Pontus potato
Using electrochemical energy, the potato can drive itself 8cm every 15 minutesMarek Baczynski via YouTube

For when household pets are just too much hassle, have you ever considered a self-driving potato on wheels instead? No, us neither. But that didn't stop YouTuber Marek Baczynski from making one anyway.

Baczynski's first design used four fixed wheels, meaning the potato could only drive in a straight line. But after another trip to his workshop, Baczynski added a second motor and a control board programmed by "a simple script which allows the potato to choose the direction of movement."

"At first it behaved chaotically. It would spin around in circles pretty much randomly," Baczynski said. But, with tongue firmly in cheek, he added: "After a while I noticed it would enjoy riding into the sun and sitting there, kind of like a cat. That's why I decided to give it a name, Pontus, and adopt it as a house pet. I quickly befriended Pontus the potato as he would follow me around my apartment all day."

The key to the self-driving potato is how electrochemical energy within the potato can be captured by a pair of electrodes, passed through an energy harvesting chip, stored in a supercapacitor and deployed through two motors from a computer disc drive, powering the wheels.

Energy produced by the potato is barely enough to power a calculator, Baczynski explains, but by harvesting and storing it, then deploying at set intervals, the potato can drive itself around 8cm every 15 minutes, or 7.5 metres per day.

This may lack behind a cat, but could certainly prove to be more lively than a pet stick insect.

Baczynski then cooked Pontus in the oven and ate him, but don't let that ruin an otherwise heartwarming tale of one man and his autonomous, self-powered potato.

As Baczynski says - your move, Elon Musk.