VIPA Autonomous Vehicle
The VIPA, one of the most futuristic vehicles displayed at the 2011 Challenge Bibendum, is nothing other than an elevator. The VIPA has been designed by Ligier and is a vehicle which can drive by itself even if no person is inside it. VIPA is originally a French acronym which stands for Autonomous Individual Passenger Vehicle.
The vehicle can go from a fixed point to another point which has been fed into it. All that a person needs to do is to drive the VIPA along that particular route using a keyboard and a joystick that plug into the vehicle when needed. The system records the entire route and the important landmarks, and thus, no one needs to be on board to get to that place. The VIPA would drive to that place on its own, thanks to its network of electronic eyes and two top-mounted cameras: one in front and the other at the rear to find the landmarks. The VIPA is also embedded with laser sensors to help it in driving.
Besides so many positive qualities, the VIPA also suffers some drawbacks. The suspension of the vehicle is almost non-existent. The VIPA has a top-speed of up to 20kmph, but interestingly enough, it can run continuously for eight hours i.e. 80kms on just 8.5kWh of energy in a full battery pack. The pack comprises of four lead acid gel batteries which take 4 hours to charge from a standard European outlet and 45 minutes if charged using the on-board DC fast charger. But if some sort of cooling or heating system is incorporated into it, then the power consumed would be increased considerably, which would ultimately result in the costing of the vehicle.