Project Flake by UK-based automotive designer and futurist, Da Feng, has to be one of the most innovate concepts we have seen in some time.

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The Flake concept is the Coventry University student’s final-year assignment. It has been under development for around two years, and there’s still plenty of work to be done.

According to Feng, the Flake was inspired by characters from the movie Cars and the shape of the ash that fell from his cigarettes.

The Flake concept in the video is the third-generation of the vehicle.

Flake Mk3 is made up of 250 body panels (flakes), which are controlled by hundreds of mini solenoids linked to carbon nanotube wires.

When the car travels at speed, the flakes contract to their ‘closed’ position for optimal aerodynamics.

Under braking, the flakes rise up to increase downforce and help slow the vehicle, and can even enhance cornering and handling by opening on one side of the car and allowing it to ‘lean’.

The flakes also aid the vehicle’s cooling system and track the sun to absorb solar energy.

The wheels are another innovative aspect of the design. Each wheel features 12 ‘legs’ that track the ground surface and adjust themselves accordingly. In effect, the wheels and body are part of the concept’s suspension system, allowing the Flake to convert itself to an all-terrain buggy when the conditions dictate.

Feng explained that he has shown his concept to an ex-Williams F1 aerodynamics expert who said the idea was sound, but said the execution needed a couple of tweaks.

Feng plans to come back to the concept in a few years’ time to finish the interior design and refuelling details, when his animation hardware can handle the project smoothly.

“I know this car is ridiculous, and I know it wont work, but it was never intended to be a practical solution, rather an inspiration for others.”

What do you think of Feng’s Flake concept? Do you see any elements of this vehicle playing a key role in future automotive design? Let us know in the comments section below.