Among other things, the MIT Media Lab "Smart Cities" project has been working on new concepts for city cars, going far beyond cars that are simply smaller, such as the stackable, shared-car concept shown above in the course prospectus.

The project, which has been in progress since 2003, is sponsored by General Motors, which is planning build a concept car using the MIT design in 2006. An article in Thursday's edition of The Guardian, describes the shared-car concept (think future ZipCar or FlexCar) as "a stackable, shareable, electric, two-passenger car." While our colleagues at Engadget think the car's a big improvement on the last urban transportation revolution, the Segway, they wonder if some of the concepts might be too far out there to implement - even in a concept car.

Among other innovative concepts, the Smart Cities cars include "motor-wheels": a wheel unit that includes an embedded electric motor and suspension, doing away with a conventional drivetrain, and allowing dramatic design flexibility. Much more information here and here.

[Via ZDNet Emerging Technology Trends]

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