Among the stranger vehicles on display at CES 2023 is this very square machine from Italidesign called Climb-E. The name might have you thinking this is some kind of off-roader ready to scale mountains. Instead, it's designed to scale buildings like an elevator.
In fact, it becomes a legit elevator in urban areas, taking people directly to apartments or offices in skyscrapers. Working in conjunction with elevator manufacturer Schindler and the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italdesign envisions the Climb-E as a literal door-to-door mobility machine for the future. Its square shape features a spacious interior with two sofas and configurable space that can be used on the road, or sitting still at home.
Gallery: Italdesign Climb-E At CES 2023
Electric power drives wheels hidden in square boxes, mounted on a base that can separate from the passenger compartment. It's a fully autonomous vehicle, leaving occupants to gaze outside the windows or darken them for privacy.
The symmetrical design is a stark contrast to Italdesign's work on the new DeLorean. That's because the Climb-E is stackable, making it useful in commercial applications for easy storage and quick implementation when needed. As a private-use vehicle, Climb-E parks right at the door. Its battery is good for up to 200 miles, and when not being used as a car, the base separates to go charge while the module remains on-site as a cozy living space.
On the road, Climb-E is designed for user-friendly and pedestrian-friendly operation. A plethora of digital screens meld with luxurious surfaces in a minimalist environment, utilizing recycled material. On the outside, Climb-E can project messages on the ground to inform nearby people of the autonomous vehicle's intentions. Similarly, occupants can display messages to folks outside.
Of course, the functionality of Climb-E requires new infrastructure to make it work. That's where the collaboration with Schindler and the Polytechnic University of Turin comes into play. Future buildings can be designed to incorporate Climb-E as a built-in component, using an elevator lift system to shuffle modules around as needed.
Italdesign already holds patents for some Climb-E features but there are no clear plans at present to bring this idea to life. It could be a novel solution for living and traveling in densely populated cities, though implementation of such a system with the necessary infrastructure would take years to develop.