We’re lucky that here in New Zealand “gridlock” means that you’re only slightly inconvenienced and might end up at work late an hour or so. In places like China, “gridlock” means that you might end up stuck in traffic for 11 days – seriously, Google it.
Traffic and major cities go together like hand in glove, but U.S. architecture firm Oiio, is tackling traffic in a different manner, envisioning a world where transparent bubble-like pods pass around on wheel bases, allowing vehicles to travel not just on roads, but up the sides of buildings as well.
The Automobility Designer/Developer challenge at LA’s 2017 Auto Show challenged entrants to create a future method of transportation in a city plagued by congestion. A conventional car consists of an engine, cabin and boot, and Oiio quickly figured out that those parts cannot be used individually.
“When one or two persons are transported by car, they utilise successfully the engine and two of the seats, but the remaining seats as well as the trunk, constitute wasted resources for that specific transportation period”, says Oiio.
Oiio’s concept vehicle, the “Oto”, is a car that can be broken down into three separate modules – a cabin, engine and boot. With the Oto, you’d only need to own a cabin. The cabin would mount onto systems of powered wheel bases when required, the modular design making cabins and bases are easily interchangeable. With this in place, track systems attached to sides of buildings, similar to tram lines, mean that cabins can transition from horizontal transportation to vertical transportation quickly. The Oto’s efficiency in vehicle design and movement would make traffic jams a thing of the past – think ants moving around in freeflow from A to B.
The Oto is still a concept and far away from receiving the “green light”, but it’s design and philosophy is important to keep in mind, especially as cities become more and more condensed as time passes.