The term “self-driving car” might conjure up images of an autonomous four-door sedan, but self-driving vehicles are likely to take many forms, including shapes that have never before been considered for transportation.
This vehicle was specifically designed to deliver goods on public roads. So it has a chassis and drivetrain appropriate for the street, but is small and efficient, with no space for passengers.
These vehicles are designed to ferry groups of unrelated people to different stops on a loop. The resemblance is closer to an airport tram car on wheels than it is to a bus.
The Hertz Cinema Car takes vehicle design in a truly novel direction. Although it is presently not self-driving, autonomy seems like a logical next step for the vehicle.
History offers a guide as to the pace at which autonomy might change vehicle forms. In the 19th century, the very first automobiles were called “horseless carriages”. True to the name, these models had the structure of horse-drawn carriages, just without the livery.
It didn’t take long for automobile designers to change the form of the vehicle into something more conducive to its purpose. Indeed, the Ford Model T, which has a form broadly similar to modern sedans, debuted in 1908.
Probably, it won’t take long for autonomous vehicle designers to adapt the design of the self-driving vehicle, either.
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Magazine