The car of the future isn’t just energy efficient or electric—according to MIT scientist Dr. Ryan Chin, it’s also foldable, shared and ultimately, self-driving.
Working with a group at the City Science Initiative at MIT, Dr. Ryan Chin has designed and built the technology for a network of lightweight, electric cars that fold, taking up as little as one-third of a traditional parking spaces. Not only does the CityCar fold, modeled after bike sharing programs, such as Bixi, it’s also intended to be used as a shared vehicle.
“We invented the term mobility on demand and this is our interpretation of mobility on demand,” says Dr. Chin. “This eco-system approach to transportation should provide alternatives to private, gasoline-powered, single occupant traditional driving, which is most of what the developed world does today.”
Now that the CityCar is being assessement for commercialization in Europe and deployment in Berlin, Dr. Chin is working on the next evolution of shared, electric transportation—autonomous, self-driving cars.
“Autonomous, electric and shared—these three pillars actually reinforce one another,” says Dr. Chin, explaining that autonomy will allow for one-way car sharing networks to solve issues of redistribution. “Essentially what we’re trying to do is reduce the traditional number of vehicles on the road. We’re trying to maximize the utilization of the vehicle and the parking spaces, making cities less congested and more efficient at moving people around.”
This technology will be the focus of his keynote speech at the CarSharing Association’s annual conference, which will be held September 16 and 17 at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. He will be joined by speakers Susan Shaheen, the world’s foremost researched on shared mobility, as well as Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Société de transport de Montréal, who was involved in the creation of the longest cycling route in the America.
“We know that technology, city planning and public perception of shared vehicle mobility are all changing quickly. Our speakers are forward-thinking, progressive leaders that have a vision of the future of mobility to share,” says Alan Woodland, Executive Director of the CarSharing Association.