Folding Car Inspired By ‘Transformers’ Could Hit The Streets Soon

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Finding a parking space may soon become much easier thanks to a car that can fold itself up and squeeze into small spaces.

Inspired by the ‘Transformer’ toys, the electric vehicle, called Earth-1, was designed by Kunio Okawara, famous in Japan as the artist behind the long-running popular robot anime ‘Gundam.’

Tokyo based next-generation car design and manufacturing company Four Link Systems say they hope Earth 1 will get approval to drive on the roads by March 2018.

And despite costing as much as a high-end Lexus at 8 million yen (70,000 USD), the company has already accepted 30 orders from clients from Japan, China and Dubai since its launch at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.

Four Link Systems say their goal is to sell 300 cars a year for use around airports or in tourist spots.

Hiroomi Kinoshita, President & Chief Executive Officer at Four Link Systems, Inc., who’s worked on the creation of next-generation smart vehicle since 2008, said he was also hoping to appeal to a younger generation of drivers who are less interested in cars than previous generations.

“We developed a vehicle which make drivers feel as if they’re steering something that’s not a car,” Kinoshita said.

Robots were the perfect fit, he said, adding that is why they asked Okawara of Gundam fame to design the two-seater vehicle.

“So we offered a robot-inspired shape and made people feel like they are operating a robot while driving. This what makes our car unique and enhances a sense of immersion with the vehicle,” Kinoshita said.

The Gundam series, which has been on Japanese TV since the 1970s, captured the imagination of a whole generation and continues to be popular to this day, with a ‘real-life size’ 20 meter (65 feet) high Gundam robot mechanical statue even becoming the latest tourist attraction in Tokyo.