2009 Zagato People Mover.
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At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Zagato, the Italian Total Design Center, responsible for aerodynamic collectibles cars like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati and Spyker, unveiled a futuristic model of an automated people mover vehicle, for Masdar City.
Developed by 2getthere, a Dutch firm specialising in “systems”, the podcar is an electric vehicle that will act as an automated taxi to serve pre-coordinated stops and will be used to transport students at the campus of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the first phase in development of Masdar City.
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s carbon-free eco-city, intends to produce seven per cent of its electricity through renewable sources by 2020.
The collaboration of Zagato with eco-efficient transport firms started almost 40 years ago as a response to the oil crisis with “Milanina”, for the 1972 Milan fair, and “Zele”, (launched in USA).
The driverless Zagato-designed podcar operates on lithium-ion batteries, expected to power more than three hours of drive time before needing to be recharged for an hour. The vehicle seats four or six passengers who need only to punch in the destination desired on a console inside the cabin, the car will do the rest.
To avoid collisions – the car will travel at 40kph along straight paths, and 25kph when turning – sensors in the front of the cars will help it slow down or stop if it detects anything as far as 10 meters ahead.
The personal rapid transit (PRT) car will count the number of wheel revolutions and note the angle of the wheel to calculate its position. Magnets, implanted in the surface of the dedicated roads for the PRT, will also play a major role by acting as markers to keep the cars on path.
The design of the podcar gives the passengers a feeling of indoor space, in harmony with the external environment. The basic construction is functional and conventional, the vehicles run on rubber tires and has a simple tubular chassis. The model showcased at the Summit was a “VIP” model with leather seats instead of a more conventional fabric.
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