We have heard of some fabulous ideas, and seen some amazing prototypes of new technologies that if brought to real world, can transform our future, but seldom have we seen them actually coming to real world.
The idea of CityCars was one of them. We all wished that it would come to our cities, “today”. Well, it seems like it would be coming to some city soon. Boston Globe is reporting that MIT has submitted a proposal to a government in Asia to build them.
Apparently MIT doesn’t want to disclose what government, but it doesn’t prevent us from speculating, does it?
There have been some interesting developmental plans sketched in UAE. They are planing on building a carbon neutral city in Abu Dhabi. It is called Masdar (Arabic for Source). It makes sense for CityCars to be part of this city.
A Bit about CityCars
CityCars are brain child of William J. Mitchell. He envisioned compact electrical cars that are stackable- just like shopping carts. Also, they will have the ability to plug into a power grid and recharge. The electricity generated would be either from solar or wind source.
The basic idea of these cars are that they will be around everywhere in the city, and with a swipe of a credit card anyone can take the car and drive it to their destination. While at their destination the cars can basically be left for others to drive.
The core of the car is its wheel which is dubbed “Wheel Robot”. These wheels contain the motors, suspension, and steering of the car. This allows for great flexibility; hence, they are able to collapse the car and fold it.
Furthermore, CityCars are to be equipped with smart navigation systems that will know the position of other cars and will alarm the driver if it sees other cars coming too close.
Since the car requires the use of credit card, it can also remember a driver based on the credit card info. Hence, it can adjust to your driving habits, aesthetic appeal, etc. For example, if you like the color blue, when you swipe your card the car can change its color to blue- just for you.
To get a better idea about CityCars please watch the following introduction:
So what about Masdar?
Masdr is the utopian vision of UAE’s Future Energy Company to create a city that is completely carbon neutral, zero waste, and powered entirely by renewable energy sources. The project is planned to be finished in 7 years with billions of dollars. This project will also contain a University.
Recently they just broke ground with the biggest solar grid in the Middle East. This project alone will reduce emissions of 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.
To build a carbon neutral city the first problem that needs to be solved is that of transportation. Obviously, we cannot use our regular cars. So something new has to be created. Following is the vision for transportation system:
As potential transportation solutions Masdar is considering the light rail transit (LRT), personal rapid transit (PRT), car parking (at the edge of Masdar City), and associated logistics. Masdar will also consider developing a logistics centre at the edge of Masdar City that will act as the receiving centre for inbound and outbound goods, and distribute these to residents via energy-efficient means.
Having the above objectives in mind, we can perhaps think that CityCars would be a good choice for Masdar. Why not use something that is already prototyped and completely satisfy the objectives of being carbon neutral?
Whether CityCars are used in Masdar or not, it really doesn’t matter, the important thing is that in our future there is chance of seeing something like CityCars and a carbon neutral city. I am sure the Earth is longing for it.