see a commercially-available version of the EOscc2. In the meantime, you can see it in action on YouTube.
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