In the Future, You May Never Get Out of Your Car to Shop

Video screen capture. Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich

In Russia, the store shops you.

The urban design community on Twitter is agog about a video posted by CNET with the intro, “In the future, we'll never need to leave our cars.” Many are outraged, saying, “Yes, this is what we need. A way to be even more sedentary and isolated from our communities while increasing our reliance of motor vehicles. How anyone at CNET thought this was a good idea is beyond me.” Urbanist Allison Arieff wonders, “And this is somehow a good thing?”

In the CNET version, you see a guy drive into the mall, pick his food off a shelf that is on a vertical conveyor system, and then go to check out where a human being swipes his credit card and somehow, not shown, the groceries are put in his car.

Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich/ people still do this with credit cards and people?/Video screen capture

This, of course, dates the video immediately; in today’s Amazonian world, everything is RFID tagged, you would just throw it in the car and drive away much like you just walk out of an Amazon grocery.

When you dig for about a minute, it turns out that this is another crazy idea from wacky Russian inventor Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich, who filed Patent 2428364 issued in 2015, the title of which Google translates as “The way of shop maintenance of buyers in cars and shop of fast service of buyers in cars.” Here is the designer’s ten-minute video version, which Rain Noe of Core 77 said could use some editing when they covered it in 2015:

The patent describes a system that is:

..solving the technical problem of improving the quality of customer service while providing maximum convenience and choice of products, reducing time to service customers, cutting the queue time and lowering the time and costs from commercial enterprises associated with the filing and layout of goods in the sales area where there are buyers.

patent drawing

Patent RU 2428364 Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich/Public Domain

It is a lot more complicated than just a building. You have to stock those shelves and get the stuff to where the driver can reach it, which takes a fair amount of engineering. Here you can see that behind that shelf is a massive vertical conveyor system that connects to the horizontal shelves. There is a lot going on behind the curtain.

Plan of store

Patent RU 2428364 Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich/Public Domain

This is a high volume operation, feeding a lot of cars. None of which is to say that it is a good idea. For one thing, it would need good ventilation; Rain Noe of Core77 suggested that Elon Musk should build it.

Obviously this concept, if realized, ought be limited to zero-emissions cars. Tesla should put one of these up as a way to discriminate against "gassies," who will have to go elsewhere and shop on foot, the old-fashioned way.

click and collect

Click and Collect/ Loblaws /Screen capture

In many ways, this is an idea whose time has passed; you can now order all this stuff online and drive to your grocery and have it put in your car. There is no need to build all this ridiculous infrastructure. Transit expert Jarred Walker tweets that "Some people are planning a future in which we never, ever get out of our cars." But really, if you want to live that way, we are already there.


Patent RU 2428364 Semenov Dahir Kurmanbievich/Public Domain