Using a production model at the 2012 New York International Auto Show this week, Nissan is presenting the “Taxi of Tomorrow” to crowds at the Jacob Gravits Center on the West side of Manhattan. Designed from a Nissan NV200, the passenger area of the taxi includes two USB ports as well as a 12-volt electrical outlet for charging electronic devices such as a smartphone or laptop. Passengers also have access to controls for a dedicated climate control system for hot summers and icy cold winters in addition to a rear touchscreen designed to provide maps and entertainment as well as payment options when the ride comes to an end.
Passengers will notice LED lighting at the bottom of the cab that’s ideal for spotting the errant smartphone that slips out of a handbag and passengers can communicate with the driver via an intercom system during the trip.
In the front of the cab, the driver has access to one USB port for charging a device, a built-in GPS system for anyone unfamiliar with the city and a back-up camera to avoid hitting other cars while parking or picking up passengers. The roof panel on top of the “Taxi of Tomorrow” is completely transparent to provide views of the city while the car moves around the five boroughs.
Designed to be more bike-friendly, the two rear doors on the taxi slide open instead of swinging opening into the street or sidewalk. There’s also a large red light in the shape of a pedestrian on the back of the taxi that turns on when the doors are open. This light informs other drivers that passengers are getting in and out of the cab. Nissan has also designed a system that triggers a set of exterior lights when the horn is honked. Nissan claims that this visual cue will help reduce noise pollution within New York City.
Nissan is attempting to combat noxious smells in the “Taxi of Tomorrow” with an active carbon layer behind the headliner in addition to a “grape phenol-coated air filter” that’s integrated into the climate control system. Also used to combat odors and messes, the seat upholstery is designed out of a anti-microbial, breathable vinyl material that Nissan claims will be easy to clean. In addition, the six-way adjustable driver’s seat uses stitching and material to increase airflow since drivers have to sit for an extended period of time.
Models of the “Taxi of Tomorrow” will be built with wheelchair access in mind and include a rear access ramp with straps to hold the wheelchair in place during a trip. Sight impaired individuals will have access to braille writing that identifies the driver’s name and hearing impaired people will have access to a hearing loop system. In case of a traffic accident, the taxi has front and rear seat curtain airbags in addition to seat-mounted airbags for the passengers in the front row. New York City residents and tourists will be able to take advantage of the new taxis beginning late 2013.