The luxury division of DaimlerChrysler has begun a study on using bionics in a car as a way to better conserve fuel and the study team looked to nature for the design of the vehicle. What they found was that the boxfish was an excellent example of an aerodynamic animal.
Engineers patterned the vehicle on the boxfish's unique features, mimicking the fish's streamlined profile to improve the car's aerodynamics, while adopting the animal's boxy frame to increase strength and stability. Drawing on biology to develop new technology — a concept known as bionics — enabled the designers to create a diesel-powered car prototype that can achieve speeds of up to 118 miles an hour (190 kilometers an hour) and boasts fuel economy of 70 miles a gallon (30 kilometers per liter).
When run at a constant speed of 90 km/h, fuel consumption decreases to only 2.8L/100 km. (84 mpg.)!
Daimler Chrysler is using an additional operating fluid known as 'AdBlue' in the bionic car to help decrease the amount of emissions by up to 80%. AdBlue is an aqueous urea solution that is sprayed into the exhaust system and converts nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water.
The researchers also used the boxfish as a basis for the body of the concept car itself. The boxfish's skin consists of numerous hexagonal, bony plates that makes it very strong yet the fish itself is very light. The structure of the bionic car uses the principles of bone formation to allow for a very light weight with high rigidity.
According to Daimler-Chrysler, if this design principle is used throughout the entire car, the weight can be reduced by a third and it won't lose any of its strength or crash safety.