Fisker Inc. isn't just working on an expensive performance EV. The manufacturer, headed by designer Henrik Fisker, is also working on a new "UltraCharger," and has filed patents for solid-state batteries. Now, the company has announced that it is partnering with China's Hakim Unique Group to build an autonomous shuttle for smart cities. Fisker says its Orbit self-driving electric shuttles will be ready by the end of 2018.

Fisker hasn't provided a lot of specifics about the Orbit, but we do get a glimpse of it in the two images the company has released. The pod-like vehicle looks to be designed to maximize interior space. The side window has a display that shows the shuttle's next stop and departure time. There appears to be a door ahead of the rear wheels, but we can't really tell if it swings or slides open (we'd guess the latter).

The partnership combines Fisker's automotive and design expertise with Hakim Unique Group's resources. Both partners have an interest in mobility and smart infrastructure. Fisker says the first Orbit autonomous shuttle will be deployed in a "Hakim Unique-implemented smart city." We hope to hear more details about this project soon.

In the meantime, we can look forward to the public debut of the Fisker EMotion. The luxury EV, which boasts a range of 400-plus miles and a base price of $129,000, will be revealed next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It also incorporates autonomous technology, but is more focused on a good driving experience.

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