Cab drivers know their cities intimately, using shortcuts and side streets to bypass traffic jams and (hopefully) get you to your destination more quickly. Now Microsoft is hoping to tap into this talent and design better driving directions for online maps.
Industrial designer Alberto Villareal had an idea for a zero-emissions taxicab to replace the copious cabs of his home domicile: smog-choked Mexico City. He named the fuel-cell-powered taxi, which maximizes space while reducing weight and uses solar power to supplement its electrical system, MX-Libris.
Officials at Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany thought MX-Libris was such a novel solution to the city's car-for-hire ills that they gave Villareal their coveted Red Dot design award in 2008. Now, Villareal says two Mexico-based companies -- a taxi distribution and management firm and a car body maker -- could be ready to build a prototype of MX-Libris, and maybe even put it into production.