General Motors may have plans for robots in disguise. We’re making a poor joke related to Transformers there, but GM has indeed filed an intriguing patent for transforming vehicles.
AutoGuide first discovered the patent filing, which details a “Method and Systems for Reconfiguring a Vehicle Geometry.” Basically, the patent details a vehicle that can house more or fewer passengers. This kind of concept would ultimately be ideal for self-driving cars.
For example, say an individual requests a self-driving car. With no passenger or driver inside, the patent shows the roof and windshield stowing away for maximum aerodynamics. Once the car arrives, it could change form to include the full roof and a windshield to see out of. GM’s depiction appears to show the roof an windshield splitting apart at the middle and tucking away into the car’s body for use later. Something, though we’re not sure what, would then cover the cabin to keep out the elements.
These futuristic body panels could also have the ability to shrink for an autonomous car to fit into places it may not typically. Perhaps the car needs to fit into a tighter parking spot? The panels suck themselves in to create more wiggle room. GM also depicts this in patent drawings. The automaker also mentioned electric-car charging. More cars could fit into charging banks with this kind of technology.