Italdesign showcased an innovative modular design at CES in Las Vegas, called the Climb-E. It is an autonomous transport platform in the form of an electric shuttle, with a basic cabin that can accommodate four passengers.
However, the design is highly versatile, as the passenger compartment of the shuttle can be detached from the electric drive and platform and transformed into a variety of different spaces, such as a dentist’s office, living room or restaurant.
Italdesign envisions that the Climb-E could be used for a wide range of services, such as medical, veterinary or hospitality services, and be delivered “straight to people’s doors.” To realize this vision, Italdesign is collaborating with lift manufacturer Schindler and the Polytechnic University of Turin to design future buildings that can integrate the Climb-E as a built-in component, using lifts and elevators to move the modules as required. The design team also plans to explore ways to adapt the concept to historical buildings and architectural heritage, particularly in Italy.
The Climb-E from Italdesign is an autonomous transport platform featuring a fully electric platform called “the skid”, which the passenger compartment or cabin attaches to, allowing it to move around autonomously.
The approach of separating the cabin from the driving platform is not entirely new, as it is similar to what Mercedes explored with the Vision Urbanetic at the CES in 2019, and Rinspeed Snap concept that have been developed in 2018.
What sets Italdesign’s design apart is its plan for the skid to be shared rather than owned, allowing for storage in underground containers or disused spaces around the city. The Climb-E’s skid is powered by four-wheel steering and AWD, with electric motors integrated inside the wheels. It is designed to have a range of 200 miles (322km) and can charge to 80% within 15 minutes via inductive chargers. Additionally, Italdesign imagines different kinds of carriers for longer journeys.
The exterior of the Climb-E features a symmetrical design, with the lower body made of composite materials and the upper part has large glass areas that can be blacked out for privacy.
The interior is designed to be highly configurable, with sofas, tables, storage compartments, and displays for multimedia content. The infotainment is completed with dimmable ambient lighting and climate control, which can all be operated via touchscreens or voice control. The upholstery is made of eco-leather, recycled polyester, and Alcantara.
Italdesign note that the Climb-E is purely a design study and part of the research for innovative mobility solutions, but that does not exclude the possibility of some of its features being potentially used in future production vehicles. Other shuttles on show at the CES aim at becoming a reality in daily life, like the Holon Mover or the latest e-shuttle by ZF.