Design Concept of the Day: Ideo Work On Wheels

January 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

workonwheelsDesign firm Ideo has come up with three visions for the future of automobility. There’s Slow Becomes Fast – commutes aided by smart-nav tech, autonomous vehicles and driverless capabilities enabling people to work whilst in transit; 21st Century Mule – autonomous on-demand and just-in-time delivery vehicles (arguably the most useful) working off-peak to avoid congestion and going to requested drop-off points; and Inverse Commute, whereby ‘work on wheels’ office-spaces (pictured) go to where they’re needed, with further services coming to meet them, often in under-utilised areas. Not terribly convinced by the latter – my hot-desk in a shared office (repurposed industrial space) a few minutes walk away is working well for me, thanks – but there’s certainly merits in the ideas of flexibility and moving away from the conventional trip to a fixed office location. More at, anyway.¬† And all the concepts are electromobility-friendly, with inductive off-peak smart-charging and suchlike, of course.

  • On a less fanciful note, EU biofuels policy is having a “butterfly effect” and harming the environment, according to this new report (via Transport and Environment, a collaborator on it): deforestation and spiking of global food prices are cited as knock-on effects, with more detail on associated increases in carbon emissions, land-grabbing and analysis of the policies in place for the past decade.
  • A nice example of user innovation from the EV community: tech-savvy contributors to the active SpeakEV forum have been developing and testing an app called ChargeBump, to enable drivers to contact and negotiate with each other over use of public charging points. A “bump”, it appears, is when you ask someone plugged in and sufficiently topped-up if they can move their car on to let you use the point.
  • Germany is attempting to standardise EV-charging by mandating the CCS system: there are Betamax-vs-VHS arguments emerging as to whether this is the way forward, or a dead-end with lock-in to an inferior technology… More at Transport Evolved.
  • And some parochial news: Brighton & Hove has instigated its first low-emissions zone. The LEZ covers a city-centre area area (already with restrictions to passenger-car traffic) and requires buses entering the area to comply with Euro V emissions standards. Operators are updating their fleets or retro-fitting exhaust catalyst tech, with NO2 the focus. Taxis are exempt as yet but drivers have been asked to quit idling when waiting at the station rank. The LEZ comes after real-life air quality monitoring research by Ricardo, which differentiated between NO and NO2 emissions and looked at the impact of traffic flow, frequent stop-starting and uphill acceleration; more detail on this in the Q3 2014 issue of rQ.

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