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Is Driving About to Get Easier?

New technology allows a car’s wheels to turn up to 360 degrees.

A car in a crowded parking lot with its wheels turned 180 degrees.
© Hyundai Motor Group

Do you notice anything unusual about this Hyundai Ioniq 5?

Ask a driver what’s most challenging about operating a car, and they’re likely to say it’s parallel parking—maneuvering a vehicle into a space between two cars already parked on the side of a street. Parallel parking requires three precise turns of the steering wheel (more turns might be needed for a tight parking spot or with a nervous driver). But what if a car’s wheels could rotate 90 degrees, allowing the car to move sideways, right into that spot? A new technology makes this, and more, possible.

Hyundai Mobis’s new e-corner system allows a vehicle’s wheels to turn so they’re perpendicular to the vehicle. This enables drivers to move the car sideways (Hyundai calls this “crab driving” because crabs move sideways), diagonally, and even in a full, 360-degree spin. The Hyundai Motor Group says this makes it easier not only to parallel park but also to maneuver around parking lots, narrow streets, and obstacles in the road.

An overhead view of a car next to a parallel parking spot alongside a closeup of the car with its wheels turned 180 degrees.
© Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai says its e-corner system makes it easy to move a car sideways into a parking space.

The system, which may take years to become available in commercially sold cars, can be used only in electronic vehicles (EVs). That’s because, with e-corner, each wheel operates independently, with its own motor. (In traditional, gas-powered vehicles, the wheels are powered by the internal combustion engine.)

Hyundai Mobis tested the technology by installing it in an EV called a Hyundai Ioniq 5. But even though the Ioniq demonstrated the technology, e-corner won’t be limited to Hyundai vehicles. Mobis is a supply company owned by Hyundai, and it can sell the technology to many automakers.

Did You Know?

© notviper–iStock/Getty Images, © Mr.siwabud Veerapaisarn/; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

If you live in one of the states that’s labeled on this map, you won’t be tested on your parallel parking skills.

Is the ability to parallel park required to get a driver’s license in the United States? The answer is yes, unless you live in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, or Wyoming.

My New Car Comes With That?!

Most newer cars have features like a cupholder or a touch screen display. But over the years, some carmakers have introduced features that didn’t last long. Would these fairly weird features make you more likely to want a new ride?

Record Player

In 1956, Chrysler began installing record players in some of its cars’ dashboards. That may make sense since carmakers would later offer cassette tape and CD players. But the idea never really took off.

A woman sits at the steering wheel on an old car and puts a 45 record into a below-dashboard record player.
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection—Corbis/Getty Images

Coffee Maker

Carmaker Fiat offered an espresso maker as an option in its 2013 500L model. The machine worked only when the car wasn’t moving, to avoid any accidents with hot liquids. But despite this safety precaution, Fiat stopped offering the espresso maker—and doesn’t even make the 500L anymore.

Ice Maker

The 1984 Toyota Van had an optional tiny refrigerator that was cooled by the vehicle’s air conditioning lines. Inside the fridge, there were spill-proof ice trays!

Side by side photos of a dashboard ice maker closed and then open with ice cubes inside.
Tim Malone—Toyota Motor North America


When Honda first started making its CR-V, it included an outdoor shower attachment! This would have come in handy for people who decided to take a drive to the beach and needed to hose off their sandy feet.

Sweet Rides

Examples of cars from 1769, 1909, 1927, 1941, 1958, and 1970.
National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire; Ford Motor Company; © Bright, Sigurbjornragnarsson/; National Motor Museum—Heritage Images, Ken Fermoyle—The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Did you know that the first automobile was invented in 1769? But it would take more than a century before cars were common. Learn more about autos at Britannica!






: the force that moves something forward : the force that propels something

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