Posted on 23-04-2013
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Chloe Davies

Wacky

There’s a funny thing about fun – it stimulates creativity.

A number of major car companies actually turn this to their advantage by sponsoring internal ‘wacky wheels’ contests, where white-coated geeks who normally spend their days trying to win the Heath Robinson award for the world’s most complicated cup-holder are encouraged to think way, way out of the box and actually build working prototypes of their craziest flights of fancy.

The results can range all the way from “Why didn’t I think of that?” to “You gotta be kidding me!”.

For the past three years, Hyundai has been organising just such a contest to stimulate their R&D staff’s creativity, and to look for new ideas for future mobility. There’s always one overall theme, but there are no boundaries to how far the contestants take it.

The Hyundai engineers submit their ideas, which get evaluated based on creativity, technology, fun and relevance to the theme. The top teams from the first round then take part in presentation contest, after which about half the ideas are selected to be actually built and demonstrated at Idea Festival in Korea.

Ideas submitted for the 2012 Idea Festival 2012 included:

IOL mot pic apr16 Hyundai Idea Festival 2

…And actually gets itself off the ground!

.

A multi-rotor flying car, powered by four electric motors and propellers which means the car can hover above the ground, keeping the driver above congestion.

A spare tyre that quickly folds out into an electric bike. Can be used in the event of a puncture when traffic is heavy, or can be used for leisure.

A portable transforming car: you can carry this around with you and control it with their brain waves using mind control

A five-jointed car that gives the driver great flexibility to manoeuvre around tight spaces – it has a turning circle of less than two metres and can even climb steps!

A road car / bike that recognises the owner’s voice so they can talk to the car using a wireless head set, and which will change seating position on command to convert itself from a car into a motorcycle.

A wind bike with a main motor powered by four batteries and propellers powered by the wind.

But the winner was…

The ‘E4U’ egg car, a single-seater with an egg-shaped, streamlined body, designed to be driven at low speeds on narrow roads in urban areas. Its name embraces four E’s; Egg, Evolution, Electricity and Eco-friendliness.

Both drive and direction are supplied by one electric motor in the hemisphere structure, simplifying and lightening the chassis. Speed and steering are controlled by how far you tilt the hemisphere and in which direction. Its rear legs can be folded, and the side parts are also detachable, which minimises required parking space. It’s powered by a 24-volt, 500-watt motor, giving it a top speed of 24km/h, and weighs only 80kg.

Hyundai is currently preparing for the 2013 Idea Festival; this year’s theme is ‘R&D for customers’ – focusing on how to meet customers’ future needs. Idea submissions are being made now, and the winning prototypes will be shown in September.

In the meantime, check out the 2012 Idea Festival.

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