Micro-mobility vehicles could be the solution to traffic congestion, poor public transport integration, and carbon emissions.
A Research and Development Officer at the CPUT Product Lifecycle Management Competency Centre (PLMCC), Neil de Vos is an advocate of micro-mobility vehicles, which is the focus of his masters research project.
De Vos says given the current transport situation globally, people are being forced to drastically rethink traditional means of transport.
In South Africa, the lack of public transport services in key economic corridors coupled with the absence of an effective inner city transport system endorses the integration of micro-mobility vehicles, says de Vos.
As part of his research, de Vos has been working with the local company, Mellowcabs, which operates fully electric micro-mobility vehicles, and is set to introduce them in South Africa and abroad. His research is focused on ergonomics and improving design aspects to ensure all year-round use of the vehicles, which currently has no doors.
“The design process is focused on creating a new side door, however, at the same time the product should be, elegant, smart, fashionable, comfortable, economical, manoeuvrable and safe,” he says.
To conduct his research, de Vos is making use of CATIA, a highly specialized virtual product lifecycle management design programme that is housed at the PLMCC.
The programme allows de Vos to get immediate feedback in terms of physical-based data that correspond to how the door could hinder the passengers’ interaction when they enter and exit the vehicle.
“This enables us to try various designs to perform a comparative study without building a single physical prototype,” he says.
Despite being such a small vehicle, de Vos is positive that micro-mobility vehicles will play a huge role in revolutionizing the transport system.
“I am very interested to see where we can go with something as small as this.”