Automotive

Lane Splitter concept car splits into two motorbikes

Lane Splitter concept car spli...
The Lane Splitter concept in car-mode
The Lane Splitter concept in car-mode
View 24 Images
The Lane Splitter concept in car-mode
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The Lane Splitter concept in car-mode
The Lane Splitter concept was designed by Argodesign
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The Lane Splitter concept was designed by Argodesign
The Lane Splitter concept was conceived by Fast Company's Mark Wilson
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The Lane Splitter concept was conceived by Fast Company's Mark Wilson
The Lane Splitter concept takes the form of a buggy-like vehicle when in car-mode
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The Lane Splitter concept takes the form of a buggy-like vehicle when in car-mode
The Lane Splitter concept has hubless front wheels
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The Lane Splitter concept has hubless front wheels
The wheels of the Lane Splitter concept separate slightly when in bike-mode for increased stability
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The wheels of the Lane Splitter concept separate slightly when in bike-mode for increased stability
The Lane Splitter concept bikes are flat on one side so that they are flush when connected together
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The Lane Splitter concept bikes are flat on one side so that they are flush when connected together
The Lane Splitter concept bikes are curved on the exterior sides to avoid a "boxy" look
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The Lane Splitter concept bikes are curved on the exterior sides to avoid a "boxy" look
The roofs of the Lane Splitter concept can be raised separately
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The roofs of the Lane Splitter concept can be raised separately
The rood and door provide access to the Lane Splitter concept
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The rood and door provide access to the Lane Splitter concept
There are two steering wheels in the Lane Splitter concept when in car-mode
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There are two steering wheels in the Lane Splitter concept when in car-mode
The Lane Splitter concept is powered by rear-wheel motors
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The Lane Splitter concept is powered by rear-wheel motors
The Lane Splitter concept was inspired by the Batman Tumbler and the work of Syd Mead
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The Lane Splitter concept was inspired by the Batman Tumbler and the work of Syd Mead
The Lane Splitter concept was created in a single week
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The Lane Splitter concept was created in a single week
Asymmetry was embraced in order to design the Lane Splitter concept
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Asymmetry was embraced in order to design the Lane Splitter concept
A close-up view of the Lane Splitter concept's hubless front wheels
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A close-up view of the Lane Splitter concept's hubless front wheels
The Lane Splitter concept bikes are entirely enclosed
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The Lane Splitter concept bikes are entirely enclosed
The Lane Splitter concept is aimed at providing the social experience of a car and at being a sporty personal urban transport vehicle too
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The Lane Splitter concept is aimed at providing the social experience of a car and at being a sporty personal urban transport vehicle too
A profile view of the Lane Splitter concept car
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A profile view of the Lane Splitter concept car
The powered rear wheels of the Lane Splitter concept
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The powered rear wheels of the Lane Splitter concept
The Lane Splitter concept was designed in time for the New York Motor Show
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The Lane Splitter concept was designed in time for the New York Motor Show
A view of the flatter, connecting side of the Lane Splitter concept
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A view of the flatter, connecting side of the Lane Splitter concept
A profile view of a Lane Splitter concept bike from the flatter, connecting side
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A profile view of a Lane Splitter concept bike from the flatter, connecting side
A profile view of a Lane Splitter concept bike from the curved, exterior side
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A profile view of a Lane Splitter concept bike from the curved, exterior side
View gallery - 24 images

If you share a car with your other half then there's bound to come a time when you both need to use it for different reasons. Well, a new concept design would mean that you could. The Lane Splitter is a car that splits apart and becomes two motorbikes.

The idea for the unusual design came from Fast Company's Mark Wilson, and was distilled into renderings by product design firm Argodesign. Wilson says the aim was to create something that could provide the social experience of a car, but that could be a sporty personal urban transport vehicle too.

As with many concept designs, the Lane Splitter is more a flight of fancy than an exercise in practicality. It is 128 in (325 cm) long and, when in car-mode, takes the form of a buggy-like vehicle. Inspiration for the design came from as varied places as the Batman Tumbler and the work of Syd Mead. When its two halves are separated, the Lane Splitter becomes two closed-top motorbikes.

In order to achieve a flush fit between the two sections, but to avoid a "boxy look," the Argodesign team, led by Chipp Walters, embraced the notion of asymmetry. Each motorbike is curved on the side that forms the exterior of the car and flat on the side that joins to the other bike.

The roofs of the Lane Splitter concept can be raised separately
The roofs of the Lane Splitter concept can be raised separately

Hubless front wheels are used to allow for adaptability. In bike-mode, the front tires split and separate slightly to provide more stability and a better longitudinal center of gravity. When in car-mode, the front wheels of each bike move together to form car wheels that are more traditional in terms of width and separation.

The rear wheels are powered by separate electric motors. Roll-axis longitudinal steering is used at both the front and the rear so as to decrease the turning radius and mitigate the limited steering of the front hubless axle.

Vehicle docking and undocking is achieved by the push of a button. The docking connectors are situated towards the front and rear of the docking side of the bikes. An automated docking mechanism with a small landing wheel is used to help stabilize and align the vehicles during the process, much like an auto-parking feature on some of today's cars.

The wheels of the Lane Splitter concept separate slightly when in bike-mode for increased stability
The wheels of the Lane Splitter concept separate slightly when in bike-mode for increased stability

Given the unusual premise of the Lane Splitter and that only an initial pass has been made at the design, there are naturally a number of obstacles that would hamper it being brought to production. "Overall, cost as designed would seem prohibitive at this time," Argodesign tells Gizmag. "There would need to be more iteration on concept design along with a substantial engineering effort to realize the technology and promise of a vehicle which separates into two."

Coupled with what would likely be a relatively low demand for the vehicle, the development cost would simply be too rich. The docking mechanism is one area we can see needing a lot of work, for example. Having it fail at high speed would be catastrophic. Elsewhere, we can envisage a lot of work being required to ensure that the vehicle's balance when turning was adequate too.

Despite all this, we love seeing these sort of concepts. Imaginative, out-there ideas like the Lane Splitter are what spark real innovation and are a welcome distraction from more iterative cultures elsewhere.

The Lane Splitter was designed as part of Wilson's Creative Director for a Day series and was completed in time for the New York Auto Show.

Sources: Argodesign, Fast Company

View gallery - 24 images
6 comments
telocity
Awesome! What if enclosed motorcycles could connect to any other? Then "car pooling" would take on new meaning. Have a app that connects you to people going to same destination and "connect" and go. Of course figuring out who is control might be tricky. But by time this comes into being, computers will probably doing the driving. Which leads to compatibility issues, if one has Microsoft driver and the other is Android based. Of course the apple driver will reroute you past every apple store..
Mr T
The idea of a car splitting featured in the movie Malcolm, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsxOXDm2lk8 at around 1:20-1:35. It probably originated before then, so nothing really new here...
The Skud
Worth a thought, but it has already been done - at least in a movie - splitting a car into two motorcycles. From memory each bike section came with their separate small handlebars for control after separation. In the movie it (they) was an escape vehicle(s) after a robbery.
morphick
What are the lateral forces resulted at speed from the different side shapes? I imagine the individual halves would tend to "take off" laterally, towards the rounded side.
DavidB
Yup, "Candid Camera" did it with the body of what looks like a Morris Minor, back in the Sixties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQcs9pL99vk
Germano Pecoraro
interesting, But I have some doubts in dual motorcycles separate (...) you can not put your foot on the ground when you stop!