• EO Smart Car 2

EO Smart Car 2 (Photo : Robotik)

A team of German engineers has invented a new "flexible" electric car. The EO Smart Car 2 can drive sideways like a crab, shrink, and turn instantly.

The EO vehicle was designed by DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, which is based in Bremen, Germany. Its development team includes software developers and electrical engineers who have been tweaking the mini car for the past three years.

Like Us on Facebook

DFKI made an announcement about the car in 2012, according to Slash Gear. The design team has since then started the second stage of the development of the micro car.

The two-seater EO intelligent car drives like a standard car, but it is also a sideways-driving car. That is because each wheel contains its own motor.

Timo Birnschein, EO project manager, explained that this allows the vehicle to slide into narrow spaces in around four seconds. This is ideal for urban locations with limited parking space.

The prototype of the new supercar has a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph). It can also travel 50 to 70 km (30 to 44 mi.)  after one four-hour battery charge.

However, the vehicle's most practical use in future cities is its function as a shrinking car. It can be reduced to a length of approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft.), according to WHNT.

The EO smart car shrinks by folding itself partially. It moves the rear axle to the front of the vehicle, and slides on a set of rails that boost the interior upwards.

Birnschein explained that after the car shrinks about 80 cm (31.5 in.), it is nearly as small as a "bike." At this size the EO concept car can still drive sideways, turn quickly, and link to charging stations.

Another goal of the EO's designers is that the vehicle will be a car-sharing resource. Consumers could select and detach a charged vehicle from the closest docking station.

Birnschein believes that large car manufacturers will produce self-driving cars within a decade. The rise of such cars could be like the rise of smartphones during the past decade.