Vehicle: Car: Wheel Alternative
Independent Autonomous Balls   (+7, -2)  [vote for, against]
flock beneath you to transport you wherever you want to go

Each ball consists of a self powered, computer-controlled robot, fitted with a battery and a motor connected to an off-centre weight so it can roll itself around. A GPS unit allows each ball to know its location.

It uses blurtooth to communicate with other balls, and also to locate and communicate with charging stations which are sited at regular intervals.

Individuals wishing to travel would use a handheld control device, either standalone, or integrated into their mobile phone, to summon a flock of balls. The balls would roll themselves under the person or object to be transported, and then roll themselves towards the destination. As balls fell out the back they would roll themselves towards the front.

The balls would be paid for out of public spending, and many thousands or millions would be released into the environment. This would allow self-powered cars and other vehicles to become obsolete, since one could now travel the length of the country on one's own sofa, or in a large bucket.
-- pocmloc, Sep 20 2009

Triple-Barreled, Pneumatic, Ball-Dribbling Parabola, Reaction Hovermobile Triple-Barreled_2c_...ction_20Hovermobile
reminded me of this classic [xaviergisz, Sep 21 2009]

Detachable Penis
Similar sentiment [bungston, May 17 2012] [not_morrison_rm, May 17 2012]

I'm sorta glad this isn't what I thought it was, which is worth the [+]
-- FlyingToaster, Sep 20 2009

There should be a "sic'em" attack function built into the balls, for self defense. [+]
-- DrWorm, Sep 20 2009

Your bun is rolling towards you in a large bucket, sat upon a sofa.
-- kaz, Sep 20 2009

"Self-powered" in this sense is rather vague.

Also, vehicles have the advantage of being able to carry cargo, offer amenities and protect us from the environment and other hazards.

What happens when you encounter a hill, a pothole, ice or the passenger falls?
-- phoenix, Sep 20 2009

If you roll over a ball, the ball will travel half as far as you do, in the same time. Meaning it is half as fast. Therefore the balls would have to accelerate to [your velocity +x] to overtake, then slow down to [your v/2], all the time. considering the how fast a ball would be exiting behind you (10m/s ~ 40km/h), it would have to double/halve it's velocity every second, or so, probably more often if it's transporting you directly, and not your car, as the length of travel beneath your feet is much less...

Nice to picture, but no feasibility.
-- loonquawl, Sep 21 2009

Why not upscale the size of them and ride around on the inside like a Zorb?
-- RayfordSteele, Sep 21 2009

GPS is good, but is it good down to inches? Would an assortment of iphones on a counter be able to tell how it was spatially ordered?
-- bungston, May 17 2012

//Detachable Penis

Ho hum. I that's actually baked as cephalops have a wandering tentacle that goes off on its own for dating purposes, or porpoises if it's that confused species-wise. Or is that what you're referring to?

//GPS is good, but is it good down to inches? I do seem to recollect a pantograph attachment (mobile segway mountain of doom), so in theory it should be possible to gear down accuracy onto a smaller scale..probably.

and also autonomous balls (ahem) did turn up in Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks, Sergeant Major Zero and Dix Huit (the French one, with the moustache) et al.
-- not_morrison_rm, May 17 2012

random, halfbakery