Self-driving cars are going to be an important part of tomorrow’s smart cities, and electric vehicle automaker Fisker isn’t wasting any time cementing its position in this market. This week, the California-based company announced that it is teaming up with China’s Hakim Unique Group to create the Orbit, an autonomous electric driverless shuttle that can be used to ferry commuters around.
“Mobility choices will change dramatically in the near future,” Henrik Fisker, chairman and CEO of Fisker Inc., told Digital Trends. “It’s already on the way. There will be a time when people will select from a menu of choices, depending on their mobility needs. Fisker aims to offer a choice of mobility in as many diverse segments as possible – and we believe any type of mobility in a Fisker vehicle should be fun, exciting, and stylish. The Fisker Orbit electric autonomous shuttle is entering into the arena of short shared trips, an area that has traditionally been very mundane. We believe that it shouldn’t be that way as the future takes shape. Fisker aims to create an exciting vehicle that ushers in a new era of shuttle interior layout. Overall, the Fisker Orbit will be meant for college campuses, corporate campuses, airports, resorts, and smart city centers — where everything will be connected to each other via network and interacting intelligently.”
Autonomous shuttle buses aren’t unique to Fisker, of course. Similar schemes are being investigated around the world, and even giants like Apple have supposedly been exploring the technology. We don’t yet know too many technical details about Fisker’s Orbit offering, but Fisker tells us the company plans to offer a wide selection of dynamic interior layouts depending on environment, and will further customize the vehicles based on the needs of clients. “The interior will offer a variation of mood zones, depending on the customer’s or passenger’s preference, and the shuttle will offer new digital experiences within,” he continued.
Current plans call for the Fisker Orbit to be sold worldwide, starting in October 2018. It will initially be deployed in China at an as-yet-unspecified Hakim Unique-implemented smart city, but Fisker says that several corporate and college campuses in the United States have also already expressed interest.
Hey, it beats taking the Greyhound!