NEVS, the developer of the Sango AV and its accompanying PONS Mobility Ecosystem, believes there is no reason for users to own an autonomous vehicle because they can pick passengers up from wherever they are and take them wherever they want to go. At the same time, users don’t have to worry about parking, refueling, service or running costs.
“We started by looking at why urban citizens have such strong desire to use their own cars rather than public transport, even if it means sitting in traffic jams for hours each day. The reason is privacy – in your own car you feel safe, secure, relaxed and free,” said Anna Haupt, VP mobility solutions at NEVS.
With that as a starting point, NEVS said it began to develop a completely new vehicle, the Sango, which it believes is ready to be integrated with any of the self-driving software systems currently available.
For the vehicles’ launch in Sweden, the company partnered with AutoX, an L4 autonomous driving technology firm based in Silicon Valley (USA) and Shenzhen (China). The AutoX AI Driver will drive the Sango; it was chosen for its unique software-hardware integrated approach, safety and scalability, and ability to navigate in dense urban environments.
“We realized that, to be able to really benefit from autonomous technology, we had to design a vehicle that would not only be an enabler for shared vehicles, but also for shared rides. How do you combine privacy with sharing? That was one of the main challenges to overcome,” said Haupt.
One solution it devised was the Sango’s flexible interior which is said to meet differing travel needs with three settings – private, social and family. Depending on which setting is selected, up to six people can travel in the vehicle.
To achieve this, the Sango has six movable seats in three rows and is fitted with privacy walls that can be raised and lowered. When raised, the vehicle is divided into four smaller areas for private journeys for up to four people. In social setting, the dividing walls are lowered to allow four people to travel together facing each other. In family setting, up to six people, seated in three rows, can travel comfortably together.
As well as the Sango vehicle, the company’s PONS Mobility system also features a user interface in the form of an app and a fleet management system which monitor and optimize the fleet of vehicles when operating throughout the city.
The company’s next planned development step is a pilot in Stockholm, using approximately 10 AVs, available for public use.