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Why Should an Autonomous Car Look Like a Car?

Autonomous cars are indeed the vehicles of the future.

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Next Future Transportation Inc.

As creative as the developers of autonomous cars are in terms of technology, they are mighty bland when it comes to design. Because in the end, they still look exactly the same as conventional cars – unfit to transport more than inmates. It is precisely this boring type of design that the Italian company Next Future Transport would like to get away from. Their idea: autonomous pods instead of cars.

Autonomous cars are indeed the vehicles of the future. The only thing that’s funny is that all the concepts, designs and even the first vehicles with autonomous functions still look like boring, normal cars, even when coming from innovative creators like Tesla and Google. Next Future Transportation has a little more imagination. Together with a team in Silicon Valley, Tommaso Gecchelin, the designer, engineer and inventor behind NEXT, is working on his vision for the transport of the future: autonomous pods.

Smart pods

The NEXT pods are intended to be electrically driven, autonomous, joinable and available on demand. The pods are set to come in black, but could also be “individualized.” In other words, they could become mobile advertising vehicles.

 

automnomes auto

Image: Next Future Transportation Inc.

In practice, this could look like this: in the first step, users can order the pods via an app. Depending on demand and the destination, different requests are coordinated in order to be able to take as many other passengers as possible on the same route, similar to Uberpool. The vehicles can also communicate with each other. If several pods are going the same way, they will able to connect with each other during the journey. This should save energy and space and make things easier on other traffic.

andocken

Image: Next Future Transportation Inc.

If several of these pods are connected to each other, the connecting door opens and you can walk back and forth between individual pods, similar to between compartments on a train.

Wanted: Investors

But this is by no means all that Gecchelin and his team have imagined. During the journey to work, for example, a coffee pod could dock up, offering the commuters fresh coffee. On the way home, a movie pod  could dock up so people could relax and enjoy some entertainment on the way home.

And here the fun begins! The pods can, of course, be purchased not only by cities, but also by private individuals or companies. Imagine, for example, a rolling bar that drives you and your friends to the club. Soon, there could be “pod parties.” Sleeper pods would also be practical, in which travelers could sleep in a real bed during overnight trips and thus arrive at the destination more rested.

But this is not something for the distant future. Rather, this could be reality in just a few years. According to NEXT, the first autonomous pods are to be ready by 2020. In order to get the necessary financial resources together, the company has launched a crowdfunding campaign. Whoever invests $100,000 is promised a “futuristic caravan.” Since the launch of the campaign about four months ago, however, the concept seems to have not fully convinced the crowd. So far, NEXT has been able to collect only $78,250.

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Travel

Price Discrimination? How Travel Portals Fool You Without You Noticing

Price discrimination is called the largely hidden practice, with which travel portals in the net partially show completely different prices to the users for the same offer

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Pixabay / nattanan2

How much is a flight to Tenerife? What do you pay for a rental car in Tuscany? That depends on the user! Price discrimination is a largely hidden practice where travel portals show completely different prices to different users for the same service – depending on things like their location, device, browser or even use of Wikipedia.

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Travel

Get Ready to Fly: The First Flying Train Is on the Way!

Imagine you sit comfortably in the train compartment and in a few minutes the whole thing turns into an airplane – and you take off.

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Akka Technologies

Imagine you are sitting comfortably in the compartment of a train, then within just a few moments the whole thing has turned into an airplane – and you take off. That sounds like a scene from a science fiction film. But according to a few French engineers, this could soon become reality.

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Expansion In The USA: Flixbus Challenges Greyhound

Flixbus goes USA. The German long-distance bus operator has officially announced today that Flixbus is planning to expand its US operations.

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Flixbus

Since Flixbus has already built a presence in 26 countries in Europe and transported over 30 million passengers last year, the long-distance bus company is now looking to try its luck across the pond. It is not yet clear when Flixbus plans to start its business and which routes will be offered. However, the first location and headquarters of Flixbus in the USA has already been established: Los Angeles.  “A small team is already on site and is responsible for setting up the American headquarters,”says Flixbus.

Greyhound is the biggest competitor

In the USA, Flixbus will have to compete with Greyhound, the bus company with the widest route network and the largest share of the bus market in the United States. Greyhound employs around 7,000 people and transports 18 million passengers per year. Greyhound is not the only competition, however. Megabus has also built up a considerable route network throughout the country.

But Flixbus founder André Schwämmlein believes that the American market is ready for a new player. “The American mobility market is undergoing significant change – public transport and sustainable travel are becoming increasingly important,” says Schwämmlein.

Flixbus wants to operate in the USA according to the same business model as in Europe. Flixbus does not operate its own buses, but works with medium-sized bus companies on site. “The same principle is to be followed in the United States of America, too.”

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