Next Transportation, which recently launched at the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, introduced a new form of autonomous, electric transportation that uses swarming modular pods that connect and disconnect while transporting passengers, organizing riders based on upcoming stops.
The technology could be useful in cities with heavy commuter populations, as well as smart cities. Each pod holds 10 people total, six seated and four standing, Next Transportation said in their launch video. When connected, the pods' interior spaces are combined as on a bus. Since the pods connect and disconnect while moving, passengers are reassigned from pod to pod based on their end destination, the company said.
The pods become a bus when demand calls for it, but can also work as a single pod—basically a car. The adjustable nature of the pods may help get people closer to their exact destination as opposed to a train or bus station that often lets them off a few blocks away. While being transported, passengers will be able to move between the pods.
The city of Dubai will test the pods, according to a tweet from the Dubai Media Office, but did not give a timeframe for the tests.