Move away Uber, there’s a new transportation system in town, and its name is Next. You may have already heard about self-driving cars, even self-driving Ubers, being tested around the world. Next is literally the next step in the development of automated transportation.
Next driverless modules are the future
Presented for the first time at GITEX Technology Week 2016 in Dubai, the Next car is the product of collaboration between ride-hailing company Careem and modular transport startup Next Future Transportation.
Its creators based the vehicle on a driverless pod concept and it is capable of connecting with other modules, just like train carriages.
Not only is it capable of transporting people and goods, but it can also provide services along the way. Need a coffee while you’re going to work? No worries, just open the Next app and arrange to have a module with a coffee service linked to the module you’re riding in.
This opens up a world of possibilities for service companies buying or renting modules to make part of their business always in motion to fulfill their passengers’ needs.
It can also be charged while in motion, eliminating the need for stops to recharge your vehicle. When your module’s battery is low, there’s no need to stop. A dedicated module will reach you and swap your battery pack in no time.
So how big is the module really? It can carry as many as 10 passengers, six people sitting down and four standing. So it’s a great alternative to public transportation, combining the practicality and size of a personal vehicle with the passenger number optimization and services available in public transportation systems.
This electric vehicle of the future can also be useful in goods logistics optimization, quickly carrying goods from one carriage to another, until it reaches the (possibly automated) warehouse.
Calling a Next is rather simple and familiar, just use the Next app to call a module and it will come to pick you up at your destination and take you anywhere you want.
When will Next modules hit the streets?
For now, it is hard to tell. The creators already have a full-scale working prototype, finished in July 2017. At the beginning of 2018, the creators tested the prototype in the streets of Dubai. The vehicle is capable of reaching the top speed of 90 km/h and for now is “level 3 ready,” which refers to human driving with autonomous docking.
The company plans to showcase its last-mile logistics solution in 2019. The creators still need to address issues such as high wind conditions, turning, and accommodating disabled passengers.
That said, it’s not hard to imagine these vehicles becoming the number one choice of vehicles for ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber in the near future.
YouTube: NEXT Future Transportation – Full-Scale Working Modular Prototypes Testing in Dubai
Photo credit: All materials shown are owned by NEXT Future Transportation.