Fraunhofer Team develops ‘Vision PI’ vehicle concept for the future
What does the mobility of the future look like? Researchers from six Fraunhofer Institutes have developed a groundbreaking vehicle concept, Vision PI, that can be flexibly and individually designed depending on the intended use.
An interdisciplinary research team made up of experts from the different Fraunhofer Institutes (Chemical Technology, Surface Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing Technology, Forming Technology, and Wood Research) has developed ‘Vision PI’, a modular futuristic mobility concept.
The concept calls for a modular passenger cell, following the logic of a shell principle, that can be flexibly adapted to the individual needs of the travelers: during the day, it serves as a communicative lounge; at night, it becomes a peaceful capsule for rest and recovery on long-haul trips.
The interior can be adjusted easily and adapted in terms of settings. The materials used are made from renewable sources or designed to optimize their reused or recycled ability. The entire module can be coupled with various mobility bases – with a vehicle platform, an air taxi, or a Hyperloop solution, depending on the need.
It can also be transformed into an interactive virtual-reality lounge that enables limitless virtual travel worldwide, contributing to an innovative component of new mobility and building designs.
AllCell, adaptive, and sustainable
“The foundation of our mobility concept is the autonomous, light, and personalized AllCell, which is compatible with various platforms. The AllCell can drive or fly, always under the power of the most efficient fuel,” explains Dr. Torben Seemann, head of Smart Matrix Production at Fraunhofer IST.
“Our concept is the luxury edition of individual travel. The exterior, interior, and information, and communication technology are modular, customizable, and adaptive to the context. The interior of the AllCell can be easily modernized and is always on the cutting edge in terms of technology,” says Sebastian Stegmüller, head of the Mobility Innovation department at Fraunhofer IAO.
Another special feature of the concept is the sustainable vehicle structure, divided into long-lasting, reusable components and nondurable wear components, and design-relevant components.
“The durable components are recycled after their end of life and reused in new vehicles. The non-durable parts are designed to achieve material recycling levels of nearly 100 percent,” explains Dr. Philipp Rosenberg, head of the lightweight structures group at Fraunhofer ICT.
The mobility concept was one of five recommendations taken by Fraunhofer to the #NEXTGen Moving Tomorrow Pitch, an idea competition organized by car manufacturer BMW. The competition aims to find a “visionary, sustainable, and holistic complete concept for mobility in 2040.”
Around the world, BMW called on researchers from a total of ten renowned research institutes to submit recommendations that would improve future generations’ lives, are designed for the users, make cities smarter, or are meant to enable entirely new technologies.
Fraunhofer was the only non-university research institute that took part in the idea competition. Along with two teams from the elite Chinese Tsinghua University, the Vision PI team from Fraunhofer made it into the top three with its idea of an individual passenger cell.
“We are very pleased to have made it into the finals. Thanks to the institutes’ interdisciplinary collaboration, we managed to develop a concept that focuses on the users of tomorrow’s mobility. In doing so, our system solutions offer true added value for our customers,” explains Torben Seemann. The team behind the Vision PI concept is convinced that its idea is appealing to the automotive industry.