Right - someone clearly thought "unnecessary ballast" was a clever turn of phrase, but that pesky "ballast" on any car is almost never considered unnecessary by the designers. The real indicator as to whether it's necessary or not would ultimately be determined by the marketplace.
@Jim S: To me the BMW looks like a death trap. I think it would lose in a collision with a Smart Car and that is saying something. On the cars I like the old Buick best, but what I really found facinating was the Big Hair on the two models with the 70 Mustang. It brought back uncomfortable memories of choking on my wife's hairspray before we left the house. I wonder how much lung damage is a remnant of that era.
Great show Charles. I agree with an earlier poster about all of the glass. That reminds me of an AMC Pacer. Yuchh.
The BMW concept seems to have technology that could be adapted to aircraft design. The shape changing capability could re-form a wing from a low drag high speed airfoil to a high drag low speed airfoil. The transition could be such that all intermediate combinations would allow an aircraft to operate in all flight regimes. This would allow the same aircraft to go from STOL to high speed flight, extending it's utility.
Photo 1, the Peugeot, makes a mistake that has characterized concept cars for decades--too much glass. Leave that one out in the summer sun and you can bake baguettes inside.
Very few of the designs seek to solve the real problems facing automobiles these days except for the VW electric. It offers modest range in what might be affordable and well suited to daily commuting and local trips. That is far more practical than being able to race at 250 mph, however much the latter may seem to compensate for certain masculine shortcomings.
The BMW with fabric skin is interesting. Clearly there is a century-long history in aviation. Is the shape-shifting feature just cutesy-poo, or does it somehow optimize aerodynamics over varying speed regimes? If so, I would like to know how many teaspoons of gasoline this would save over the life of the vehicle? Also, how durable is the fabric versus sunlight, weather, shrubbery, etc? Again, based on aircraft, fabric skin has a limited life, even without "shape shifting."
I especially like the idea of the tri-color tail lights on the Mustang that would depict acceleration and coasting different from braking. With simple accelerometers one could easily depict deceleration as well.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
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