The LAYER x NIO Automotive Platform

"...Through NOMI, PAL uses machine learning to become accustomed to a user’s routes over time and, eventually, become autonomous..."

The future of design is mobile, very mobile, and when the SATORI & SCOUT team recently learnt of LAYER’s latest innovation, we couldn’t wait to discover more. Is the ‘future age’ finally here?

Design agency LAYER has designed what has been titled ‘PAL’, an intelligent mobile platform that embraces AI and machine learning to offer flexible and convenient ‘last mile’ travel, created in collaboration with Chinese electric vehicle company NIO. With various PAL accessories such as a bag, basket, and shopping cart able to be affixed to the front of this PAL transport method to cater to the user’s lifestyle and changing needs, is this the true future of convenient Chinese travel?

On display at the Salone del Mobile exhibition in Milan (Italy), the NIO PAL was highly applauded for its modularity. With each of the luggage accessories able to be attached to a fixing panel on the steering column of the intelligent, autonomous vehicle, whether you are shopping or simply scooting around, this ‘platform’ is really quite cool.

Powered by a modular electric battery power source, the PAL can be recharged in the boot of any NIO vehicle or at your home. If any given journey requires more charge than a single battery offers, the battery can simply be conveniently swapped out. Also able to be folded up and wheeled, the platform is super easy to take from the outside in, designed to fit in the boot of a small car.

Controllable by a wireless Bluetooth earpiece that connects to NIO’s NOMI system via a smartwatch or phone, such an app is an artificially-intelligent digital companion which learns its driver’s self-interests and information to meet their needs. Through NOMI, PAL uses machine learning to become accustomed to a user’s routes over time and, eventually, become autonomous. It also responds to simple voice commands and requests, such as “What’s the best route?”, “Take me to work” or “How much battery is left?” How cool is that!

Further, PAL has pressure sensitive suspension for what is known as ‘lean steering’, with the user able to lean forward to increase speed, back to decrease speed, and carve left or right to turn. With individual motors in each of the two front wheels, such a simple premise allows for independent wheel speeds and steering. Autonomy, cruise control and generally quite cool, SATORI & SCOUT are fans.

As Benjamin Hubert of LAYER concludes, “…At LAYER, we believe that the future is autonomous and sustainable, and it is important to create products that offer more convenience without inconveniencing the planet. PAL addresses the growing congestion and population density of our cities and offers a possible solution to these challenges. The vehicle has been designed to express lifestyle values and sensibilities, rather than with an overtly tech-driven language, creating harmony between the way people think about their home and transport in the future.” Form follows function.

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Using Strategy To Design

LAYER are a multi award-winning design agency, one of the best. As such, it is little wonder why all their designs are so user-driven and so rarely futile. SATORI & SCOUT are big fans of LAYER. Capitalisation intended.

(Photography Credit : Layer)

8 Design
8.5 Innovation
9.5 Usability
6.5 Value