Future Drive Concept: The Robotic Commuter Pod

Advanced electric drive, autonomous navigation and other technological advances will revolutionize the way we drive. PopSci presents stunning visions for the future of the automobile

Concept

A fully autonomous pod similar to the general motors “PUMA” concept, this urban commuter does all the work for the driver. The ability to get more power out of smaller batteries and engines will let even the smallest micro-vehicles contain generous cabin space, making for a more comfortable and productive ride to work.

Panoramic Dome
The seat sits higher than in a standard car, providing high visibility all around. The front windscreen serves as the door and opens vertically, blocking rain or snow as the driver enters the vehicle.

Single-Occupancy Cabin
The tall cabin gives the driver plenty of legroom, while keeping the overall profile of the car compact. Multiple vehicles could be stacked in a single parking space, and a line of moving vehicles could form an autonomous caravan, increasing efficiency by allowing vehicles in the back to draft off those ahead.

Lightweight Body
For low weight and high strength, the chassis and body are made of carbon-fiber composites.

Self-Guidance System
Guided by radar, GPS, and car-to-car and car-to-road signals, the vehicle pilots itself, leaving the commuter free to talk on the phone, access the Internet, or watch videos on a large transparent OLED screen.

Small Wheels
For increased efficiency, six small wheels in the front provide more contact with the road with less mass than would two large tires. In the back, lightweight, concealed electric hub motors, powered by a compact battery pack, move the vehicle through traffic.