MIT's Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems concepts won this year's $100,000 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, an annual contest that asks entrants to create designs with maximum social impact.
This year's winner, chosen out of 285 entries, consists of a Mobility-on-Demand system of shared-use lightweight electric vehicles (EV) placed at automatic charging racks throughout a city. The MIT team's CityCar and RoboScooter (both folding vehicles) as well as the Green-Wheel Bicycle use a minimum of parking space and can be picked up and dropped off at any charging rack.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge jury called the entry a "bold, visionary idea" that "beautifully reflects the spirit of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge." Despite its boldness, the MIT entry is feasible in the near-term—the RoboScooter prototype is already constructed and the Mobility-on-Demand system could be tweaked to work with existing electric bicycles and motorcycles. Bike-sharing programs are already gaining ground in the U.S. and beyond—Mobility-on-Demand could be the next step.
Check out the RoboScooter in action below.