The Concept

The Toboxi is a smart transit bus designed to travel in narrow streets. This ecological and neighbourhood-friendly urban bus can accommodate up to 12 passengers. It can also recharge itself on the move with inductive chargers located along its routes.


The Background

In May 2013, I worked with Jan Bujnak on the Otobuxi smart urban bus concept. It was my first attempt at a compact bus designed to travel quietly and efficiently on narrow residential streets.

In 2014, Xavier Gordillo and I worked together on another ideation called the Gemini. This twin deck panoramic bus concept also won an award from Local Motors during the Urban Mobility Challenge: Berlin 2030. The Toboxi is a natural evolution of those two concepts with a few additional features.


How It Works

The 4WD and four-wheel steering Toboxi would draw its power from automatic inductive power transfer switches embedded below the street. It would be able to ride on any city street by using stored energy in its battery packs, and it would make its route on the fly based on demand. With its electric motors, it would be silent enough to ride on residential streets.

The Toboxi’s rooftop would be equipped with two transparent glass windows which would slide open and let fresh air in on pleasant days. The bus would also feature pedestrian airbags like the ones proposed on the Gemini as a safety measure.

With its four-wheel steering and electric motors, the Toboxi could travel easily and quietly on any urban street.  It would be able to transport 12 passengers, including 2 wheelchairs. The Toboxi would offer standard seats, but also angled wall seats so passengers could lean or half-sit on them during the trip. This would provide an interesting alternative to the older crowd who can still walk and stand while travelling (but who wouldn’t mind having something to lean on).

To get on board, each passenger would first register by filling out a form and submitting their picture. They would then be able to request a pick-up by using a smartphone or simply by waving at a passing Toboxi. The flexible fare would be charged on your account because the Toboxi would be able to recognise each of its passengers face for added security.

Once on board, you could simply tell the driverless bus where you are heading, and the onboard AI would automatically calculate the best itineraries by including other modes of transportation if necessary. It would thus use a combination of vehicles connected to the transit network (Toboxi, Subway, Tramway, Buses, Shared Bicyles, Commuter Trains, Taxis, etc.)


What It’s Used For

Most residential streets are not serviced by city buses, which are either too heavy, too bulky, or too noisy for the residents. There are also fewer users to fill up a complete city bus, so the Toboxi series could bridge the gap with its small to medium capacity.



The Toboxi concept was imagined in June 2016 by Charles Bombardier in collaboration with  Nicolas Lentendre. Nicolas is currently developing a new type of urban bus with his company The Toboxi concept was designed by Ashish Thulkar, an industrial designer from Bangalore, India. Ashish graduated with a master’s degree in design in 2014. He currently works as a freelance vehicle designer at the Indian Institute of Science. He also created the Venus concept a cyclist friendly car and the Mozeca urban transportation system.