Jan 172011
 

Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.

Sitting in Nissan’s Landglider was an experience, I’d been looking forward to it since I first spied the pre-show imagery – this truly is near the point where the motorcycle and automobile meet. It’s a two passenger vehicle, one behind the other, it’s half the width of a conventional car and it leans through corners like a motorcycle.

Being fully enclosed and with impact absorption zones and a composite protection tub, the Land Glider’s pilot is a lot less vulnerable than a motorcycle rider, yet the Land Glider’s light weight and the punchy electric motors mean a motorcycle-like torque to weight ratio for quick acceleration and the steer-by-wire system leans the Land Glider up to 17 degrees – it may not be the 45 degree plus of a sports motorcycle, and the proof-of-concept will surely be in the driving experience as to how drive-by-wire feels in comparison to the mechanical systems we’re all accustomed to, but it’s more than enough to have safe, low-speed fun commuting to the office.

The Land Glider is one of a wave of new single track concept vehicles being shown by auto makers this year as they begin preparing for yet another looming crisis for the auto industry – Global Traffic Congestion!

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