Watch the world’s smallest cars race along tracks thinner than a human hair

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Watch the worlds first ever race of molecular cars

Six vehicles were vying for dominance this weekend on a race track in Toulouse, France but these cars were on a scale never before imagined.

Microscopic vehicles engaged in the smallest car race in world history on tracks thinner than human hair.

If you wanted to get a glimpse of the action you had to observe through a microscope and transfer the race to a monitor.

The microscopic nanite race cars were designed by researchers from Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States.

The nano vehicles are made up of just single molecules. To propel the molecular machines forward on their silver and gold tracks, researchers use electric jolts provided by the tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope.


After nearly 8 hours, the Austrian-U.S. entry, Dipolar Racer crossed the finish line in the first place.

The car is likened to a molecular Segway without a handle. The molecular racing car completed two runs down its 150-nanometer silver track at an average speed of 35 nanometres per hour.

At that speed, it would take hundreds of years for the nanite car to drive across a €1 coin!

The Nano Dragster, entered by the Swiss team, was the first to complete the shorter, 100 nanometre-long gold race track.

The four teams that remained in the race struggled to even cross the starting line with the Ohio Bobcat Nano-Wagon only creeping forward a mere 2.5 nanometres, a distance of “virtually nothing”.

The vehicles got nowhere near the 100-nanometer distance required to cross the finish line.

According to event organisers, the nano race is a way to advance the manipulation of molecular machines, a field that won last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry.



Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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