National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS), the company that bought the bankrupt SAAB back in 2002 has introduced an autonomous ride-sharing shuttle named Sango and announced plans to test it in real-world conditions. It also outlined a system named PONS that will allow operators and riders to connect with the shuttle. (Story from Autoblog)
Sango wasn't designed to go fast, or to deliver engaging handling. Stylists intentionally gave it a boxy silhouette to maximize interior space and let operators offer three cabin configurations called private, social, and family, respectively. Its six seats can be moved around and rotated as needed, and the passengers can raise privacy walls if they don't feel like socialising with fellow riders. The shuttle's seating capacity drops to four with the walls raised.
NEVS confidently states that autonomous shuttles are closer to the mainstream than many think.
"Getting from A to B with self-driving elective vehicles is not as far off as perhaps the car industry is implying. The era of one person per car and the era of owning a car are soon things of the past," Anna Haupt, the company's vice president of mobility solutions stated.
Engineers have started testing the first running Sango prototype at NEVS' headquarters in Trollhättan, Sweden. Looking ahead, the company plans to deploy a fleet of 10 autonomous shuttles in Stockholm, where they will be used by members of the general public. Autoblog learned from a company representative that testing will probably start in 2022, and that the firm is taking COVID-19-related concerns into account.
The privacy walls can also serve as virus barriers, and each shuttle will be equipped with individual climate control and ventilation systems with air filters.