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Roly Poly Cars

Isopod autos eliminate gridlock
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Roly polies, also called wood lice, potato bugs, sow bugs and pill bugs, would make the ideal form for cars of the future. When passing (overtaking), the faster car could simply roll over the slower car. The same thing would be done when meeting oncoming traffic. The cars traveling in a northerly direction would roll over southerly moving traffic. These maneuvers would be possible since each car’s front edge is higher than the back and side edges; a precise compass would raise the front edge even more when traveling northward. Even intersections could be navigated without stop signs, traffic lights or overpasses. Some sort of communication would be needed to decide who “takes the high road” when meeting on an exact east-west road or when meeting at 90 degrees, front-to-front in a crossing.

This would mean highways with only one lane, coping with many more cars that could be driven on either side of the road. Since there are 4000 species of the crustacean, roly poly car models could vary in shape and size, and their low air resistance would be fuel economic. Even parking would be eased since many isopod cars could fit under giant boulders.

FarmerJohn, Jun 30 2002


       Yeah, but you end up with all those footprints all over your car.   

       "...and their low air resistance would be fuel economic."
You think they'd be going fast enough for it to matter?
phoenix, Jun 30 2002

       Doodlebug & ant lion are two other names for pill bugs. Sow bug is a misnomer - They look similar, but lack the ability to curl up. Clearly inferior to the mighty ant lion.
thumbwax, Jul 01 2002

       I'm worried. In really heavy traffic, the extra cars would just keep rolling on top, several levels deep. But somebody is going to end up at the bottom, unable to move. And I know that somebody is going to me.   

       I'm also slightly creeped out. But it could be quite fun.
sadie, Jul 01 2002

       I would stick with the separate lanes of traffic - after all, how do the cars know which should roll over the other? Maybe the rolling should be just for accident mitigation/self-protection, as the bugs themselves use this ability.
hinkle, Jul 01 2002

       So when the motorway is hit by floods or a nuclear blast, do the cars also roll up like woodlice to protect the people inside? And wouldn't that be rather uncomfortable?
sadie, Jul 02 2002

       They get free soda.
waugsqueke, Jul 02 2002

       I happened on this after thinking of the idea, but as a solution for traffic jams. However, [UB]'s last anno got me curious: do chickens actually eat rolypolys? I have tried feeding those critters to many a beast, with no takers to date. But not chickens, so far.
bungston, Feb 21 2004


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