A transformer car is basically a car that converts to a mega robot and is capable of performing a wide range of functions. Due to the advances in sensor and vision technologies and hi-tech computing capabilities, a mobile plugged, lighter weight, play version of these robots have started being manufactured in factories and warehouses on a global scale. These are mostly known as Cobots or collaborative robots. Cobots will be carrying out human tasks and functions which are too dangerous for humans to carry out. These will be designed to work alongside humans in a shared space. Cobots are flexible, mobile, and easily programmable. These even come at a reasonable price.
Transformer cars are no longer just a fantasy—in fact these have started becoming a reality. For instance, Kia Motors, a south-Korea based vehicle firm is the first to have built a transformer car it requires 75-85 seconds for the transformation of the car to take place. By 2019, the car will be ready for launch in the market. Other than Kia Motors, there are some other companies working with the focus of building transformer cars and launching them in the commercial market in the near future.
When transformer cars were first highlighted in the 2007 Hollywood movie series Transformers, it became an object of technological fantasy and fascination for millions around the globe. However, it is still more of fantasy than a reality. The Autobots and Decepticons have continued enthralling audiences for generations, but real-life applications still remain a largely far-fetched dream. In spite of that, some engineers and high-profile technology firms have started creating a buzz by making drastic progress in their attempts to design and manufacture these transformer cars or robot vehicles. The following are some of such attempts of realizing fiction into fact:
- A strategic partnership between a few established scientists known as Project J-Deite is focused on the vision of creating a fully-functional transformer car by the year 2020. Even though 2020 is a considerable amount of time away; work is still in its full-blown stages of progress. A video recently showcased a quarter of a bumblebee model which is capable of basic motion like walking and driving. Even it is still not equipped with the feature of communicating through the car radio, there is still enough time build such developmental features.
- Engineer Jk Han at Virginia Tech University has developed the unique Humvee Bioloid. It is smaller in size than the other counterpart used in military purposes. While it still cannot take on Megatron due to the table-top kind size, but it can deliver dance movements and can move at the speed of Usain bolt. Once its formation becomes complete, it becomes one of the most potential candidates to join the league of Autobots.
- The closest real-world application of a genuine Cybertronian is a model called that has been designed by a Turkish company called Letrons. The team at the company has spent eight months creating Antimone, a life-size transformer car made from a glossy, red BMW. It runs on an electronic battery and is equipped with features like 120-degree rotation of neck and remote control movement software. It is basically a robot converted from a BMW. The car turns into a human-like machine with face, arms and other body part movements within a span of 70-80 seconds.
A human with a remote control is responsible for the transformation of the car to a giant robot. This transformer car has several features, which include face and hands movement along with the capability of speech. In spite of all of these features, the transformation of Antimon is not fully similar to the one we experience in transformers, the Hollywood movie series. That is because Antimon is not equipped with walking capability. Its hand and face movement also has limitations imposed. One feature Antimon has that does not feature in the movie series is that it is Wi-Fi enabled. The team at Letron says this is just the beginning as it has been working on several other transformer car models that will become fully functional in the near future.
It is uncertain whether Antimony runs on liquid fuel or electricity or fuel. Fuel efficiency and dependency of transformer cars like Antimony is going to determine the rate at which nations are going to adapt or manufacture such types of transformer cars. Even though different nations will adapt to this trend of cars at different rates, but cannot be subjected to complete neglect by industries as these cars serve multi-purpose functions.
Transformer cars are still largely at a work-in-progress stage, and not just a fictitious concept shown in Hollywood movies. The trend of using Cobots is expected to rise in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and healthcare industries.