Architecture firm Oiio has proposed a radical new form of transport for Los Angeles, which would see bubble-like cabins passed around on wheel bases that could follow roads and climb up buildings.
The Oto concept was created for the Automobility Designer/Developer Challenge 2017 at this year’s LA Auto Show, which asked participants to envision a future transportation method for the notoriously congested city.
Oiio identified that private vehicles include an engine, a cabin and a trunk, and that these elements cannot be used individually.
“The biggest disadvantage of the privately-owned car is the fact that it uses too many resources for too little effect,” said the New York-based studio. “When one or two persons are transported by car they utilize successfully the engine and two of the seats, but the remaining seats as well as the trunk, constitute wasted resources for that specific transportation period.”
Instead, they suggested that the car could be broken down into three separate components, and that people could just own a cabin.
This transparent pod would mount onto a powered, wheeled base only when necessary, to shuttle its user to their desired destination. Bases and cabins would be interchangeable.
“It is possible that, in the future, LA people would be able to own only the cabin and, through AI centrally controlled circulation, they could create a temporary assembly-unit, an ephemeral design, which would serve their ‘exact’ needs on demand,” said Oiio.
As well as horizontal transportation, the pods could also affix to track systems on the side, lifting them up the faces of buildings.
Oiio believes that combining auto-mobility and architecture would result in more efficiency and less waste – both in terms of space and resources – for the city.
“Los Angeles would then be able to invite its people and visitors to streets liberated from the old overflow of vehicles and ready to accommodate their ‘exact’ needs, no more, no less,” the studio said.
Ideas about car ownership have changed dramatically since the rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, but Oiio’s proposal takes this a leap further. Uber also has grand plans for the future, including a recently announced partnership with NASA that could seeing flying electric taxis in LA from 2020.
Oto was one of five finalists in the competition, and was presented during the event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which took place from 30 November to 9 December 2017.
Among Oiio’s other fantastical visions are a conceptual skyscraper for Manhattan that loops over to boast length rather than height, and an plan to extend Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Guggenheim Museum by extending its spiralling form up into the sky.