There’s no telling how close engineers are to giving the world the flying cars that have been a fixture of science fiction, but that won’t stop them from pushing the automotive world as far as it’ll go. That might be for the best; there are still plenty of problems that need sorting out on the ground, so maybe the vehicles of the near future will tend to them. Maybe vehicles like the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 are what to expect.

The electric car has been in the works since 2012 — and while this second incarnation’s prototype isn’t exactly much to look at, the abilities and results speak volumes. The EO2 has freely-rotating wheels powered by separate motors, which lets it drive sideways and make even the most perilous parking jobs a triviality. On top of that, the car can shift its axle and slide on rails to enter a compressed mode; thanks to that, the already-small smart car can become even smaller. Alternatively, it can go in a different direction and — theoretically — link up with other EO2 cars and form a makeshift train.

The group behind it, the German Research Center for Artificial Development, have demonstrations and specifics listed on the official site. There’s no shortage of potential for the EO2, what with its touted ability to excel in packed urban areas. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges to overcome first — like actually getting a company to manufacture it — but the fact that it even exists has to stand for something.

It might not be able to fly, but it’s still a big step forward.