The fundamental purpose of mobility is to 'move'. Mobility advances while thinking about how to reach the destination more efficiently. What about mobility in the future when autonomous driving will become commonplace? The mobility of the future is just one of the means of transportation. But the fact that humans no longer have to directly intervene in driving is evolving mobility in an interesting direction. Now that we have found the answer to efficient movement in autonomous driving, it is time to think about 'Why are you moving?' and 'What will you do while moving?'. People are looking at mobility as a new smart device that can be moved, not just a means of transportation. The concept that emerged in relation to the usability of mobility is 'Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV)'. In Part 2 of Mobility Trend, we will look at PBV, which will become the new vehicle for Megacity.
People have been constantly discussing the use of mobility in the era of autonomous driving. At the CES in 2020, Hyundai Motor Company actively used the concept of PBV and demonstrated the form of mobility in the era of autonomous driving. PBV, literally, is mobility that supports a variety of services necessary to lead our lives in the city center. PBV not only provides transportation services like current public transportation, but also provides various services such as relaxation, logistics, commerce, and medical care. It will be easy to understand if you imagine a moving convenience store or moving office.
The core elements of PBV are autonomous driving and an 'EV-dedicated platform'. In particular, the 'EV-dedicated platform' is also a field where global automobile companies are focusing on R&D in line with the recent trend of mobility electrification. The EV-dedicated platform does not take up much space and has the advantage of being able to configure the vehicle body differently depending on the application. This is because it efficiently deploys and uses the power devices required for driving.
Hyundai Motor Company proposed a method of utilizing a dedicated platform through the PBV concept'S-Link', which was unveiled at CES in 2020. It is designed to secure space by adopting a skateboard structure with a wide battery underneath it and to be able to use it freely according to the purpose.
Inspired by San Francisco's cable car, Hyundai Motor Company has designed the S-Link and stated that it is mobility that provides personalized services by applying three core values: the symbol of the city, the space for mobile living, and the crowd driving.
Automobile manufacturers other than Hyundai Motor Company such as Mercedes-Benz and Toyota introduced the PBV concept using an electric vehicle platform. Benz’s “Vision URBANETIC” mobility concept is built on a self-driving electric vehicle platform that allows the vehicle to be replaced and installed in different types. Toyota's 'e-Palette' is also a PBV concept that can be applied according to the purpose of the vehicle body structure using its own platform. Also, in recent years, many companies are developing vehicles specialized for various mobility businesses; BYD's D1 for ride-hailing service in DiDi Chuxing, China, or Rivian's EV VAN for urban delivery service in Amazon, USA, are good examples.
So, how will PBV be used in real life? PBV is basically used by a variety of people. However, it is expected to provide a demand-responsive on-demand service rather than circulating a specific route like today's public transportation. It decides the route according to the demand of the passengers and moves to the optimized route through the autonomous driving system.
In addition, it is expected to be utilized as a moving living and resting space, a mobile warehouse, and mobility for distribution and delivery by utilizing a large space. It can also be a mobile hospital that provides medical services to patients who are difficult to move. Mobile restaurants, developed from food trucks on the streets, may also appear.
The versatility of PBVs that adapts to the application is based on a modular system. For example, the lower part of Hyundai's S-Link can be extended to 4-6 meters using a dedicated platform, and the upper part can be assembled according to the purpose using modular parts. In addition, PBVs can be designed to suit individual needs.
PBVs can move freely within the city center. This also means that PBVs with the same purpose can be gathered in one place and new space can be created. For example, when PBVs that provide medical services are gathered in one place, it becomes a general hospital, and when PBVs that provide food services are gathered, it becomes a huge restaurant town. PBVs have the potential to change not only the landscape on the roads of the future but also the appearance of cities.
The S-Hub that Hyundai Motor Company unveiled with the PBV concept S-Link shows how PBVs can transform cities. S-Hub is a building with two basement and first floors, and an urban air mobility takeoff and landing area on the rooftop. The heart of this building is a multipurpose community space on the ground floor that can be connected to a PBV. Depending on which PBV it is combined with, the usage of the hub such as terminals, shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, etc. also changes. Spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes will be built throughout the city center, depending on the needs.
Mobility goes deep into our daily lives. There is already mobility around us that provides more than just transportation. A camping car that allows you to enjoy your stay in a beautiful place, a food truck that sells food, and an emergency vehicle that can transport patients and even provide first aid are a kind of purpose-based mobility. PBVs envisioned by global automakers including Hyundai Motor Company are not new to the existing mobility. However, it is clear that it will make our lives richer and more prosperous than now by breaking down the constraints of time and space.
* In the following [Mobility Trend Vol. 3], let's look at urban air mobility (UAM) connecting cities.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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