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Half Robot, Half Car': Concept Vehicle Could Link With Others While Driving to Recharge


"The goal is coupling while in motion to demonstrate the validity of the concept."

With self-driving cars already making their way to the road in a test capacity and flying cars completing successful flights, a new prototype unveiled at the CeBit computer-electronics show in Hanover, Germany, in March is setting out to test other new technologies, especially those involving design flexibility.

(Related: 'Aqua car': Volkswagen's new design gives all-terrain a whole new meaning)

As CNET pointed out, the "EO Smart Connecting Car," designed by the Robotics Innovation Center at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and is so flexible it can turn its wheels in a perpendicular fashion to allow it to travel side-to-side. In the future, it will even lengthen to allow for more passengers.

But CNET reports that's not all:

More dramatic, though, is that the car is designed to link up with an as-yet-unbuilt second model while both vehicles are being driven.

"The goal is coupling while in motion to demonstrate the validity of the concept," said project researcher Martin Schroer.

What Schroer is describing is what CNET puts as building a "platoon" or "train" of cars. The benefit of linking up in this fashion would be to recharge the batteries of the all-electric car while still in motion.

Check out CNET's footage of the car at CeBIT in March:

Here is the concept video of the EO -- Latin for "I go" -- by the Robotics Innovation Center lead by Prof. Dr. Frank Kirchner at DFKI:

More recently, USA Today reported a DFKI researcher describing the car as "half-robot, half car." While this vehicle is not yet street ready, in a few years it could be using camera, laser and remote-control technology to cart passengers around in both cross-country and inner city situations.

The goal of having a morphologically flexible design, according to the project website, is to allow the car to "adapt to practically all driving situations possible."

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