From its adaptive-reuse buildings to its living map of Toronto's waterways, we've been admiring Evergreen Brick Works recently. So we were excited to attend a sneak peek of Move: The Transportation Expo in one of the industrial-chic event spaces at the former brick factory as part of Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities showcase in Toronto this week. One of the more intriguing designs on display at the expo is the aptly named "P.A.T. (People and Things) Prototype" from the Beyond the Car Team, a driverless vehicle proposed to replace the automobile by 2040.
The P.A.T. is an adaptable cube-shaped pod that would hold up to two people. A network of driverless vehicles would communicate with each other and a smart grid, eliminating congestion, providing swift transport of both people and packages. Because the autonomous vehicles will be able to communicate with one another, they’ll be able to avoid collisions, making bulky safety features like crumple zones and airbags, and leaving more space for people and cargo.
Visitors to the Move: The Transportation Expo can sit in a prototype while watching the Toronto streets whiz by them. The seats can be modified in either upright or reclined positions, and they can be lifted to make easier for elderly or disabled people to enter, or lowered to make more space for groceries or other cargo. The system wouldn’t necessarily require people to own a vehicle; instead they could be called upon when needed.
With an average commute time of 80 minutes, Toronto is in desperate need of a transportation fix – and to make matters worse, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is expected to grow from its current size of about 6 million people to more than 9 million people by 2040. With that in mind, the Toronto-based Institute Without Boundaries hosted a sustainable transportation charrette last November with the aim of relieving congestion and reducing the city’s reliance on fossil fuels. Dozens of other forward-thinking transit concepts will be on display at Move: The Transportation Expo, which opens to the public on Saturday, June 30.
Photos by Mark Andrew Boyer for Inhabitat