Why Should Autonomous Vehicles Look Like Cars? Why Not Hotel Rooms?

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©. Aprilli Design Studio

The Autonomous Hotel Room from Aprilli Design Studio raises some interesting questions.

After a Twitter debate about cars as personal spaces, Tedd Benson of Bensonwood asked:

In fact, if Aprilli Design Studio has anything to do with it, our highways might well be full of moving hotel rooms. They recently won the Radical Innovation Award with their Autonomous Travel Suite, which combines a moving hotel room with a place to park and recharge, and get all the benefits and comforts of a hotel that doesn't move.

Autonomous Travel Suite from Aprilli on Vimeo.

Within a compact hotel room environment, the suite is equipped with basic sleeping, working and washroom functions, allowing the guests use their travel time more efficiently and productively. Using Autonomous driving technology, the travel suite brings you to multiple destinations working as your personal vehicle and mobile hotel room.

AV detail

© Aprilli Design Studio

Just as it is hard to use a recreational vehicle without a network of RV parks to plug them in and to dump the poop, The Autonomous Hotel Room needs an Autonomous hotel chain...

...which is a network of hotel facilities offering stationary parent units and public amenities which can be added individually depending on the travelers need. It provides public amenities such as Food and Beverage, meeting rooms, spa, pool & gym along with housekeeping, maintenance & charging services for the travel suites. Each facility can be booked individually, meaning travelers can use any nearby Autonomous Hotel facilities such as gym, pool or meeting rooms as much as they need during the travel.

©. Aprilli Design Studio

© Aprilli Design Studio

As noted earlier in that tweet, autonomous vehicles, if they ever work, are quickly going to cease just being cars, and will likely turn into mobile rooms.

Passengers need a real space with washrooms, beds, desks, windows and natural light, which is why the fancy new autonomous car designs will simply not work for long distance travels. The Autonomous Travel Suite is a specialized Hospitality-serviced mobile room, not a car. It is a platform hosting new technologies and hospitality services that can make travel more convenient and meaningful.

AV driving at night

© Aprilli Design Studio

My biggest issue with the design is that really, it is bigger than many tiny houses and looks quite comfortable on its own. I have thought that the great virtue of the Autonomous Hotel Room is that it can drive all night from place to place, and plug in at the destination. Given that they are rather big boxes and highways are less crowded, it might make sense to actually restrict them to night-time travel.

Room service

© Aprilli Design Studio

When cars were invented, they were literally horseless carriages and evolved into something completely different. I suspect that if we ever have truly autonomous vehicles, they will be more like the Autonomous Hotel Room than they will be like cars. They might even get room service by drone.

First seen on Designboom.

TreeHugger used to cover the Radical Innovation Awards for hotel design every year and lost track of them.