GAC Van Life autonomously navigates using stars + has versatile interiors for adventure seeker’s needs

Are adventure trips and camping always at the back of your mind? Then Chinese automaker, GAC Design has got you covered with its latest vehicle concept revealed at the 2023 Milan Design Week, Italy. The inspiration for this camper vehicle comes from the lingering need for a long-journey commuter which is a viable alternative to airplanes.

The four-wheeled off-roader as a part of the GAC Car Culture Series is built for extended journeys and with its zero-emission credentials gets brownie points for the health of Earth too. This boxy vehicle called Van Life, is true to its namesake and resembles an expedition vehicle destined for Mars, but for now, we stick to its utility for the planet we call home.

Designer: GAC Design

The electric concept is proposed to have a low carbon footprint since it’s crafted from lightweight materials salvaged from recycled materials including plastic, aluminum and carbon fiber. Being low on weight means, the vehicle has a far better range than any other concept vehicle destined for a real-life version. Even the solid-state battery, that’s safer and longer-lasting compared to current generation ones – is made from environmentally friendly materials.

According to Stéphane Janin, Director of GAC Advanced Design Milan, “This concept car highlights what is great about being able to go wherever you want to. We believe that cars are not just objects that move people from A to B, but also machines that create good memories.”

The all-electric Van Life has symmetrical proportions for a balanced stance – while riding tough terrains like mud, sand or rocks – aided by its massive treaded wheels with retractable flaps for superior traction control and high ground clearance. It can also move forward in autonomous mode with the four LiDAR sensors doing all the fancy work of analyzing what lies ahead. The EV uses a state-of-the-art GPS navigation system and in places where there’s no connectivity, the intelligent system uses the position of the stars to navigate accurately.

On the inside is where the undeniable USP of Van Life is evident. There are two seats and the rear has space for storing camping essentials. The benches can be folded out and slid out of the vehicle to enjoy the outdoors and extend the living area even further. Restful sleep during the night is also guaranteed with a modular arrangement that makes maximum use of space.

Then there is the orbital frame that embodies most of the interior and is used for attaching or detaching necessary items at will. Anything from a bag or smartphone to a tray or hammock. The sun’s energy-absorbing orbital frame doubles as a power source for juicing up electrical systems or onboard gadgets. Although the side windows are a bit claustrophobic, the panoramic sunroof makes up for it.

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Autonomous stealth fighter-inspired bike is meant for high-profile war combat

Future battles are going to be fought between robotic armored machines that’ll have no limit on the number of limbs, physical limitations, or firepower capabilities. A huge chunk of that AI-dominated battlefield will be dotted by vehicles never seen before.

Although I’m not trying to create a plot for sci-fi movies, more or less, things will be radically different in future wars than we have. Not a soul will be lost, unless AI develops a consciousness of its own!

Designer: Fang E

This bike of the future carrying a resonant Batmobile vibe is not meant for the Gotham vigilante, but for modern warfare in a dystopian world. Dubbed the Motorcycle Drone, this mean machine scouts for hidden threats in hostile military spaces or restoring order with sensible policing in volatile cities. The vehicle has a reinforced armored shell for the roughest situations, and the options to increase weaponry arsenal or enhance battery power when needed.

Motorcycle Drone will be fully autonomous and AI-enabled for completing high-profile tasks comprehensively. One huge advantage of such a machine is the ability to persist in war missions or city patrolling needs 24×7 without any possible human error. While the matte black two-wheeled machine seems to have a connection to Batman of the future, the similarities end there. This bike is designed for a future dominated by robots, cyborgs, drones and of course super intelligent AI that could have a consciousness of its own.

The bike’s side wings can contract into the frame or open based on the driving conditions and speed. A drag reduction configuration conceals the sideburns to cut through the dense airflow. For low-speed drives, the wings can again pop out for better balance. Motorcycle Drone should be propelled by an electric drivetrain and have a stealth presence for covert missions. The edgy design dominantly leaning towards the back suggests the machine is built for hardcore tasks only.

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Autonomous Fruit-Picking Drones: Harvesting the Future

Developed by Tevel Aerobotics, the Flying Autonomous Robot harvester is a collection of tethered drones that can pick ripe fruit from trees. The robots can analyze a piece of fruit for color and ripeness before picking it with its suction arm, being able to identify fruit from leaves or other objects. That’s good because the last thing you want is your fruit-harvesting robots to come back with a bunch of squirrels instead of apples.

The robots have already successfully been used to harvest peaches, apples, nectarines, and plums, with California-based HMC Farms, which is pleased with the results. According to HMS vice president Drew Ketelsen, “The years of work we’ve put into cultivating high-density orchards are paying off as we implement technology like Flying Autonomous Robot harvesting. This project is still in an early stage, but the future potential is very exciting.” Exciting being relative to just how thrilling you find robotic fruit harvesting to begin with, of course.

First, harvesting fruit to power the humans; next, harvesting humans to power the Matrix. It’s only a matter of time. And I don’t want to be here when it happens, just for the record. And it will happen. I’ve read a lot of robot fan fiction, and 9 out of 10 ends poorly for us fleshbags.

[via TechEBlog]

Meet DEX, an autonomous quadruped cargo robot that can navigate factories in the future

It’s like Boston Dynamics’ robot dog… but with the actual ability to ‘fetch’ cargo within factories and warehouses!

Named DEX for its Dual EXtendable legs (as well as a play on the word dexterity), this purpose-built robot from Schaeffler is a champion of mobility, with jointed legs as well as wheels that allow it to move across flat or uneven surfaces, work up and down ramps, and even climb stairs to get to different parts of a factory floor. Equipped with a flat platform on top and a host of sensors immediately beneath it, DEX can autonomously move around, carrying cargo from point A to B while easily avoiding obstacles that may come in its way.

Designer: Schaeffler (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Best described as an AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot), DEX works in conjunction with human workers, aiding them and understanding their needs and requirements to improve efficiency. Through its unique design that can autonomously navigate a wide variety of surfaces, DEX “reimagines the dexterity and intelligence of collaborative robots”.

“DEX has a seamless way of understanding both non-verbal and verbal communication”, say the designers at Schaeffer. “With other robots, they work collectively to reduce the strain on workers. DEX can also be controlled using hand gestures and voice commands, thereby reducing the complexity of interacting with robots.”

While autonomous robots have been around for years now (in warehouses, if not the streets), what makes DEX so incredibly innovative is its format. Sure, anyone can attach sensors to a forklift truck, but DEX’s ability to conquer terrains, maneuver tight spaces, and also avoid obstacles with great reflexes is something not every AMR can boast of.

DEX does this through its uniquely designed bi-directional extendable legs that allow the robot to move up and down and even forward and backward. 4 sets of 360° wheels give it even more maneuverability with multiple degrees of freedom, along with the ability to move smoothly and rapidly across flat surfaces. When DEX encounters slopes, terrain, or stairs, the wheels take the proverbial back seat and the 4 legs kick into action, making it go from a rolling robot to a walking one. All throughout its use, a ring of lights around it synchronizes with the robot’s movement, communicating intention clearly to ensure seamless human/robot collaboration.

The DEX is a Best of Best winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2022.

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This omnidirectional robot capable of ferrying 150 kg load is made for autonomous home deliveries

While Alibaba’s Xiaomanlv robots have delivered more than a million parcels and the Amazon Proteus warehouse robots for fulfillment centers, the scope for streamlining e-commerce packages is hugely unexplored. The smooth movement of logistics plays a pivotal role and the automated robotics involvement can be of huge advantage when we talk of huge volumes.

Into the picture comes the AgileX Robotics RANGER which is an unmanned platform for the movement of logistics under the roof or even deliveries in not-so-ideal terrain outside. According to the makers, the electric-powered rig will be useful for inspection, agriculture, security and energy sectors. So, the intent here is to make RANGER capable of most industrial applications and carry loads weighing up to 150 kg anywhere in the city or suburbs.

Designer: AgileX

The omnidirectional navigation robot propelled by a 48V brushless geared hub motor fed by the 600W*4 battery gets a 560 mm track and an 890 mm wheelbase capable of orienting in any direction. Mind you, the platform robot can go at a top speed of 2.6m/s which is impressive. Add to that the IP5 water resistance, and the RANGER can tread any terrain with ease. So, we can add autonomous home deliveries also to the equation.

AgileX Robotics has tested the four-wheeled autonomous robot in a diverse set of conditions – for example, hilly roads, gravel paths, and even stairs. In the prototype test runs, the RANGER easily took on slopes of 10 degrees and 10 cm high obstacles.

The flatbed platform EV has a very good prospect of turning into a widely used commercial robot for a wide array of applications in the industrial avenues as well as routine applications. How it will be priced is ultimately going to determine the adaption in B2B models.

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This reconfigurable travel pod is your personal lounge, reading nook or even a gym

We are slowly inching towards a future where smart mobility dominated by social spaces will be the hot trend. Of course, autonomous driving is going to be the ruler all along, since you as a rider get some me time to unwind after a long day at work.

Just imagine sipping coffee with close buddies on a mobile café, reading your favorite novel while heading to your parent’s place, or even working out in a mobile gym to make the most of your spare time while in commute back from the office.

Designer: Jin Jin

The PIX Robobus moving pod for urban mobility is a prototype resulting from the deep desire to have moving zen-like interiors suited for the mood. All this while commuting with 4-5 other fellow passengers. The idea of the designers is to have a broad network of PIX Robobus fleet that makes connected city commuting feasible. This is why the ultra-agile four-wheeler is tailored for urban commuting – specifically for 3-5 kilometers of travel, making it the perfect shared mobility solution for sightseeing, industrial parks, university campuses or airports.

It’s not just about transporting people from point A to point B, but rather a moving environment for individuals to enjoy daily adventures of life. The Robobus doesn’t isolate the riders from the outside world – as in, they can enjoy the outside views. It’s more about “Intelligent Mobility”, according to the designers. There are two rows of seats on each side in one configuration with elements incorporated to bring an airy feel to the interiors.

The platform that the moving pod sits on is designed in a way to leave maximum space for riders to use and the in-wheel motors further assist in this build. These wheels can move individually for tight city commuting or parking in tight spots.  There’s a skateboard-like chassis that makes the wheelbase and wheeltrack reconfigurable. Thus, the pod can also be assembled together to have more platform space, for it to be used as a lounge area, gaming space, or a makeshift motel. That’s if someone wants to buy it for personal use. The possibilities are limitless.

PIX Robobus will have an estimated range of 70-100 km on a single charge and speeds anywhere between 15-30 km/h. So, we can expect a very deep-rooted network of Robobus pods in passenger transport configuration, dotting the metropolis of the future.

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Tiny Drone Swarm Navigates Bamboo Forest Autonomously

Because the robotic apocalypse can’t come soon enough for some people, researchers at China’s Zhejiang University have programmed a swarm of small drones to navigate autonomously to avoid obstacles. In this case, those obstacles are the entirety of a bamboo forest. It’s been real, folks, but there is officially nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

All of the ten-drone army “are equipped with depth cameras, altitude sensors and a small computer, all running a custom algorithm for collision avoidance, coordination, and flight efficiency.” Wow, so not only are they flying around, not crashing into things, but they’re doing it efficiently. The future, ladies and gentlemen! Humanity doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in the devil’s butt.

The drones were allegedly developed to be utilized for aerial mapping applications, as well as conservation and disaster relief. Maybe they originally were, but all that goes out the window when they become sentient and decide the only disaster that needs relief is the planet wiped clean of humans. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rocket to the moon to build.

[via TechEBlog]

GOGO Ride Sharing System for Chicago lets you choose other passengers

The future of an autonomous world may be possible with inventions, innovations, and ideas like this. The GOGO Ride Sharing is a concept that is designed especially for the commuters of Chicago. However, if this becomes a success, it can also be implemented in other states and even countries.

The designer’s idea may be four years old, but it can still be used, especially during this pandemic. This actually reminds us of the Ford Clint Autonomous Vehicle Interior. This time, we see an autonomous ride-sharing service that includes an app and a modular interior for future vehicles.

Designer: Conner Stormer

GOGO Ride Sharing Details

GOGO Ride Sharing System Concept

The system requires users to use and access the Gogo app. Your frequented locations are saved automatically within the app. This allows easier access for faster use during future rides.

Within the GOGO app, you can also view the places of your friends, family, and other contacts. In addition, you can check out new connections by linking with other social networks. The more contacts and connections, the more the app can remember and provide information that you need.

GOGO Ride Sharing Information

GOGO Ride Sharing Concept

The app lets you customize passenger preferences. For example, riders can control and check who they will be paired up with. Usually, like most ride-sharing apps, Gogo connects riders that travel similar routes. Users can also select to add passengers as potential ride buddies. You can set your profile to private if you want more privacy and security.

The modular interior also allows a more customizable commuting experience. It comes with a monitor table that can hold up to the wall when you don’t need it, allowing riders to sit back and relax simply. The interior system also provides the commuters peace of mind as their stuff is secured and safe.

GOGO Ride Sharing System

There are individual rail-mounted seats that slide together. The system creates a shared space for pairs or a group of four. For easier identification of one’s seat, there’s LED lighting in the seat landing on floor panels.

GOGO Ride Sharing Designers

The GOGO Ride Sharing Serving is ideal for a night out with your friends or business meetings on the go. The modular interior allows riders to configure the seats, while the mobile app will enable you to choose if you want to share the ride with another passenger or more. Ridesharing actually has benefits including the freedom to be entertained on your own (play games, surf the web, watch a TV show), meet new people, be productive by preparing for work or catching up on the news, and efficiency. Ridesharing is also good for the environment, your expenses, and traffic.

GOGO Ride Sharing Concept

GOGO Ride Sharing System Concept

Concept GOGO Ride Sharing Design

GOGO Ride Sharing Designers

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Polestar Passion-Sharer car concept can display any sky in its cramped cabin

There are plenty of visions and concepts of self-driving cars in the distant future. Some of them retain the conventional seating arrangement inside, just without the steering wheel and with plenty of touch screens. Others turn all seats inward, inviting conversations and social connections while the robot inside the car safely takes you to your destination. There might be times, however, when you just want to sit back and relax, enjoying the skies while coasting the future’s highways. In that future, you might not even have to be limited to your own location and gaze upon the starry skies of Tokyo on your way to work in New York.

Designer: Xiqiao Wang

The majority of futuristic car concepts seem to be content with decking the dashboard and windows with screens, some of them interactive even. These utilize almost all visible sides of the car’s interior to maximize the number of things people can see and touch. Strangely enough, all these visions leave out the roof of the cabin plain and boring, almost like they were stuck in the 2000s, a limitation that this Passion-Sharer self-driving car wants to break free from.

Although mostly inspired by Polestar’s Precept in terms of the basic aesthetic, this concept almost takes the language to the extreme and squashes the car almost to a box. The Passion-Sharer has sharper lines and edges than a typical car, and its lowered cabin makes you wonder if there’s even space for human passengers.

The secret is that the seats are actually reclined so far back that they’re almost horizontal, an angle that is more associated with sleeping rather than riding a car. This odd position is all for the purpose of having a clear view of the tinted roof that acts as the only literal window to the outside world. Most of the time, however, the Passion-Sharer’s passengers will be viewing someone else’s sky, or at least that’s the idea.

The “sky screen,” as it is called, can display real-time views of another Passion-Sharer owner’s sky, which would make it feel like they’re sharing the same sky. That does require that there are other car owners in transit during that time, though it’s entirely possible to simply have recorded footage for convenience. Of course, that touch screen interface can be used for other purposes, and it might be the only interface available in this car anyway.

To some extent, this Polestar-inspired Passion-Sharer carries a lot more safety risks than other self-driving car concepts. Given the inclined seats and lack of other direct controls, it would be almost impossible for humans to intervene in case of an emergency. It is a concept that requires autonomous driving technologies to be perfected before people can peacefully enjoy a serene sky without minding the heavy traffic in front of them.

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