Anyone who has ever attempted to find a parking spot in San Francisco during peak hours can tell you that a small car is your friend. And it doesn’t get much friendlier than the new Hiriko Fold, a car that slaughters any potential parking woes.
Unfolded, the entire vehicle is only 2.5m long. However, the parking genius comes in the Fold’s ability to compress to a length that can accommodate three vehicles in a standard parking spot. It is able to compress itself thanks to a front chassis that pivots to become vertical. Entry and exit of the vehicle takes place through a large front panel door, which allows the driver and passenger to step out of the vehicle’s “face.” Each wheel can be controlled independently, allowing for a staggering turning radius and seamless parallel parking in tight spaces.
As a tiny car fanatic, I was initially ecstatic to see the shrinkable shape of the Fold. However, the more I inspect the vehicle, the more concerned I become. The Fold is also 100-percent electric with a range of 120km. That is just over the distance it would take to go from Palo Alto to San Francisco and back. Additionally, I am extremely interested to see how the car performs in a head-on collision, especially considering that the only exit is through the front.
The Hiriko Fold is currently being tested in Spain and will be available in Europe in 2012 for 12,500 euros ($15,660). The vehicles are also being considered for ride-sharing similar to the bicycle program currently available in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
I did notice the only other vehicles in this video are bicycles. That is the only thing I would share a road with in one of these things. It is a toy, pure and simple and to those people who think safety is no issue, check with your insurance carrier. This thing looks like a cute little coffin on wheels and I would not be caught dead in one, for fear that I would become dead in one.
To those who compared this to a motorcycle I could not disagree more. When I rode I always felt one of the things that helped keep me safe was the ability to see 360 degrees and the natural alertness that come with being exposed. I also had the ability to accelerate instantly if the need arose. I see none of those features in this vehicle.
Lastly, I wonder what would occur if this thing got pinned between two vehicles in a collision. Is safety my only concern? Of course not, but it has to be a deal breaker for all but the careless single rich guy without responsibility.
This car looks cool, and would be fun to drive I think. However, as currently configured, I think it is too slow for even urban use in the US. According to the specifications listed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiriko#Specifications) in the Hiriko page of Wikipedia, it's limited to a top speed of 31 mph (50 kph). In the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex there are many streets within the urban commute that have 35 or 40 mph speed limits and traffic travels at least that fast except during rush hour (or when a police vehicle is pacing the "pack" - yeah, you know what I mean). I honestly don't know where one could practically use this car in the US.
I will say one thing-- This is thinking outside the box. I generally hate that phrase but I certainly feel it applies here. No way would I take this car on the Interstate. I do believe it might be OK for around town, provided defensive driving was practiced. Can anyone tell me if it has air bags? I suspect seat belts yes--air bags no????? I would imagine great difficulty in trying to get this vehicle approved for sale in the US.
Hey Rocky! Lots of really good banter on both sides of the Safety/Crash-worth discussion. But to a completely different issue, that of getting into and out of tight parking spaces, this car not only FOLDS, but all 4 wheels turn sharply, as it literally spins out of the parking space. Very unique, and impressive.
For a fun look at 60 year old technology that did something similar – check out this Cadillac video --- Just for fun.
The front-opening car made by BMW during the reconstruction era WAS the Isetta:
I remember seeing them in the US in my childhood.
From what I have read, the driver was extremely vulnerable to head-on collisions. Most fatalities occured because the driver bled to death before he could be extricated from the car (This was before the jaws of lilfe).
This is an interesting vehicle, and it could solve a few problems both in parking and on crowded roads. In fact, the reduction in roadway crowding could be the more useful benefit. But it probably can't be sold here in anything like it's present form, because of safety issues. That is not to be critical, but I see it as a sda fact. I have seen quite a few drivers who should be restricted to small cars that don't offer much protection, because it might help them focus on driving more carefully. Lack of armor does make some people more attentive. So the little car might even makeour roads safer
It is a cute car but wouldn't buy or ride in one. Can't remember the exact name but BMW had a little car like that one, where you got in/out thru the front of the car. Saw one in Ann Arbor MI last year can't find pic otherwise would share it. Also, one appeared on in a storage locker on Storage Wars.
The legacy endpoint devices that control our critical infrastructure (utility systems, water treatment plants, military networks, industrial control systems, etc.) are some of the most vulnerable devices on the Internet.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.