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Bombardier Aladdin prototype

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 concept

The Aladdin is a transmodal transit system designed to transport existing (combustion) vehicles on driverless platforms across urban zones that are 100-per-cent electric. Commuter buses could use the Aladdin system to cross rivers and ride across downtown areas where only electric vehicles are allowed.

The background

Many cities are juggling the idea of adopting stricter rules regarding pollution and noise, and congestion on highways and bridges is always a top item on city agendas. There are several possible approaches to address these problems, and the Aladdin transmodal system is one of them.

One benefit would be the flexibility associated with using existing vehicles (buses, taxis, cars, and small trucks) during a transition period from combustion engines to electric motors. It would also save time spent on switching passengers or cargo from one type of vehicle to the next.

The disadvantage is the cost of the system and the space it would occupy. However, a full transition to electric will probably take decades given the current capacities of batteries. We will probably still need wireless electricity to charge our vehicles on the go.

How it works

The Aladdin is first and foremost an infrastructure that recharges vehicles by induction. This infrastructure could be used by electric vehicles and by automated Aladdin platforms. These platforms would be equipped with two to four in-wheel motors and a computerized vehicle control system.

Vehicles would embark on the Aladdin platforms through transmodal stations spread out across the city. These stations could vary in size. The Aladdin platforms would also be able to pick up vehicles directly on any city street without using any infrastructure. Once loaded with a vehicle, the Aladdin would use its dedicated ramps to go to the destination requested by the user. Access to the system, payment, and desired destination would be completed via smartphone.

What it's used for

The driverless Aladdin platforms could be used to carry people, cargo, cars, buses, and small trucks inside city districts with zero noise and zero pollution regulations. They could also bridge the gap during a transition period where conventional vehicles are still equipped with combustion engines, and another where all vehicles are equipped with clean and quiet modes of propulsion.

The designer

I would like to thank Ray Mattison from Design Eye-Q who created the renderings of the Aladdin concept. Mattison is based near Duluth, Minn. He studied at the College for Creative Studies, and he has worked for Cirrus Aircraft and Exodus Machines. He also created the images of the Argentic Ground Effect aircraft.

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.

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