University of Minnesota researchers led by Rajesh Rajamani (a man who wrote the book on Vehicle Dynamics and Control— or at least a book) are working on a three-wheeler of their own. While giving a nod to unnamed “companies in Europe” the scientists claim to be special in that their research is unique for efforts based in the US. As Piaggio touts their age-old tilting wheel technology this group also uses this approach with computer-controlled regulation of wheel angle in turns. Dr. Rajamani also mentions “the perception of safety,” an aspect of the MP3 that its marketers are counting on to be a big draw. Dr. Rajamani refers to the perception of small vehicles being less safe but it is admirable that he at least mentions the concern.
As tilting at 3 wheels is now the official academic and industry focus, one wonders how the old non-tilting two-wheels-in-front trikes of the past were deficient. Micro car enthusiasts may defend the old designs and modern versions can claim they’ve been at the forefront of the market but they both lack in that 2-wheel feel.Â Now this new effort seems to bridge the gap with a tilting recumbent.Â Check out the video.Â The clip is not as slick as the Piaggio marketing videos of their MP3, but the background suggests that the vehicles of the future are being tested a stones throw away from Scooterville in Minneapolis.