While car designers have focused on developing advanced versions of conventional vehicles, “as an architect, I see self-driving vehicles as more being more like a mobile room,” says Lee.
Designed to carry travelers on journeys of between six and 10 hours, the ATS is equipped with many of the elements found in a traditional hotel room: a sleeping space (with a memory foam mattress), a work space, a tiny kitchen, a toilet, a sitting shower and an “entertainment zone” for watching movies and gaming.
It is encased by panoramic smart glass windows that dim at the touch of a button.
Offered in a range of sizes, to accommodate solo travelers, couples or families, the ATS will be controlled by an app.
Travelers will “select the start and end points of their journeys and can add stopping off points such as gyms and restaurants,” says Lee. “The system will work out the best route.”
In Lee’s vision, the vehicles will be operated by a chain of “Autonomous Hotels” that provide critical on-the-road services including vehicle maintenance, water provision and waste removal.
Travelers can choose to dock their ATS into a static “parent suite” to form an integrated unit offering overnight stays and use of shared amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, restaurants and meeting rooms.
Lee is currently talking to automakers about how best to power the ATS. If the suites are electric, they will be supported by service vehicles that replace their batteries when the juice is running low.
The ATS will be operated by a chain of Autonomous Hotels.
Aprilli Design Studio
So when can travelers hope to try out the mobile hotel experience?
He believes that as a customized, comfortable and time-efficient form of transport, the ATS will be well-positioned to replace domestic air travel — eliminating the necessity to wait in line at check in, make multiple transport transfers and lug heavy suitcases around.