The perfect little runaround

21.09.32: THE 'FORTRESS ON wheels' unveiled today by Commando, the name given to the relaunched Land Rover brand, provides the most viable transport for the age.

Memories of the satellite-guided global autopilot system crash in 2030 and calls for greater personal security have provided the spur to revive the concept of driver-operated vehicles. Strong and easy to repair in the field, the 4x4 Commando is put to the test by the tough terrain of urban dereliction. Underbody armouring provides anti-mine protection, the angled floorpan serving to deflect the blast to the sides.

The "face" of the vehicle, deliberately menacing and sinister, is copied from the masks worn by ice-hockey and baseball combatants. For the bodywork, much reliance is placed on the use of Kevlar, a carbon-based material pioneered in the last century for military applications, including bulletproof clothing. Many times lighter than steel but much stronger, it looks like plastic but provides excellent defence against urban marauders, its angled panels (an idea borrowed from early Stealth bomber aircraft) able to deflect or resist the direct impact of projectiles fired from most hand-held weapon systems.

The vehicle seats up to six travellers, the driver shielded by anti-bandit glass that provides all-round visibility. With its own oxygen-generating and air-conditioning system, the cabin also serves as an auto-sealing survival pod. Tyres are blastproof and fuelcell propulsion is supplemented by an integral last-resort backup system which comprises an electric "pancake" motor located in the hub of each wheel. DL