"I share the view of Pythagoras that the world is number. The ultimate substrate of the universe is math. There's no way to test that - it's pure metaphysical speculation."
One characteristic of good writers is that they don't try to include details that don't move the story forward. In this case, the small vehicle is simple, but modernistic (at least from the standpoint of the 1970's, when this story was written).
Today, of course, we can point to at least a few production cars that have a "tear-drop" shape (because it improves the aerodynamics - and therefore the gas mileage - of the vehicle).
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'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
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