Driverless car sharing concept focuses on digital comfort

March 07, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A glimpse to future urban individual mobility provides a prototype of a vehicle designed by engineering company MBtech. Link & Go 2.0, as the prototype was named, has been showcased at the Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle has no steering wheel anymore. Instead, it offers all conceivable digital whistles and bells.

Designed for urban scenarios and inspired by the concepts of car pooling and car sharing, Link & Go 2.0 is actually more a taxi than a means of individual mobility as we know it. But the definitions of individual and collective mobility are blurring anyway. The operating concept of Link & Go 2.0 makes them almost disappear: The car can be ordered via smartphone (across its Facebook site) and then drives automatically to the customer to pick him up. Having transported the passenger to his destination, experience-based algorithms make vehicle to head for places where the statistic likelihood to pick up another passenger is the highest.

The vehicle is designed for automated driving - no manual driving mode is provided, it does not even has a steering wheel. Instead, it is equipped with a touch panel where the user can express its desires with regards to destination, driving style or stopovers through gestures. The electronic chauffeur has a range of sensors at its disposal, including 360° laser scanners and cameras to steer safely even through pedestrian precinct, says MBTech, by the way a joint subsidiary of carmaker Daimler and French engineering company AKKA Technologies.

Of course such a vehicle is driven electrically - a hub drive is integrated into all four wheels, and all four wheels are steerable for better manoeuvrability. While the user is completely unburdened from the task of driving, he (or she) can make use of the extensive connectivity the vehicle provides - Link & Go 2.0 enables them to address themselves to surfing in the internet, watch videos on built-in screens or reading and writing mails. The lithium-ion batteries provide a range of some 200 km, and as soon as the vehicle notices that its batteries have to be recharged, it autonomously heads for the charging station.