VW’s design and engineering studio Italdesign has explored the boundaries of autonomous shuttles roaming around future cities. It envisioned, together with Swiss Schindler integrating them into buildings as an elevator capsule. The Climb-E can pick you up on the 30th floor of your apartment building and, once on the street level, drive you to any destination at speeds up to 120 km/u.
Science fiction? Yes, but virtually built on existing technologies to explore mobility solutions beyond imagination that might make it into cars and shuttles of the future. The base concept of this highly modular Climb-E Shuttle is a so-called ‘skid’, a 4WD fully autonomous electric skateboard, and personalized detachable capsules. These can be anything from an office extension or a moving film theatre to a dentist’s office.
Moving horizontally and vertically
Italdesign is a state-of-the-art design and engineering studio operating in the fields of styling, engineering, production, and New Mobility Solutions. It has been part of the VW/AUDI Group since 2010 and is headquartered in Moncalieri, Turin, Italy.
The idea behind the concept presented at CES 2023 in Vegas was not only to have a horizontally moving autonomous shuttle but also to have the possibility to move it vertically within buildings. Here is where Swiss elevator specialist Schindler and the technical university Politecnico di Torino’s architecture department come in to integrate the concept into buildings.
By designing a lift frame that can grab the capsule and lift it off the skid, the shuttle becomes a multifunctional cabin that can be hoisted up to any floor or stored in the basement when not in use. The capsule measures 3,6 m long by 1,9 m wide and 2,1 m high. Its’s interior configurations allow for many public services to be offered to private users right at their homes, Italdesign claims.
Range of home services
“The range of home services is endless: basic medical assistance services, telemedicine medical analysis or dental care, catering and show cooking services for private events, fully equipped home massages, home sales of various products, veterinary and pet grooming services, and much more.”
The skid is the moving part, enabling you to bring a personalized capsule anywhere in and outside urban areas, even on distant journeys, using a hyperloop train system. “The entire system is managed through a special app that lets owners book their trip either around or out of town or book a specific service,” Italesign explains.
“Scheduling a journey involves the collection of the capsule right from your apartment, condominium, or office thanks to the system of hoists developed by Schindler and the subsequent transfer to the street level to be coupled with the skid that is always pre-booked through the app.
“Once you have reached your destination, the capsule is released from the skid to be coupled either with another hoist for positioning up to the right floor of the intended building (residential/office) or with another carrier for longer journeys, such as the hyperloop.”
Comfort in a new dimension
Schindler, itself moving from an elevator specialist to an urban mobility provider, sees exciting opportunities: “This modular system of capsules that can autonomously move vertically but also horizontally creates new opportunities for future cities. Seamless autonomous travel from door to door offers comfort in a completely new dimension.
The moving part, the skid, has four driving and steering wheels fully integrated into square casings. Multifunctional ground projection devices are built into the forward-facing part to communicate with pedestrians and human-driven vehicles, indicating functional service messages. Like projecting a crosswalk to let pedestrians know they can cross safely.
The front and rear of the skid have also 43-inch multifunctional screens integrated for both functional messages and traffic warnings. The battery pack is housed at the lowest point of the skid in the central part of the floor, guaranteeing a range of 322 km and capable of inductive charging without needing a connected cable.