The Kübe is a concept for a personal urban “roomcar” shaped like a cube. A roomcar would be a vehicle that serves both as a means of transportation as extra space for your living quarters. The Kübe is similar to the Rubix concept, but it has no wheels since it hovers on magnetic levitation (maglev) tracks. This concept for a driverless electric vehicle aims to change how we use cars in our ever-growing cities, where space is expensive and limited.
I thought about the Kübe when I was working on the Rubix concept. It seemed like an interesting vehicle for townhouse owners, but what about all those people living in multistory apartment blocks? Of course, the subway and the bus are excellent ways to commute, but what if you have a car and would like to keep some form of personal transportation system? Bombardier has been working on an automated people mover (APM) for a long time; they have presently proposed the INNOVIA APM 300 system mainly for airports. Now, think about a similar system built for 4 people that could whisk you to major access points across the city.
How it works
The Kübe works like a driverless car that you can literally park next to your living room and use as an additional room. It works on the same principle as a maglev train, which uses magnets to lift and propel vehicles. It takes its energy (electricity) from the tracks, and it’s an autonomous vehicle, so it takes you where you command it to go.
The Kübe has a boxy shape to optimize interior space. You could configure it to travel with up to six passengers or create a fair-sized office space to work whilst you commute. New apartment towers and condos could be designed and built to accommodate them. The Kübe would enter the building using a dedicated ramp, and it would get picked up by a mechanical elevator system and stationed in front of your apartment unit. A large sliding door located on the side of the Kübe would open to let you enter your condo. A similar door inside your unit would open simultaneously by detecting the encrypted signature on your smart phone.
What’s it used for
When our cars are parked at home or in the streets, they take up space, and they are of no use. The Kübe aims to alter that by letting us use our vehicles for other purpose than transport. We are already paying taxes for our private parking spaces, so why not put them to use? It would also be easier to enter your home directly with the groceries.
The Kübe could be used with a regular townhouse, fitted inside existing garages or serving as small transit units (people movers) in certain residential areas where the infrastructure would already be in place. In this case, you would only pay for your fare with your smart phone.
The Kübe images were created by Boris Schwarzer who is a Transportation Designer based in Michigan, U.S.A. I would like to thank Boris, who put a lot of thinking into the Kübe and Rubix concepts and did a great job of translating my vision into these impressive renderings. Boris went to the College of Creative Studies, he also created the images for the Rubix and the Joust.