Joachim Tandler, a car safety researcher in Germany, is working on a project for the first shape-shifting car. The car will use hood-mounted cameras and radar to spot a vehicle that is going to hit your car for a side collision. The camera and radar sends a message to the side of the car once it has calculated that impact is imminent and reinforces the bond between the door and the frame, which is a weak spot in side collisions. The shape-shifting happens in milliseconds – faster than even airbag deployment. The project is still in the experimentation stage but they anticipate that they’ll have a working model in about a year and retail availability in 2008.
Shape-Shifting Car [NewScientistTech]