Autonomous Travel Pod

Inspired by biomimicry & artificial intelligence, Autonomo is a fully autonomous vehicle designed to alleviate traffic congestion & maximize the use of existing road networks in large cities in a complex, synchronized system. Autonomo’s on-board computer will make real-time decisions to control direction, detect surrounding objects, anticipate events, and maintain awareness of the environment. Imagine each pod as an individual organism within a much larger pack. Can’t wait for this!

Autonomo vehicles respond to the city’s mobility needs in total synchronization and coordination which each individual vehicles’ task. The vehicles will act as a single organism across the entire city’s road network with the sole task of safe, fast, energy efficient transportation. The Autonomo vehicles will move through the city’s road network like a school of fish, using everything it has learnt to conserve energy and work together.

In developing Autonomo, research into biomimicry revealed many insights into how energy was conserved when valued as a scarce resource that needs to be constantly replenished. Other findings included the organization and collaboration between large numbers of individual organisms to form a collective whole. There are many examples of this in the animal kingdom where certain species act in collective unity to achieve each individual’s common goals.

Autonomo will use overlapping layers of sensors and combine the strengths of each to build an artificial 3D picture of the world in real time. The sensors could include radar, microwave, lidar, optical and infrared. Lidar and laser could be used to scan the road for vehicles up to 200 meters in front and behind. An array of high definition cameras used in conjunction with object recognition technology can read lane markers and road signs, interpret human gestures, detect road signs, and predict the path of pedestrians, cyclist, vehicles, hazards and other objects. Different types of microwave sensors will be tasked to accurately determine very close distances around the vehicle and also scan the road surface conditions ahead. Infrared could compliment other types of sensors like optical cameras where line of sight may be impeded due to objects or weather conditions.

Underneath the nanoscale surface texture, Autonomo will have two transparent photovoltaic layers to turn solar energy into electricity. It uses advanced lightweight batteries to store energy and is able to be charged wirelessly in minutes though electrodynamic induction or energy transfer lasers. High-volume roads or lanes could have induction charging pads placed on the surface to wirelessly charge vehicles as they are moving. When in platoon mode, the Autonomo vehicles would also share energy with vehicles at the front of the platoon.

Designer: Charles Rattray