Cable me home

Future city transport looks personalised, clean and intelligent.

Meet Halfgrid, transport design studio Half Company’s answer to pollution and traffic jams that combines cable cars with AI.

After lamenting about how getting around in a big city these days is noisy, dirty, expensive and boring, Half Company founders Martin Angelov and Mihail Klenov came up with a highly creative and futuristic concept that would better transport people to their desired locations.

They’ve named their proposal Halfgrid, explaining that it would run city-wide on artificial intelligence (AI), in which suspended person-sized pods would move between hop-on and hop-off locations.

Hailing from Sofia, Bulgaria, Angelov and Klenov are known for an ethos that brings together architecture, design and innovative making, with a view to challenging convention and exploring the limits of multidisciplinary possibility. For Halfgrid, they’ve upended the way in which cables usually run  on a moving loop to transport a cable car, for instance - instead employing static steel ropeways that are tensioned to enable the autonomous movement of each individual unit.

Technology not your thing? Let’s just say that at the heart of the envisaged system would be a series of robotic devices, controlled centrally, to facilitate getting on and off, as well as movement in the desired direction. Passengers would be required to simply download the Halfgrid app, before selecting their pickup point and end destination.

A YouTube clip from Half Company shares the belief that the system will offer the opportunity to completely rethink urban transport in three simple steps. One, personalising public transport so that it is based on the smallest unit imaginable – a person-sized individual pod. Two, creating a transport layer above city level in which a light and flexible grid forms the system’s backbone. And three, tasking autonomous bots at the system’s very heart with the important work of moving each pod from A to B. Even goods, packages and parcels could be delivered in this way, emptying our roads of endless delivery vehicles.

The result? A noise-free, independent system that not only redefines transport, but also frees up ground space for urban life on a human scale – allowing, even encouraging, the jogging, skateboarding, walking, rollerblading, dancing and cycling that will make humanity healthier and happier, especially when combined with significantly less traffic congestion and pollution.

Find out more about how Half Company plans to bring this prototype to life:

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Credits: Half Company

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