The Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) could spare you the hassle of parallel parking.
NASA has unveiled a new electric vehicle with four independent wheel modules that rotate 180 degrees, which means the car can turn in one spot and be driven sideways.
The MRV can effectively “drift” without any stress on the vehicle or burning through the tyres. The car can instantly go sideways, backwards, and or forwards, because the wheels can turn instantly in the exact direction you want to go.
“It’s like driving on ice but having complete control,” says NASA’s Justin Ridley. “It’s a blast to ride in and even more fun to drive. We’ve talked about it being like an amusement park ride.”
The new vehicle is meant to be used for future space exploration vehicles, but would be great for urban commuting.
“The MRV would be ideal for daily transportation in an urban environment with a designed top speed of 70 km and range of 100 km of city driving on a single charge of the battery,” says NASA’s Mason Markee.
Driverless cars are potentially the future of automotive engineering and the development of the MRV has provided NASA with the chance to work on technology for use right here on earth, as well as on it’s other worldly expeditions.
“These include redundant by-wire systems, liquid cooling, motor technology, advanced vehicle control algorithms. We were able to learn a lot about these and other technologies by building this vehicle,” says Ridley.
“This work allowed us to develop some technologies we felt were needed for our future rovers,” he adds.
NASA has also signed a five year partnership with manufacturer Nissan to build an autonomous vehicle, as well as a zero carbon vehicle.
The first co-produced vehicle will be tested in 2015 and will put the NASA-Nissan vehicles into competition with the likes of Google and Tesla, who are also working on driverless cars.