Japanese technology company fuRo (Future Robotics), along with Leading Edge Design, developed a working miniature prototype vehicle called the Hallucigenia I circa 2002-03. Taking inspiration from nature, fuRo based the design on the hallucigenia; an extinct animal found in fossils dating from the Middle Cambrian (505-510 million years ago) unearthed in British Columbia, Canada. Originally it was classed with other creatures, but due to its ”bizarre and dream-like quality” (that’s where the hallucination part comes in) it was given its own name.
Adopting the strange characteristics of this ancient creature, Hallucigenia I is an elongated, sleek vehicle with 8 wheels attached at the end of robotic appendages. These robotic ”legs” give the driver an unprecendented level of control over the vehicle – it can move in virtually any desired direction without turning. It can spin in place, climb over terrain up to about the height of its wheels, and remain level even when going up and down sloping hills up to about 20 degrees.
The design is ambiguous enough that it could be seen as a small single passenger commuter car, up to a large, bus-like public transportation vehicle. Unfortunately no automakers have picked up this exact design, but roboticized vehicles will no doubt appear in the future, significantly changing the way we all get around. Examples such as Nissan’s Pivo 2 concept car may even be just around the corner.
- Leading Edge Design’s Hallucigenia I (portfolio page EN)
- fuRo Hallucigenia I info page (Japanese)
- fuRo official blog (Japanese)
- Hallucigenia I @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
Impress Robot Watch