The pace of technological advancement accelerates every year. Here are two car prototypes that highlight the advancement.

C-1 Electric Two-Wheeled Car

Please consider the C1, a Self-Balancing, Two-Wheeled Car invented by Daniel Kim, founder of Lit Motors.

Motorcycles make more sense for single-passenger trips, but they are more dangerous to operate than cars, expose riders to the elements, and require skill to keep upright. Kim, a 35-year-old who wears jeans and a black t-shirt, leads the way to the company’s prototype solution: the all-electric C-1. It has two wheels, like a motorcycle, but a steel and composite outer body, like a car. He invites a visitor to sit inside the C-1 and sway from side to side. The vehicle, emitting a steady hum, stays upright. No kickstand props it up; no third wheel adds stability. “When was the last time you balanced on a motorcycle at zero miles an hour?” Kim rhetorically asks. “Never.”

A patented control system, featuring two gyros that spin in a compartment beneath the driver’s seat, is the secret to the C-1’s balancing act. The gyros provide the torque to keep the vehicle upright no matter what the driver does and to hold it at the precisely correct lean angle when the vehicle turns.

The allure of a two-wheeled, self-stabilizing car has tempted automotive designers for at least a century, but earlier prototypes had fatal flaws—the gyros were too large, the mechanical control systems too crude. The C-1 instead employs the foot-wide, high-speed, computerized technology of devices known as control-moment gyros (CMGs), which are mostly used for positioning satellites in space. Frederick Leve, an aerospace engineer with the U.S. Air Force who specializes in CMGs, says that if Lit can effectively and affordably deploy CMGs on a terrestrial vehicle, “that is a breakthrough. That’s dramatic.”

Kim hopes the product will hit the market within two years, but admits that the path to creating a vehicle that “can defy gravity” isn’t simple. “There is no real track for learning how to start your own car company,” Kim says, “so I had to make it myself.”

C-1 Schematic


Next consider the car I want, the AeroMobile. It’s a car that flies.

AeroMobile Video

Link if video does not play: AeroMobile.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock