Italdesign brought a unique modular design to the CES in Las Vegas. Their Climb-E is an autonomous transport platform in form of an electric shuttle. The basic cabin has space for four passengers, but Italdesign has taken this much further.
Since the passenger compartment of the modular concept can be detached from the electric drive and platform, and the shuttle transformed into a dentist’s office, a living room or a restaurant, to name a few examples. Apart from private use, Italdesign envisions the Climb-E to “guarantee different services straight to people’s doors,” including medical, veterinary or hospitality services; again, the list may be continued at will.
Of course, the multitude of uses and envisioned mobility require new infrastructures. That is where the collaboration between Italdesign, lift manufacturer Schindler and the Polytechnic University of Turin (Politecnico di Torino) comes into play. The idea: future buildings could be designed to integrate the Climb-E as a built-in component, using lifts and elevators to move the modules as required. The designers foretell further project developments could lead to adapting the concept to historical buildings and architectural heritage – a must in Italy.
As for now, the Climb-E’s cabin attaches to a fully electric platform called “the skid”, allowing it to move around autonomously.
The approach to separating the cabin from the driving platform is, of course, not entirely new and something Mercedes explored in the Vision Urbanetic at the CES in 2019. There is also the Rinspeed Snap concept developed in 2018 that keeps being reiterated.
Remarkably, however, Italdesign wants the skid to be shared rather than owned, allowing storage in underground containers or disused spaces around town. Technologically the platform builds on four-wheel steering and AWD while integrating the electric motors inside the wheels.
Italdesign wants the Climb-E to have a range of 200 miles (322 km) and charge to 80% in 15 minutes through inductive chargers. For longer journeys, Italdesign imagines different kinds of carriers.
Outside, the design is symmetrical, with the lower body being made of composite material and the upper part has large glass areas that can be blacked out for privacy.
Inside, Italdesign sees configurable sofas, tables, storage compartments, and displays for multimedia content. The infotainment is completed with dimmable ambient lighting and climate control, all operated via touchscreens or voice control. For the upholstery, Italdesign chose eco-leather, recycled polyester, and Alcantara.
The press statement closes with a note – “the Climb-E is purely a design study as part of the research for innovative mobility solutions, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility of some of its features being potentially used in future production vehicles”. We’d like to see that – especially since other shuttles on show at the CES aim at becoming a reality in daily life, like the Holon Mover or the latest e-shuttle by ZF.
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