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The Streets Ahead: Smart, Robotic Electric Cars You Share

The wheel robots, complete with their own suspension, remove the need for a drive shaft and even the engine block, freeing up designers to make new use of the space in the car.

Published: 02-Jan-2006

id=GuardianArticleBody>It is not every day that a concept car re-writes the rules of more than 100 years of motoring. In development for four years by a team of architects and engineers led by William Mitchell, former head of the school of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as part of his Smart Cities research group, a new MIT car is borne of a complete rethink of people's relationship with their cars in the ever-expanding cities of the future.

Prof Mitchell expects we will share cars that will be easier to drive in congested cities, will be pollution-free and can be customised at will.

The city car concept, with styling input by architect Frank Gehry, will be completed and delivered by MIT to General Motors early next year.

"Primarily we're interested in urban living," says Ryan Chin, an architect and engineer at MIT's media lab and a member of Prof Mitchell's research group. "Everything scales down from what we think the city of the future is."

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