VW’s Nanospyder goes organic

Volkswagen designers have unveiled the Nanospyder, a radical vision for the future of modern transportation.

The two-seater is an environmentally friendly concept vehicle. It includes nanotechnology, hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, wheel-mounted electric motors, and inflatable organic body panels.

The Nanospyder is the work of Patrick Faulwetter, Daniel Simon and Ian Hilton of the Volkswagen Design Center in Santa Monica. Their brief was to design a vehicle that could be driven in California without harming the environment.

To meet this goal, the team looked well beyond current manufacturing techniques. The Nanospyder has a latticework of billions of tiny programmable nano devices, each measuring less than half a millimetre in diameter. Each of these devices can be programmed to be as strong or weak as required, so active crumple zones can be created. The ‘spine’ of the vehicle, onto which the rest of the components are attached, remains immensely strong.

Clothing the nano-lattice are panels made from organic materials, some of which can inflate to further cushion against impact. The materials double as a power source as polysynthesis generates small amounts of electricity. This, coupled with hydrogen, powers tiny electric motors mounted within the hubs of all four wheels.

The Nanospyder indicates the innovations being generated in the search for sustainable transport. The concept was created for the Los Angeles Design challenge, and the winner will be announced at the Los Angeles Motorshow this month.