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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Zoox Reveal Autonomous Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Concept

Meet The Boz; it's not really a car - it's what might come after the car - a vehicle design based entirely around autonomous driving.

Inside the Boz, the experience would be like sitting in a train. Drivers become passengers, or "commanders." Without needing to focus on traffic and road signs, they would be able to use the commute to do some work or watch a video or have a snooze!

Just as the internal combustion engine enabled the car to replace the carriage, Zoox believe autonomous technology will replace the car, and in doing so create a new class of mobility known as 'Level 4'.

Level 4 is a term taken from a policy statement the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released on May 30, 2013. This document outlines a spectrum of mobility systems from the fully manual Level 0, through to Level 4 which is fully autonomous.

From a design perspective, the first element you may notice is what's absent: the front and rear windshield. This is not to say L4s can't have them — certainly those designed for tourism would — but this vehicle makes the statement that you now have an option.

Firstly, it gains thermal, aerodynamic and acoustic efficiencies. The thermal load lost through the windshield is significant, requiring energy intensive climate control systems, as well as a number of ancillary systems to keep the glass clear. These inefficiencies are removed.

The entry profile of the vehicle is aerodynamic as a near teardrop, unattainable in a car due to the requirement for driver vision. The low profile roofline and absence of glass further lends itself to superior acoustic insulation. The side windows are thin, but double glazed, which enhances these properties.

Because the requirement for the passenger to be situationally aware of their exterior environment is removed, external sound and light can be shielded to enhance a sense of serenity and safety. This is a superior environment for interacting with voice-activated systems, watching video or conversing.

You can be in the middle of a bustling city, but when the door seals, you are in your own world.

The Boz has all-wheel active suspension, all-wheel steering and all-wheel drive, all optimized by Artificial Intelligence. All-wheel drive means the torque applied to each in-wheel motor can be precisely regulated, delivering the benefits of anti-lock braking and electronic stability control without the need for ancillary systems. The electric motors, which are equally capable of spinning in either direction, also facilitate regenerative braking.

While driverless cars sound fantastic, a driverless ULTra PRT pod transport system with 21 pods and over 4km of track has been operational at London Heathrow airport since May 2011 and a larger scale trial of 100 pods will begin in 2015 in Milton Keynes.

Source: Zoox

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