Almost everyone will know what the “Hippies bus” from the 1960’s looks like even if you didn’t grow up in that era. It’s an iconic vehicle that was essentially a mini bus that could be used to drive around but also camp out in the back. Recently at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit Volkswagen unveils it’s new concept for the futuristic micro bus. This one will be self-driving and electronic meaning that it gets it’s charge from physically charging it up with a lead instead of putting in petrol or diesel.
From the outside the vehicle looks very similar to the ones that Volkswagen produced in the 1960s. However, the newer model is a little more shiny and the whole design looks more futuristic. The main differences are on the inside where you can really tell that it is built for the future and not the 1960s. It has eight seats inside which means that a whole family can fit comfortably.
The engine is electric and has self-driving functions which is a first for minivans according to Volkswagen. The two front seats can rotate 180° making it easier for people to communicate with each other. In order for the driver to activate the self-driving aspect they would need to push it into the cockpit of the vehicle. The driver can then turn around to face their passengers and talk or even eat.
The way that the self-driving works is that a mixture of technology will all work together to make sure that the vehicle continues to drive along the road safely. For example, laser scanners, ultrasound sensors, radar sensors and area-view cameras will all work together to ensure that the vehicle is safely controlled without a human assisting. The van can drive around 600 kilometres once it is fully charged and would only take 30 minutes to charge up to 80%. If Volkswagen can pull this off then this could be a huge success as there are many positive aspects to the upgraded Microbus.