Forget driverless cars, here comes the Next Future Transportation.
Two Italian researchers, Tommaso Gecchelina and Emmanuele Spera, are working on creating an entirely new mode of autonomous public transportation. slated for release in 2020. They plan to work on prototypes with hopes of launching a viable system by 2020.
According to Next future mobility, Next is an advanced smart transportation system based on swarms of modular self-driving vehicles, designed in Italy. Each module can join and detach with other modules on standard city roads. When joined, they create an open, bus-like area among modules, allowing passengers to stand and walk from one module to another.
The modules can drive autonomously on regular roads, join themselves and detach even when in motion, and that when joined, the doors between modules fold, creating a walkable open space among modules. "The smart routing system of Next will autonomously drive the vehicles and join together modules, in order to redistribute passengers and optimize occupancy rate, cutting energy consumption and traffic footprint," said the Next team.
This is how it works:
- first, a person calls a Next pod on their app the same way they would an Uber;
- the module will then connect with other ones currently on the road;
- The Next app will tell passengers to switch to different pods so they can reach their final destination;