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Okay, so here’s the novel take of the week. According to reports, a venture company in Japan called Humanix will introduce an electric vehicle that wears airbags. On the outside.

The Hiroshima-based company, which utilises research results from Hiroshima University and builds items such as the Cellomics Tip for use in live single cell mass spectometry applications, among others, is now set to introduce the iSAVE-SC1, an electric tricar covered with soft cloth containing shock-absorbing airbags.


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The three-wheel prototype has inflated airbags at the front and rear, and the body is covered with tent cloth. In the event of a collision, air is released from the bags to cushion the impact.

It plans to sell about 100 units of the vehicle, which seats three, from late November to March 2012, at a cost of around 790,000 yen each. The vehicles will be used for monitoring purposes, before mass production begins in April or later next year. The production version should have a complete wrap-around airbagged body as in the sketch, presumably.


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”Think of the car as wearing clothes, which is something found nowhere else in the world,” said Tsutomu Masujima, Humanix president, who is also professor at the university’s graduate school. ”I used to wonder why the surface of a car is made of metal. Through my study of biology, I noticed that living creatures are naturally soft. I began developing the car based on this idea,” he told reporters.

The maximum speed of the iSAVE-SC1 is 50 km/h, and the vehicle can be charged at home via a 100 volt power supply. The company says that vehicle will be cheap to run, at a fifth to a tenth of a gasoline vehicle’s maintenance costs, though no mention was made about the cost of replacement airbags.