It’s ironic, isn’t it?  The end of the car as we know it announced during the start of Monterey Car Week and Pebble Beach.

Spoiler Alert: some 26 year old Japanese engineer may have just invented the automotive platform of the future. (Uh, oh… no cupholders)

A young Japanese engineer Kuniako Saito responded to a friend’s musings, and invented the car platform of the future. This future will be situated in an era sometime between Google automated cars and Star Trek transporter devices. And remember the automated car era may come as soon as 2026.

Saito’s car – dubbed the *WalkCar* – is powered by a lithium battery and looks like an overturned iPad on wheels. No, we’re not kidding, see the video. This minute transportation device handle 265 pounds of weight. After a brief three hour charge, it can travel 6.2 miles per hour and a distance over 7.4 miles. The average American drives 30 miles a day. So you would need 4 charges.

It’s a beginning.  It’s the ground floor of personal transportation in the future.  This will be big right before we all take to jet-packs to get around.

The “WalkCar” weighs only 6.6 lbs and slips right into a backpack or computer bag when not in use.

The users steps on the device to start it and steps off to stop it. “How do ya steer?” you’re asking. You change direction by shifting your weight. Sort of like skateboarding but without all the pivoting of the surface, and with the stability of four wheels.

Share this story with friends who bought the Segway.  They were revolutionaries, but who overlooked the compelling force of miniaturization and easy storage.