The main reason for designing CabiBUS with separate passenger cabins was the concern about safety when sharing rides with strangers in a small vehicle without a driver.
Research found that there is a risk for Sharing Anxiety that may severily limit the use of shared autonomous mobility.
The article here from Transport Infrastructure Ireland makes it very clear that the CabiBUS solution is important for the trust in shared mobility.
In addition to the security of private cabins, the door-2-door mobility service also reduce the possible risks of walking from a bus stop.
The third risk with sharing rides, infection from other passengers, became very obvious in 2020. See this page for the CabiBUS solution.
It seems strange that all other autonomous vans for shared rides that are presented until now, including GM Cruise Origin seen here, does not address the concern about safety that Boston Consulting Group presented at World Economic Forum already in 2015.
“It is not safe for a lady to share with strangers”, “Me, as a woman, I would never want to share a ride with three drunk guys at night” and “… only 35% of parents would let their children ride alone in one”. (see below)
And BCG also, in 2015, wrote in the article ROBO-TAXIS AND THE NEW MOBILITY: “Soon after you get in the car, it picks up another passenger going in the same direction, who sits in a separate, private compartment.”
The key question is if most people will abandon their private car and share trips with strangers in a small vehicle without driver, essential for a fast transformation to sustainable mobility and less traffic congestions. Kenneth Palmestål in Sweden saw this problem and applied for patent in 2014 (granted 2018) on a vehicle with separate (and exchangeable for parcel delivery) cabins for each passenger. The solution makes it safe and comfortable for all types of passengers, from school children to elders.
Fresh air to all cabins and UV-C light desinfection also reduces the risk for infections between passengers, no need to avoid public transportation as many do in 2020, due to the Corona virus.
CabiBUS, the obvious solution
It is all about behaviour.
Private car drivers choose their own car for the daily trips even if most of them have other transportation alternatives, often at a lower cost.
The future of sustainable mobility is Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared.
But sharing rides with strangers, in a small vehicle without a driver, every day may not be attractive enough compared with the private car to change the beaviour. And then we still will have a heavy traffic with people commuting in their fossil fuel cars for many years ahead.