Autonomous + modular + electric: the future of transportation

Italian company Next Future Transportation is planning to revolutionise the future of transportation through its modular autonomous pods.
Image credit: Next Future Transportation

In February 2018, Next Future Transportation unveiled its first fully functional autonomous, modular, electric vehicle prototypes in Dubai.

The idea behind this is that with the advent of autonomous vehicles, driverless pods can provide low-density, highly personalised transport in urban areas and then link up to other on high-density routes. When modules are coupled, the passengers are redistributed to optimise occupancy rate, cutting both energy consumption and traffic.

The fully electric modules have a 200km range within urban settings with customisable battery packs up to 200kWh, depending on user needs. Docking and undocking with other modules takes place on the go, meaning passengers can move freely between modules depending on where in their journey they are, and there is no need for everyone to stop every time someone wants to disembark.

NEXT Future Transportation - Full Scale Working Modular Prototypes Testing in Dubai
The first full-scale test of the modular vehicles took place in Dubai in February 2018.
Video credit: Tommaso Gecchelin

The Next cloud-based platform will be accessible as a mobile app (NextApp) through which the user can select their destination as well as how – and with whom – they would like to travel. Users can also select what services they would like to have available on their journey, with the appropriate module then being routed to their location. Upon arrival, the module is accessed via a generated QR code.

Although the modules theoretically have a top speed of 90km/h, the test run took place at a speed of only 20km/h.

The pods are part of the Dubai Smart Government Initiative, and the city’s 2030 Dubai Future Accelerators programme, launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, which aims to make 25% of all trips in the emirate smart and driverless by 2030.

Watch Tommaso Gecchelin, the founder-inventor and CTO of NEXT Future Transportation, at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia as he explains the project in detail and answers the most frequently asked questions:

NEXT’s revolutionary new form of modular autonomous transport for the urban environment

At a recent presentation at the Queensland University of Technology, entrepreneur Tommaso Gecchelin described a radical new modular concept in transport.
Video credit: TheQUTube

08 Mar 2018

By Robyn Grimsley
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