Real Transformers


Written by James Read
13 Wednesday 13th January 2010

So the new Transformers movie is out this week, but where are our actual robot-car-machine saviours? It's been like twenty years now. Well, here are a few concepts from the Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge to entertain you while you're waiting to watch freaky-thumbed Megan Fox dodge explosions.

Mercedes-Benz's Silverflow

This Merc creation is made out of 'micro-metallic particles that can be arranged by magnetic fields into pre-selected forms kept on the car's key fob'. Basically a blend of the T-1000 and the Monopoly car. It's ability to turn into any other car is a bit of a playground tactic for trumping other designs, and the idea of turning into a puddle for easy parking and storage runs the risk of melting your car down a drain and reconstituting it in a sewer.

Honda's The Great Race 2025


This car is designed to complete a 2025 re-run of the 1908 New York to Paris race in 24 hours (the original took 169 days). To meet the insane deadline, the car is actually also a plane and a boat.

Nissan's OneOne

Taking the Japanese idea of robots as pets to its vehicular conclusion, this model operates independently to do chores without a driver. Using synthetic muscles the car can raise and lower its body, and 'skate' around corners (like in those Citroen adverts). Very cute, but a bit worrying if it goes Cujo on the way back from picking the kids up from school.

Volkswagen's Slipstream

Like some Fifth Element version of the Segway scooter, VW's offering transports a single passenger in a standing position at low speeds, but reclines when you hit the motorways to hit 250 solar-powered mph. Sounds ridiculously dangerous, but since the car will drive you automatically, you're free to relax.

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