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Single-person 'egg car' on the way from Hyundai

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It looks futuristic - but it has a touch of whimsy to make even the most stodgy person smile. Japanese car manufacturer Hyundai has designed a bizarre egg-shaped concept vehicle, offering a new line in travel for commuters. The "E4U" is an oval-shaped, open-topped single person "scooter" similar to a Segway.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In lieu of the traditional two-wheel design, the prototype instead uses a "rotating semispherical part," which looks like the lower half of a sphere and is constantly rotating.

The EU4 moves like the lower half of a ball and is used for propulsion instead of wheels.

While the vehicle is stationary when standing upright, as soon as the driver pushes forward it drives on at pedestrian speed.

In order to operate, the driver stands on a small platform and directs the vehicle by tilting it so that different sides of the semi-sphere contact the ground.

Unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show in South Korea, the EU4 is just four months into development. It currently has two safety wheels at the rear which stop it tipping from side to side.

The EU4 works in a similar to a helicopter works, with the two rear wheels providing stability and friction to act like a helicopter's tail rotor, according to Nikkei Tech-On.

In a final whimsical touch, the fashion and safety conscious, the top half of the "egg car" can also be detached and worn as an attractive helmet.

The device calls to mind the Segway PT, which is a two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered electric vehicle invented by Dean Kamen. Produced by Segway Inc. of New Hampshire, the name Segway is a homophone of the word segue, meaning smooth transition. PT is an abbreviation for personal transporter.

Computers and motors in the base of the device keep the Segway PT upright when powered on with balancing enabled. A user commands the Segway to go forward by shifting their weight forward on the platform, and backward by shifting their weight backward. The Segway detects, as it balances, the change in its center of mass, and first establishes and then maintains a corresponding speed, forward or backward. Gyroscopic sensors and fluid-based leveling sensors detect the weight shift. To turn, the user presses the handlebar to the left or the right.

Segways are frequently seen on beach boardwalks, giving visitors ease in navigating through crowds.

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