Continental, the tire company, wants to change the way that those who live in city centers get around.
Continental recently unveiled its ‘Bee’ autonomous car, an acronym that stands for Balanced Economy and Ecology. The Bee is a new concept, but the idea behind it is one we’ve heard before. Continental’s vision for the concept is for many of them to occupy a city center, with users summoning them through a smartphone app. The Bees would then talk to each other on the road, picking up riders or cargo whilst working to limit congestion. The vehicles could also be available in different body styles for carrying a different number of passengers or for hauling cargo.
“Driverless vehicles will form the backbone of the transport of people and goods in the ever-expanding metropolitan regions of the future,” said Continental chairman Dr. Elmar Degenhart. “Robot vehicles such as our Bee vehicle should be affordable, enabling mobility for all.”
The electrically-powered concept would travel at a maximum speed of about 37 mph (60 km/h) and have a driving range of about 218 miles (350 km). The front wheels can also turn individually from one another or both rotate horizontally to make the Bee extra maneuverable. The windows would also double as display screens, greeting riders (sort of like the Smart EQ ForTwo’s grille) and letting them know when a passing Bee is booked or occupied.
The Bee is only an imaginary concept for now, but one day you may see it, or a very similar type of vehicle, occupying city centers in large numbers.