SENDAI Kenichi Yamamoto, 63, was driving through Tagajo prefecture, in northeastern Japan, when the March 11, 2011 tsunami struck. The former Toyota employee, a science and engineering professor at Ishinomaki University, narrowly escaped death. His car immediately started filling with water, tipping it 45 degrees. He barely managed to escape by breaking one of the vehicles windows by hand, reports Kyodo news agency.
After speaking with 16 other drivers who had also survived the tsunami by breaking their cars windows, he began to think about designing a car that would be able to float for long periods. Many of the survivors reported their cars flooding and sinking almost immediately after being struck by the giant wave.
Yamamoto's research team will conduct experiments by sinking cars in a pond, to see which components remain functional underwater and how to improve airtightness.
Read the full article in Japanese.