taxi cabs are an essential part of every city’s transportation system. however the design of taxis remains
essential unchanged since the first motorized cars began driving people to their destination at the end of the
19th century. we are beginning to rethink transportation systems to cope with new issues such as urban
planning, growing populations and the environment. included in this discussion is the design of the taxi.
what will the taxi of tomorrow be like? what will it look like and how will it help us to deal with these
issues? these questions and more are being answered by designers and engineers creating their vision for
the taxi of the future. this article features examples of taxi designs that travel by land, sea and air taking
riders to their destination in new an unusual ways.
minimodal by hybrid product design
the minimodal is a taxi design concept designed specifically for the city of new york. the vehicle features a
very unusual design that is small and light and uses a hybrid-power system. the two-person passenger cab is
low to the ground and features side windows and a fully open skylight. the driver sits in front of an all glass
front end and on top of the hybrid engine. the car would also have a signaling system that would let other
drivers know when a passenger was coming out to avoid collisions. the designers at hybrid product design
also envisioned two larger versions of the taxi to accommodate more passengers. the maximodal would seat
3 and a wheelchair and the mogulmodal would seat four plus a wheelchair.
the taxi tokyo is a design concept created by norwegian designer eva marit toftum. the taxi concept is
designed to respond to the increasing amount of vehicle on the road. the new taxi would feature a driving
cab, towing a series of passenger cars behind. the system would work by having the passenger units spread
throughout the city. passengers would get into the units and set their destination. the driving unit would
come by and pick their car up along with a number of others and take each person to their destination.
the design minimizes the number of vehicles on the road, sharing load by bundling the cars together.
while traveling may take longer, the effect of reducing taxis on the roads would speed up traffic as a whole.
hummel air taxi
if you need to arrive at your destination really fast, than flying there may be the best mode of transportation.
the hummel is a two passenger helicopter concept by german designer daniel kocyba. the lightweight
copter is ideal for zipping around thanks to its tandem rotor concept that ensures efficient performance with
less fuel waste. the hummel also has an unusual folding design that allows it to compact for easy storage
and land in tight spaces. it could also be used for medical transportation or monitoring services like the
if you aren’t a fan of rude taxi drivers with blaring radios, then the robot taxi may come as a relief. this taxi
concept by designer petr kubik does away with the driver all together, replacing them with a computer
operated vehicle. the robot taxis can seat two passengers with hand luggage and are ideally suited for large
cities filled with congestion. to use them, kubik suggests, a rider would call the operator, who would
dispatch a taxi to their location. once inside, the rider would enter their destination into the on-board
computer and voila. kubik believes that his design could travel at speeds up to 90 km/h and run for 20
hours using two electric motors.
while the hummel helicptor is intended for transportation at sea or in rural areas, the avcen jetpod is actually
meant for flying in urban centers. the small aircraft boasts two jet engines and newly developed technology
that allows it to take off and land in short distances with minimal noise. the plane could make many trips in
one day, significantly reducing travel times and street congestion. while tiny, the plane can hold up to seven
passengers, six travelers pluus the pilot. avcen plans to have the jetpod ready very soon and foresees them
flying in major cities all over the globe.
kia rondo taxi
kia created their vision for the future of taxis cabs using a modified version of their rondo design. the cab
is smaller than standard taxis and more efficient. collaborating with smart design antenna design and
birsel + seck, kia prototyped two taxi designs. special attention was paid to the roof mounted sign, clearly
signalling the taxi’s availability. the team also focused on designing the driver’s environment protecting
them with a partition. they kept the passenger seat and back open to create social environment for
alberto villarreal is the designer of the mx-libris taxi concept created for latin america. the vehicle is intended
to be a zero-emission taxi with an iconic urban-style form. the design uses fuel cells and a drive-by-wire
steering system to optimize the interior space of the taxi. the cabin is asymmetrical to promote interaction
between the passengers sitting in a bank of three seats at the back and one facing the rear. villarreal wanted
to make the taxi something unique to latin america, demonstrating an aesthetic not found in commercial
automobiles. the design won a red dot award for its imaginative concept.
taxi concept for mazda
designer ernesto rodriguez designed this futuristic taxi concept for mazda. the taxi features and unusual
seating arrangement that places the driver facing forward and the passengers diagonally facing the side.
the driver has their own cockpit that is enclosed from the rear and is equipped with a translation system to
understand passengers who don’t speak their language, like tourists. the rear accommodates wheelchairs
thanks to a bridge that draws out onto the curb. rodriguez also created a cashless payment system that
would also be equipped with common destinations.
prodrive is the maker of the naro car concept. the small four-wheel design has the width of a motorcycle
and holds two passengers in its enclosed body shell. while the vehicle is designed for commuters, prodrive
also envisions using the concept for single passenger taxis. since most taxi users ride solo, this concept
would allows users to get to their destination while taking up less room on the road and lower vehicle
emissions. prodrive has already tested the design and hope to have them on the streets in the near future.
ford transit connect
ford launched their own specially designed taxi concept at the 2008 new york auto show. the new vehicle is
designed for taxi fleets in cities like new york and boasts a 30% efficiency improvement over existing taxis.
the new taxis will also feature an information and entertainment unit that shows the fare cost along with
news and navigation info on a touch screen display. ford plans on launching the product in europe first and
later bringing it to north america.
iranian designer mohammad ghezel imagined his own taxi concept that holds six passengers. the design sits
on four wheels and features a separate driver’s cab and passenger cab. the driver has an ample space to
navigate the roads and the rear features sliding doors on both sides to allow passengers to easily get in and
out. the back features two row of three seats facing each other with ample leg rooms. the driver sits higher
than the passengers and has sliding windows to cope with climate extremes. the concept would use an
electric engine and reach speeds up to 180 km/h.
water taxi concept
instead of flying through the air, some cities could also transport people across the water. this water taxi
concept is the creation of dutch designers studio thijssen. the designers developed the idea for the city of
antwerp, where the city’s canals could be used for transportation. the wanted to develop a unique form that
would give antwerp a symbol like the buses of london or the gondolas of venice. the design features an
enclosed passenger bubble suspended above two long pontoons. the driver sits behind the passengers,
raised above them to see ahead. the design is intended for use in tourist travel rather than daily commuting.
planned for launch in 2010, the mv-1 is a taxi designed by incorporating the principles of universal design.
as such, the mv-1 is suitable for paratransit, consumers and taxi fleets. it is capable of carrying 2 passengers
in wheel chairs and up to 6 total passengers. its roomy cab offers a car like feel and the rear door opens to
reveal a ramp for easy access. in addition to its universal design features, the taxi is also able to run on
compressed natural gas, holding extra tanks in the rear. this green option allows the mv-1 to become a
clean option with a driving range of 250 miles.
louis palmer buckled into a solar powered taxi in 2007. since then he has been traveling the world in the
vehicle, giving rides to people wherever he goes. palmer is aiming to be the first person to travel around the
world in a solar powered car. the vehicle was developed as joint venture between four swiss universities.
the vehicle was the official taxi at the 2007 world climate change conference in bali, taxing delegates
around to demonstrate the green alternative. the vehicle has a small 2-person front cab with three wheels
and tows a large flat panel covered in photovoltaic cells behind.
new york taxi by pentagram
the iconic checker cab from new york city was the inspiration for pentagram’s taxi concept. their new
design uses a similar iconic silhouette to recall the classic symbol of the big apple. the taxi design would
feature a folding rear-facing passenger seat up front and a bank of three seats in the rear. the driver’s cockpit
would be ergonomically designed to make their work environment more comfortable and easier to use.
passenger sitting in the back would also be able to enjoy the city sights thanks to a wide open skylight.
this new taxi design was developed by students at helsiki polytechnic and the university of art and design
helsinki. the design came from a passenger survey and features seating for five passengers and the option
for one passenger using a wheelchair. the taxi uses a hybrid engine, and a special suspension system that
lowers the car to curb height when needed. the vehicle was also made more efficient with a lighter frame
and carbon fibre body that is 75% lighter than a steel one. the students also focused on making the driver’s
seat very ergonomic and integrating many essential features. the citycab was turned into a functional test
vehicle to drive in real situations