In many cities, there are a large number of “almost-a-parking-spot” locations (for example, between two driveways) that can only fit an extremely small car.
Additionally, most popular models of small cars have gotten substantially larger over time.
For example, a 1959 Mini Cooper is 120 inches long, while a 2005 model is 143 inches long (~2 feet longer). A 1966 Toyota Corolla is 152 inches long, while a 2015 Corolla is 182 inches long (2.5 feet longer).
These longer cars no longer fit in many small parking spaces (Figure 1).
Since parking spots rarely have a height maximum, there are a number of ways we could re-orient a car to fit it into a parking spot without crushing the car into a cube.
A hydraulic system could be added to a car to allow it to lift itself up in such a way that it now fits in one of these small spots (Figure 2).
Now, when a small parking space is found, the driver can line their car up with the back of the spot, get out of the car, and then engage “car lifting” mode to re-orient the car into a vertical orientation that reduces the car’s required horizontal space by approximately 40%.
This would be a great selling point for people who live in cities with the combination of poor public transportation and poor parking options. Major car manufacturers should start redesigning their cars today.
PROS: Allows a car to fit into a number of previously-un-usable parking spots.
CONS: Cars are generally engineered with the assumption that gravity will always point directly down, so it’s possible that some elements of the car would need to be redesigned. Also, the driver should be sure not to leave any drinks in their cupholders before they engage this system.