Fisker Reveals The Orbit: A Self-Driving Shuttle

The world of automobiles is rife with new vehicle designs in a bid to create the perfect car of the 21 century. In the past, designs were simply geared towards bigger and powerful engines, today’s designs aim for a “green design.” Every car manufacturer is trying to create a vehicle that will run on electricity and use high capacity batteries that last longer, charge faster, and weigh less. While creating vehicles that run on electricity wasn’t hard to achieve, manufacturers are still struggling to create the perfect battery that will offer the same performance as a car running on fossil fuel. It’s with that in mind that Fisker believes it’s making huge strides in their new car, The Orbit.

Furthermore, Fisker Inc. headed by Henrik Fisker is designing a new electric charger it calls the “Ultra Charger,” and a new battery design whose patent is still pending called the solid-state batteries. These two improvements are the defining feature of the Orbit. Unlike the current system where the EV has to spend over an hour plugged on charger in some mall, assuming there is even one, the “Ultra Charger” is designed to add close to 100 miles to a car within 9 minutes. That effectively makes it equivalent to refueling at a gas station.

On other hand, the solid-state battery would allow the Orbit to store 2.5 times more energy than the current Lithium-ion batteries, and provide close to 500 miles of driving range, and of course weigh less compared to Lithium-ion batteries carrying an equivalent charge. Moreover, they are also expected to pose fewer safety risks that are commonly experienced with Lithium-ion batteries such as explosions and fires. Moreover, they are going to be cheaper to produce compared to the current Lithium-ion batteries.

Fisker hasn’t given much detail about other aspects of their new vehicle apart from the picture they have released that shows a car that’s pod-shaped, a design that we think they chose to increase the interior space. On the window, the Orbit displays its departure time as well as its destination. Another notable feature is a rear door that’s right inform of the wheels which wasn’t shown while open in the photos. Our guess is that it opens backwards to allow passenger to easily access the rear two rows of backseats.

Fisker also announced that they are working with Hakim Unique Group from China, another entity that has an interest in smart cars and infrastructure to create the Orbit. The aim is to create a smart shuttle that will work flawlessly in a smart city that has been implemented by Hakim Unique Group. They are yet to share further details on how much they are collaborating, or they are simply sharing information to make their systems compatible. Fisker has said that it expects the car to be ready for use by the public towards the end of 2018, and they will be self-driven.

While they may have made big strides in making a EV that offers excellent performance, it’s still not clear how they are going to make them self-driven. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge; at least when you consider that AI giants such as Google and GM are still in their infancy stages of deployment of the self-driving technology in a crowded environment. Furthermore, none of them has successfully testes the self-driving technology in bad weather such as a snowstorm, or even heavy rain. That makes us to believe that they are only going to deploy them on a new type of road environment, possibly created by Hakim Unique Group.

Other details missing about this car are the kind of power train it uses, how many passengers it’s going to carry, and whether it will have a human backup drive as an option or it will fully depend on the driverless technology to increase the passenger capacity by one, when compared to cars of the same size. Overall, it’s expected that this car will be competing with Tesla’s cars in terms if battery technology and giants like Google in terms of Driverless technology.

In its next update about this EV, we also expect to hear how they are going to go get licensed before they deployed it for use by the public. It’s common for extreme ventures like this one to become unsustainable in the event of an accident, which was the case with Concord’s supersonic flights. We hope that you look forward to the release of this EV as much as we do.


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