Heatherwick's Airo concept can clean the air as you drive along
Not zero but Negative emissions vehicle
You expect the Goodwood Festival of Speed to feature the fastest and the most powerful cars in existence. And for the entirety of the event, which ended last week, that's exactly what happened as well. However, one car neither had the biggest power output or the highest speed and yet it garnered attention - a pollution-cleansing car called the Heatherwick Airo Concept.
Today, all our futuristic mobility technology is centred around being a zero-emissions vehicle. But the concept showcased at the prestigious event claims to put out negative emissions. In layman's terms, the car will clean the surrounding air around it as it drives around!
It claims to do so through a "state-of-the-art HEPA filtering system" fitted under the car that traps micro particulates from the dirty incoming air and dishes out cleaner air. The technology works similar to the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle that utilises a special filter to leave a trail of cleaner air than what is absorbed.
While no exact numbers were disclosed to quantify the polluted air that got cleansed by the car, Heatherwick told the BBC that the concept could "collect a tennis ball worth of particulate matter per year." While the technology seems revolutionary, one can't omit the equally arresting concept design, aiming to change the vehicle forever.
Like most EV concepts, even the Airo places significance on the occupants' experience over anything else. Which explains why the front row seats can swivel around to face the rear seats and the foldable four-leaf table that can be used for dine-in or play tabletop games.
Speaking of games, Heatherwick claims the Airo can become "a perfect game-pod" with a special configuration that folds the seats down to a "spacious" double bed and unfolds a screen to project video games. The glass roof can also turn opaque for more private moments and screenings.
"Designed to simultaneously address the global space shortage, Airo is also a multi-functional room with extra space for dining, working, gaming or even sleeping," said Heatherwick Studio founder Thomas Heatherwick in a statement. Mind you, this is the first car project in the designer's CV with previous projects comprising of the new Routemaster bus for London and buildings such as Google's headquarters in California and London.
Apparently, the Airo's capabilities include autonomous driving and letting humans steer, but the former's specifications remain undisclosed. Though, it is known that the car will not get built by Heatherwick itself but rather IM Motors of China. When the car debuted at the Shangai Auto Show in April, the Chinese firm aimed to make a million of these and commence production by 2023.
And if you're still wondering where the car takes its design inspiration from, look around you. Such a rippled design effect was created to reflect the airflow over it.