This futuristic autonomous pod hotel drives you around as you sleep

A world of self-driving cars is going to give us a whole lot more time, during which we would previously have been behind the wheel, to spend on everything from sending emails and watching Netflix to, well, getting a few extra hours of shut-eye. Focusing on this latter scenario, Toronto-based design studio Aprilli has dreamed up what it calls the “Autonomous Travel Suite,” a kind of self-driving sleeper van that is perhaps best described as a hotel room on wheels. Containing sleeping, working, and washroom facilities, it’s an intriguing (and pretty darn tantalizing) vision of where the next phase of transport may go.

“Last year, my wife was on the job market with a quite crazy travel schedule and was seriously lacking sleep,” Steve Lee, co-founder at Aprilli, told Digital Trends. “At some point, I realized that the travel time in between cities would be extremely valuable time, whether for sleeping or for working. I tried dropping a thin Ikea mattress into the backside of my hatchback vehicle and figured out that it was very cozy and comfortable to sleep in it. This was the moment I realized how mobile interior spaces could have strong potential in the future.”

Sadly, right now, the Autonomous Travel Suite is just a concept — but what a concept. The idea, as Lee describes it, is that a world of autonomous driving will open up a host of new opportunities for “transpitality,” referring to everything from mobile gyms to mobile hotels. In Aprilli’s sci-fi concept, things get taken even further by allowing multiple pods to dock together (like hospitality’s answer to Voltron) to form a giant moving modular structure comprising different rooms.

Will it actually happen? While it won’t be for a while, it certainly doesn’t seem out of the question. After all, the idea of a cashier-less supermarket, a robot bartender, or an automated farm sounded crazy just a few years ago, and now are all realities. Once autonomous vehicles are sufficiently advanced that we could safely fall asleep (or work out) while we’re being driven in one, it’s only logical that hospitality companies will be ready to jump into this new market. Heck, it could even be Aprilli.

“We are currently speaking with auto and hotel industry leaders to accelerate the development of Autonomous Travel Suite,” Lee continued, “Our studio’s internal estimate would be that between 2025-2030 it would be possible to start Autonomous Travel Services between a couple of leading major cities — for example, Los Angeles to San Francisco.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.