Ford engineers have invented these three crazy contraptions to make life in the city easier

Emma Haslett
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The challenge received 4,500 entries (Source: Getty)

It used to be Silicon Valley types who were obsessed with innovation - but it seems the bug has spread, after car giant Ford unleashed some of its engineers' craziest inventions.

The company said it had set engineers a challenge: create a device which helps people handle city life.

It received more than 4,500 submissions from employees - more than 1,500 of which came from "first-time inventors".

The company has picked three of its favourites and made prototypes.

Read more: Seat and Cosmopolitan magazine have designed a special lady car for ladies

1. Hoverboard/forklift: Carr-E

Is it a Segway? Is it a hoverboard? Is it just a forklift? Killian Vas, the inventor of the Carr-E, says it's designed to transport both people and heavy objects in places where cars "aren't practical".

The four-wheeled vehicle is designed to fit into the spare tyre well in your boot, and will follow an electronic transmitter in your hand - meaning you don't even need to steer it.

2. Water, water everywhere: On-the-go H2O

Cars air conditioning systems create lots of condensation - usually, it drips onto the pavement below, but Doug Martin was inspired by a billboard in Lima to create a prototype system that collects, filters and pumps the water into a tap in the car.

“All that water going to waste should be recovered to serve a purpose,” Martin said. “The real vision is that this idea could eventually help people who don’t have easy access to water, in remote locations such as the Australian outback, for example."

3. In control: Phone as car

Black cabs might have those fiddly panels of buttons which allow passengers to control their climate - but what about drivers of ordinary vehicles using ride-sharing apps?

Oly Gusikhin came up with an idea for an app which allows passengers in a car to take control of the radio or climate.

“By rethinking mobile connectivity from the passenger’s perspective, we saw how we can use smartphones to give riders control through SYNC without the need to be directly paired via Bluetooth,” Gusikhin said.

Alternatively, you could just politely ask the driver if he or she doesn't mind changing the radio station...

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