Italian design house Pininfarina is usually associated with supercars such as Ferraris. Now, however, the company has teamed up with Austrian mobility firm Benteler to produce an autonomous electric shuttle known as the Holon.
The vehicle incorporates the existing Mobileye Drive system, which combines multiple onboard cameras, LiDAR and radar modules to deliver Level 4 Autonomy. This means that the Holon is capable of performing all driving tasks under specific conditions, but it can still still be overridden by a human operator when required.
It can accommodate up to 15 passengers at once, with “subtly offset” seating intended to provide a bit more privacy than a traditional side-by-side setup.
Passengers board and disembark via electric double-wing doors activated by photoelectric sensors. A ramp is automatically extended and lowered at every stop, facilitating wheelchair users. Integrated mechanisms automatically secure those people’s chairs while the shuttle is in motion, keeping them from rolling.
Blind riders are also catered to via Braille displays and an audiovisual system that both displays and verbally announces upcoming stops.
The Holon has a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), with one charge of its battery pack reportedly providing a range of approximately 290 km (180 miles). Over-the-air firmware and software updates allow it to be regularly upgraded without having to be temporarily taken out of service.
Plans call for the vehicle to be utilized in both on-demand and regularly scheduled transit services, along with the possibility of performing last-mile cargo deliveries. It will initially be the subject of pilot projects in Germany and the US, where it will be trialled by mass transit company Hochbahn and mobility provider Beep, respectively.
Commercial production of the shuttle is expected to commence in the US starting in 2025.
And “Holon,” incidentally, is a Greek philosophical term describing “something that is both a whole and a part of a whole.”