Flying Cars and More from the Hyundai Idea Festival
Sometimes the best ideas come from just keeping things fun. We’ve looked previously at lots of different concept cars, where car designers are free to unleash their creative powers to make the coolest vehicles imaginable without having to worry about limitations like crash safety, fuel economy and production costs. Hyundai Motor Company has found that an internal contest encouraging their auto technician engineers to have fun building working prototypes of their craziest designs stimulates their Research and Development (R&D) staff’s creativity, while developing plenty of fresh ideas for future mobility.
The Korean carmaker has organized its Idea Festival for the past three years and is hard at work preparing this year’s version for September. Here’s how it works: Hyundai’s engineers are submitting their ideas this month, which are evaluated based on creativity, technology, fun and relevance to the theme. Winning teams from the first round then compete in a presentation contest, from which about half the ideas are selected to actually be built and demonstrated on the festival day in Korea. This year’s theme is “R&D for customers” – focusing on how to meet customers’ future needs – and there are no boundaries for ideas.
This week, Hyundai revealed some unique concepts for single-person mobility from its 2012 festival that could really expand the limits of automobile technology, and therefore auto careers. Maybe the most eye-catching was a multi-rotor flying car, powered by four electric motors and sixteen propellers. If you’ve ever dreamed of hovering above the road and sailing past traffic jams then this may be the invention for you, though as you can see from this video, it may not be quite ready yet for more than a crash test dummy.
Another fascinating invention shown in the video is a spare tire that doubles as an electric bike. It folds up neatly to be ready for a pleasure cruise or can be used to replace a flat until reaching the nearest auto mechanic.
Other innovations include:
- A portable transforming car that the driver can carry around and control with their brain waves using mind control!
- A five-jointed car, giving drivers greater flexibility to maneuver around tight spaces. Only a one-meter radius is needed to turn, plus the joints enable the car to climb up steps!
- A road car/bike, which can be told to change the seating position using a wireless head set, thus turning it into a bike!
- A wind bike, featuring a battery-powered motor and wind-powered propeller!
One of the winning ideas was the “E4U” egg car, a bizarre electric scooter-like vehicle that can navigate narrow roads at low speeds. The foldable rear legs provide stability and the side parts are detachable for a truly tiny (and only 80kg) concept of future single-person mobility.
Will this year’s Idea Festival deliver a new flying car? This video shows that we might be closer than we think to seeing “sky cars” in North America!