Although the private car has come to epitomize mobility in the world’s metropolises, many would argue that it is public transportation that can solve cities’ biggest transport challenges. But we may not have to choose between them anymore, because Californian design company IDEO has come up with an idea to help your personal car fill the void – and make you some cash in return.
Aiming to launch it by 2027, IDEO’s latest project – The Future of Automobility – promises to produce a smart car that is not only autonomous, but also knows your name and acts like your personal assistant during commutes. The glassy sleek structure holds up to four passengers and is tailored to adjust to different modes: car-sharing, ride-sharing or solo.
Like any other car, you can choose to ride solo. But unlike any other car, it comes with two other features. Using similar coding as ride-hailing apps like Uber, ride-sharing mode adjusts IDEO’s vehicle, allowing you to share rides with others on your way in return for a fee. Passengers can activate a privacy mode to cancel the noise if they don’t want to be disturbed. The vehicle will also remind passengers to pick up their belongings when they leave. IDEO’s vehicle spares you the embarrassment of not finding your ride by displaying your name on a screen at the front of the car.
The vehicle also has a mode where it allows you to share the car itself with others in need of a ride for one or two errands, and if they wish to lessen the cost of the rental fee, they can offer to run an errand on your behalf. It also comes with drawers for storage at the rear and the front, and gliding doors that automatically open and close. Although IDEO’s design is ambitious, the most innovative thing about this vehicle is the combination of all these options in one device.
According to the American Community Survey, 76% of people in the US currently travel alone using their personal cars. Sharing a ride to work saves money, reduces traveler’s carbon emissions and eases road congestion.
Safety experts and officials have estimated that 80% of fatal road accidents are due to human error – mistakes that can be corrected or avoided altogether by more intelligent machines. As car and technology companies worldwide invest heavily in advanced electronic safety systems such as blind-side monitoring and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, they are looking to eliminate the role of drivers and thus reduce the risk of human error.