General Motors unveils Jetson-like cars that drive themselves

Energy technology

Who could have imagined a car that needed no petrol to run, was smart enough to never crash and small enough to go nearly anywhere. Well, stop imagining because they’re here (well, nearly).

The EN-V - or Electric Networked-Vehicle - is a new two-seater concept vehicle that offers an autonomous mode which uses GPS and vehicle-to-vehicle communications along with distance-sensors and cameras to duck and weave its way through traffic using the quickest route. The GM EN-V is an upright two-wheeled electric vehicle that has been developed by General Motors and its Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. Their joint vision is a car that is petroleum-free, emission-free, accident-free and congestion-free.

The core idea of the vehicle is personal mobility with a small footprint - both literally and environmentally.  The EN-V is a zero-emissions vehicle (provided it's recharged using 'green' energy), and the city runabout is designed to be plugged in to a regular powerpoint overnight, with a range of only about 40km. The EN-V also operates like a social networking website, allowing occupants to communicate wirelessly with friends or business associates while on the road.

It's tiny, too. The EN-V is only 1.5 metres long, and has been designed to ease the mind's of commuters when it comes to traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability, and GM says the EN-V is "the vehicle for tomorrow's cities" and expects the EN-V to shift the way people think about vehicles.

Read more in the New Zealand Herald.