Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Rubix is a multipurpose urban car concept shaped like a cube. This electric driverless vehicle aims to change how we view and interact with our car in cities, where space is expensive and limited.
When you're driving a car in an urban environment, you normally can't drive too fast with all the traffic, so reducing the drag coefficient is not as important as increasing functionality. Why would you need an aerodynamic vehicle if you're only using it to carry people and cargo around town at 40 km/h?
With this in mind, I tried to come up with a driverless car concept that would be roomy enough to let you work, transport friends and items, and relax (text, browse the web or watch a movie). I also wanted the Rubix to be able to park inside a condo and serve as an additional room when needed – as an office, TV room, or reading space.
How it works
The Rubix was conceived as a driverless electric vehicle that recharges with induction plates embedded in your concrete floor. You don't even need to connect it – it recharges automatically using a system such as Primove, which transfers energy wirelessly. The Rubix has a boxy shape to optimize interior space.
You could configure it to travel with up to six passengers, use it as a mobile office or even plan a picnic or a one-night urban camping trip with your kids. The Rubix's parking space would be integrated inside your condo or townhouse within a standard 2.4-metre cubic car port. The vehicle would be able to approach your house and signal other driverless cars parked in front of your home to move away from your (micro) driveway while it enters its parking space and self-parks.
This means you could rent your driveway entry to other driverless cars to generate revenue. The other cars would move out of the way automatically on an as-needed basis.
A large sliding door located on the side of the Rubix would open to let you enter your condo. This means you would also have a similar door in your condo that would open simultaneously with the car's encrypted signature (or your cellphone if you are walking and the Rubix is not there). Another option would be for the panoramic windshield to tilt open. In this scenario, the bumper would pivot down to make it easier to walk out of the vehicle.
What it's used for
What is your car used for when it's parked at home? Nothing. It just takes up space and it's of no use. The Rubix concept would change that. You would be able to use your car any time of the day.
For instance, your kids could watch a movie from inside when it's parked at home. You could use it as an office space or a reading room. You are already paying taxes for that space, so why not put it to use? It would also be easier to enter your home directly with the groceries, and it would eliminate the need to shovel snow if you live up north. The idea is also to reduce the size of your garage by 50 per cent and to use the occupied space for something other than just parking.
Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles. Bombardier left BRP in 2006 to work on his own ventures, and in March, 2013 he began to create his own concept vehicles and publish them on his website.