Is NEXT the next big thing in transportation?
Autonomous, Platooning Electric Pods, Anyone?
The Venetian designer/physicist/artist, based in California's Silicon Valley, has taken elements from a number of existing concepts and cobbled them together to form one Utopic package. Individual, battery-powered autonomous, platooning pods provide the platform for this ride-sharing service. Call one up on the NEXT app and six-seater pod, with possibly with a small coffee bar inside to fulfill your caffeinated desires, shows up to whisk you away to your destination.
Along the way, it may connect with other pods headed in the same direction and, if the video above is to be believed, may open passageways between the cars, allowing you to move to one with more people going in your direction. If a module's battery is running low, another battery-swapping pod will come to it and change out its pack, we suppose, autonomously. It's all pretty bold and ambitious. And probably, in the near term at least, impossible.
Gecchelin is rather confident about his idea, however, and says it's all possible and hopes to have something up and running, with help from unnamed partners, by 2020. While we're not ones to bet against the speed of innovation, we suspect getting to what's next might take a bit more time.
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