Remember the pre-2020 days? We’ll allow you a moment to cast your mind back to the halcyon days of hugging, clubbing, traveling, and not barricading yourself in the house for two weeks at the merest hint of a sore throat.
You there? Good. Well, remember how we were frequently told we’d all soon be ousted out of our cars and into shared mobility pod thingies to save the planet? According to Coventry University, it’s back on, even in a pandemic-afflicted world.
The vehicle you see above is the work of Professor Paul Herriotts, who has reimagined the shared-mobility pod thingy in light of...well, you know, 2020.
“It’s only very recently that the future of transport seemed to be moving from personal transport to shared mobility,” says Professor Herriotts, “whether delivered by a scooter or cycle scheme, or more futuristically by autonomous pods providing an on-demand service.
“But the world is now in a very different place, and what recently seemed an appealing vision of the future now seems less attractive with our COVID-19 awareness.”
Which is where his COVID-proof design steps in. Inside the cabin, there’s no stitching on the seats, to make them easier to clean, while the handrails are made of copper—which has antiviral properties—to make them safer to use by multiple passengers.
An indicator on the outside of the vehicle displays how clean the cabin is, and if they’re on green, the doors open touch-free as you approach. The interior, too, is kept clean via UV light treatment in between journeys—cleaning that calls on micro-robots rather than humans, for extra safety.
And yes, we’re now at a point where ‘micro-robots’ is a phrase used to instill comfort, not fear. Quite a year we’re having, huh?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.