If you listened to countless futurists of days gone by, we should all be living in little space pods by now, with electric cars,  robotic servants and self-cleaning homes.  But as with many promises for the future, many of these predictions from long ago seem rather laughable today.  Except of course, the electric car. 

Often included in these predictions though were the most outlandish designs of electric cars, looking more like spaceships than automobiles. But even though we may laugh at futuristic electric car designs from long ago it seems not every company has got the message that cars need to be a little bit more conventionally designed, regardless of fuel type. 

You’ve already seen GM’s vision of electric urban transportation. Now another firm has joined in, with, shock, another electric-powered, self-driving buggy.

Enter ZMP, a Japanese robotics company.  Following on from its first generation RoboCar, the company has just unveiled a second generation of its urban transport solution.

RoBoCar Prototype

RoBoCar Prototype

Called the RoBoCar and looking like a cross between a golf cart and a motorised mobility vehicle, the RoBoCar features the ability to drive itself using a whole range of finders. 

As with any futuristic post-apocalyptic vehicle, lasers are included. But they’re only for the purpose of allowing the robotic vehicle to navigate around narrow streets. 

At a price of over $82,500 for the fully kitted out version with stereo camera, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), speed sensor and remote driving ‘Steer-by-Wire’ capabilities, we don’t think many consumers will be lining up to buy one.

What of the range and speed? Looking at the video below, we think it’d be faster to walk, but hey, at least your $82,500 doorless car could bring you home after a party without loosing you your license to a D.U.I. charge. 

Right now, technology like this is nothing more than an expensive curiosity. 

While cars are getting smarter all the time and electric cars certainly have their fare share of gadgets and gizmos we think it’ll be a while before your electric car can drive itself home and charge up for you. 

Our prediction? Robotic cars will continue to be pretty lame, until someone combines an all-electric car and a DARPA-challenge vehicle. Now that would be cool...


[Akihabra News]