Japanese engineer Kuniako Saito and his team at Cocoa Motors have developed a small portable transporter that Saito claims to be the world’s first “car in a bag.” The thin WalkCar transporter, which can fit in a backpack, is made from aluminium and weighs between 4.4 to 6.6 pounds, depending on its use for indoor or outdoor purposes.
Saito, 26, and his team recently showcased the lithium battery-powered device that resembles a skateboard and is about the size of a laptop computer, reports Reuters. Its maximum speed is 6.2 miles per hour with a distance of 7.4 miles when fully charged after three hours.
Though the aluminium board may be lightweight, it can hold up to loads of 265 pounds. It is surprisingly easy to use and starts automatically when a rider steps on the WalkCar. Stepping off the device stops it, while shifting weight changes its direction. Saito envisions many uses for his invention as he explains it has enough power to help people easily push wheelchairs.
Saito’s came up with the idea for this method of transportation while studying electric car motor control systems. He told Reuters:
“I thought, ‘what if we could just carry our transportation in our bags, wouldn’t that mean we’d always have our transportation with us to ride on?’ and my friend asked me to make one, since I was doing my masters in engineering specifically on electric car motor control systems.”
The novelty in his WalkCar is that it’s not bulky like a segway, and users don’t need to find a parking space for their vehicle like a car. Riders can just hop off and tuck it into a bag after arriving at a destination. The proud Japanese innovator commented on the progress of technology in leading countries such as Japan and the United States:
“Maybe I just see it that way, but it seems to me that the U.S. is always the one which invents new products and Japan is the one which takes those products and improves on them to make a better version of it.
“But here in this case, the WalkCar is a totally new product I have started from scratch. So I also want to show the world that Japan can also be innovative.”
The WalkCar will be priced around 100,000 yen ($800), and customers can reserve their own on crowdfunding site Kickstarter beginning in fall 2015. Shipping is anticipated to begin in spring 2016.