Porsche Built A Robot That Lives In Your Car And Steals Your Roof

We've established that the new Porsche 911 Targa's automatically-retractable roof is bonkers; no one is disputing that. It's bonkers enough that it deserves this GIF so you can watch it, over and over again, until you're willing to do whatever it tells you. Here's the clever way it works.


The robot roof-napper is technically very interesting, in that at first glance it seems absurdly overcomplicated. But upon closer inspection, it's really quite a clever and elegant solution. Fundamentally, the roof removal process is the nearly same as the original Targa from 1966: the rectangular roof panel is removed and stowed out of the way. Some had a convertible rear window section, sure, but this is closer to the original, fixed-glass version.

Illustration for article titled Porsche Built A Robot That Lives In Your Car And Steals Your Roof

Of course, on the original Targa, you removed the upper roof panel by hand, like some sort of filthy animal. The new roboticized Targa accomplishes the task with two separate sets of mechanical arms. The first set lifts the entire rear window clamshell up and out of the way, where it's easy to imagine it becoming a massive drag chute at speed.

The second set of arms lifts the roof section off, folds it, and deposits it in is holding compartment at the rear of the cabin, roughly in a package-shelf location. What makes this all extra exciting is the presence of the roll hoop. See, looking at the car, you'd think the roof-removing arms would be blocked by the hoop. But that's just an illusion.

The hoop is really an inner, load-bearing hoop and outer panels that conceal the arms and their path. When the arms approach the hoop, upper corner sections of the hoop open, revealing the narrow channel between the outer side panels and the true inner hoop. The arms pass through, the upper corner panels lock back into place, and the illusion of an unbroken, full-width hoop is maintained. Clever!

Illustration for article titled Porsche Built A Robot That Lives In Your Car And Steals Your Roof

Seeing this thing in action is a real treat, and I'm pretty sure I'd burn out the motors playing with it the first week I had my hands on one. Also, ignore that last sentence, Porsche press car people.


I wonder what the speed restrictions are for this? I imagine pretty slow, since that rear section must really grab some air.


Spiderman, Non-Italian Imposter of Italian Spiderman.

Come on now. Honda had this tech back in the 90s.