In the Future, We Might Live in Roaming Autonomous Cars

A futuristic concept called Autonomics envisions a nomadic life where phones become permanent addresses and self-driving cars hitch onto moving platforms.

Lots of Americans in suburban areas practically live in their cars already, spending hours in transit. With that in mind, the team at San Francisco-based NewDealDesign proposed a futuristic concept where life is lived on the go among various autonomous electric vehicles.

Their vision, called Autonomics, pictures a new nomadic life on wheels where phones become permanent addresses, self-driving cars hitch onto configurable moving platforms and one-wheeled bots provide mobile services.

"Autonomics is a strategic insight into how autonomous objects will influence not just our transportation, but future businesses, services and brands," their online description reads. "In this framework, we see the largest impact of autonomous vehicles in suburban and rural areas, where the majority of American's daily activity takes place, not dense city centers."

With the motto "destination you," the concept includes one-wheeled LeechBots that zip among vehicles on the road and dock temporarily to deliver products. Rooms on wheels dubbed ZoomRooms would be configurable platforms that act like mobile malls. Autonomous vehicles could attach to them and ride along. A temporary pop-up community called DetourCity would appear randomly, made up of ZoomRooms and LeechBots.

One possibility is that we'll have moving, crawling communities along the highways, NewDealDesign founder and principal designer Gadi Amit told Fast Company. "Maybe you'll drive around the countryside while getting the best services."

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The whole concept hinges on using autonomous electric vehicles that don't currently exist, and a willingness on the part of Americans to ditch real estate for life in transit.

At present, 74 percent of American consumers polled for a recent study by Deloitte responded that they don't believe autonomous vehicles will be safe. Our ability to continuously power all those new vehicles with electricity from renewable sources is also in doubt. I love dreaming about futuristic transportation, but Autonomics sounds like a bad trip to me.

That's not meant to be a slam against NewDealDesign. The team has their hearts in the right place. Other projects include envisioning an end to oil through a network of EVs that get used and financed like smartphones and a device called Scrip intended to eliminate mindless spending. Life is already dominated by so many factors that feel beyond our control, though. The ability to put down roots shouldn't be one of them.

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