Holy Cow, It's A Car

Models pose inside Nissan Motor Co.'s concept car Pivo during a press preview in Tokyo Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2005. For drivers who find backing up out of tight parking spots a hassle, Pivo, a three-seater electric car that looks like a big egg on wheels, revolves 360 degrees to make parking a cinch, you never need to back up. AP

For drivers who find backing out of tight parking spots a hassle, Nissan has an answer: An egg-shaped car whose body pivots 360 degrees so that its rear end becomes the front.

The Pivo, shown Friday at a Tokyo Nissan showroom, is still an experimental model and probably won't go on sale publicly for several years. It is a three-seater electric car that looks like a big egg on wheels. Its body revolves in a complete circle while its wheels stay put.

Such moves are possible because Pivo's steering, wheels and other parts are controlled electronically by wireless, or electronic signals, not mechanical links between the cabin and the vehicle's chassis.

"This is a cute car for people who have problems parking," said Nissan Motor Co. chief designer Masato Inoue.

Pivo, also planned for display at the Tokyo auto show opening next month, highlights other technologies, including a system that allows the driver to control devices inside the car simply by raising his or her fingers off the steering wheel.

That's done through a camera embedded in the steering wheel that senses heat. Lifting one finger might turn on the radio. Two fingers might set car navigation equipment.

The technology works much like voice-recognition capabilities already available in some advanced cars, but Tokyo-based Nissan says some people prefer finger-pointing to talking to yourself.

Pivo also allows the driver to see blind spots via cameras attached to the outside of the car.

Inoue says it's possible to design a gasoline-engine vehicles that spins in the same way if electronic controls are approved for traffic safety. But they're unlikely to have the round look of Pivo because a conventional engine requires more room than an electric motor.
  • Sean Alfano

Comments