Rinspeed, a Swiss corporation founded by Frank M. Rinderknecht in 1977, has long been known to the motoring world as a center of creative ideas. In March, 2013, Rinspeed will introduce its latest concept, the microMAX. What is it? Well, it’s a personal transportation device – sort of like a bus, somewhat like a taxi and similar to a personal subway car. In other words, it’s a box on wheels from people who think outside the box. And it may be how we move around urban environments in the future. Cute, isn’t it?
Most of us think of public transportation as crowded, dirty and smelly. And inconvenient. Waiting in the rain for a bus is not fun. But what if a fleet of vehicles like the microMAX roamed your city? What if you could summon one using your smart phone? What if it arrived when you needed it and took you exactly where you wanted to go? And what if you didn’t have to share it with a couple hundred of your closest friends? That would be pretty sweet, wouldn’t it?
The microMAX is a people mover. It provides room for three adults plus children and strollers. It has a refrigerator and a coffee maker. An electric motor and battery pack make it environmentally friendly. But it has one thing we really don’t need – a driver. The next revolution in transportation will be “smart” cars that find there way around electronically without human intervention. Like an elevator on wheels.
The microMAX isn’t intended to take you over the river and through the woods to your grandmother’s house. It’s just supposed to get you into the city from the airport or from home to work, so it only needs to be aware of a fairly small geographical area. California has recently adopted legislation that permits driverless cars on some roads and other states are not far behind.
Perhaps the folks at Rinspeed need to think a little further outside the box. Make the microMAX driverless and we might actually have a transportation revolution on our hands!