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Are self-driving cars the future of public transportation?

Last updated 2/09/2022 - Originally published 9/28/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Today’s self-driving cars are just that — cars as we currently know them, but with the added capability of autonomous or semi autonomous navigation. But Italian engineer and industrial designer, Tommaso Gecchelin, has a different self-driving car in mind.

It doesn’t look anything like a car, and it can link up with other units to create modular bus-like things of any length. Imagine an individual pod picking you up from your house, swinging by a nearby neighbor you used to carpool with, and then attaching to a long chain of units all bound for the same general area.

People can move from one pod to another while they’re in motion, and then the chain of units starts to separate as individual pods fling people toward their final destination. Pod transportation could be the future of public transportation.

Honestly, I think the biggest sticking point I have with this whole thing is the word “car”. If these autonomous pods one day replace city buses, I’m fine with that. But as far as I’m concerned, these will never replace my car.

There’s an inherently emotional aspect to driving. Feeling the massive machine thrust forward and lean from side to side in response to your direct input can be an absolute thrill, and I’m not about to give that up to a sanitized, safe but snooze-worthy glass pod that I have to share with other people.

I can see this being popular in super-dense cities where car ownership is already uncommon, but for the rest of America? I’m not so sure.

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