You’ve seen rubber lanes in bumper bowling, you may have even seen people put rubber on their car bumpers to avoid scratches, but that’s nothing compared to this concept car, which has almost its entire body fitted with… rubber airbags!
Known as the Flesby, it’s a turtle-like concept that uses a creative exterior shell to protect pedestrians, communicate with other road users and even change shapes! It also has turtle-like performance, with its speedometer limited to 65 km/h!
The green globes on the outside are soft for absorbing impacts. LED lights projected onto the rubber allow the driver to communicate with pedestrians and other vehicles. “In the event of contact with a pedestrian, the soft body serves a safety function in absorbing the impact,” the company said.
Recently on display at the Tokyo Motor Show, the concept was produced by Toyoda Gosei, a rubber parts manufacturer connected to motoring giant Toyota. Apparently the Flesby was created so these Gosei guys could show off their product!
Toyoda imagines the body changing shape through the use of e-rubber. It may sound like a fantasy, but it’s actually something Toyoda Gosei has been developing since 2007. The soft, next-generation lightweight rubber is a futuristic sandwich of elastic and electrodes, which can expand and contract with the intro of electricity! Unfortunately, we won’t see this shape-shifting e-rubber tech in our cars anytime soon, but it’s a lot of fun to look at and dream of for now!
The company predicts the Flesby will be an ultra-compact vehicle on the streets in the year 2030. For now they have other techy gadgets in the works, including a cutting-edge steering wheel capable of sensing the driver’s condition, and a plastic front end able to indicate information about a car’s system to onlookers. But first things first – where’s our bubble car?!