It might not win any beauty contests, but this electric vehicle developed by students at Hiroshima University would be my pick if I had the choice of which car I was going to be involved in an accident with. Instead of relying on interior airbags to cushion the driver during a collision, the iSAVE-SC1 is essentially a drivable cushion that should soften the blow for driver and pedestrian alike.
While the air-filled cushions probably don’t help the aerodynamics of the three-wheeled vehicle – contributing to a reported 50 km/h (31 mph) top speed and range on an overnight charge of 30 km (18.6 miles) – the goal of the students in the Humanix group wasn’t performance, but to build a vehicle that is “kind to humans.”
While a price of 790,000 yen (approx. US$9,212) is being bandied about, as well as features such as interchangeable plastic roof and cushioned bumpers that will come in a variety of different colors, we wouldn’t expect to see the vehicle on public roads. However, the concept would appear to have some merit for areas where pedestrians and slow moving vehicles have the potential to mingle, such as airports or amusement parks.
The iSAVE-SC1 can be seen ramming volunteers in this video.