CityCab - creative rethink on Taxi Cab design


October 1, 2006

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October 2, 2006 The best known taxi design in the world is the London Cab, and competitors for the purpose-built design have been remarkably rare. Which kinda makes the CityCab significant, because it offers a vehicle that is clearly better suited for transporting commercial passengers than 99% of taxis in use worldwide. Helsinki Polytechnic and the University of Art and Design Helsinki developed the CityCab based on a detailed passenger survey. Designed for five passengers with an option for one passenger using a wheel chair, the CityCab employs a hybrid powertrain from Toyota and simply bristles with good ideas (for a taxi cab).

Getting on the car is easy as the vehicle's air suspension system allows the floor level to be lowered to a desired height during a stop. Making the floor completely even and the entrance wider has facilitated the easy entrance even further. The CityCab offers space, comfort and a luxurious leather interior turning the taxi ride into an experience. The car's futuristic and distinguished form gives the customer an idea of what's to come.

The 21st century taxicab needs to be environmentally friendly and safe. CityCab's fuel consumption and emissions are both extremely low thanks to the hybrid powertrain by Toyota and the vehicle's ultra-light body. The carbon fibre composite body manufactured using a novel SPRINT technology weighs 75% less than a steel body and it's also cost-competitive. The vehicle's crashworthiness has been determined through computer simulation tests.

Customers usually spend very little time on a taxicab but it's the cabdriver's workplace for the whole work shift. CityCab provides the driver with easy entrance, ideal ergonomy and the latest specialty equipment integrated in the cockpit modules. Servicing the customer is easy. On top of all this, the car is incredibly easy to handle: CityCab's turning circle is only 6.9 metres. This front wheel drive car practically turns in its place thanks to its four wheel steering!

CityCab is not merely a prototype built into a show car. It is a fully functional research vehicle whose functionality will be tested against other current alternatives in the taxi traffic of Helsinki metropolitan areas. Prior to this, it will be shown at international car shows where the taxicab's performance will be systematically evaluated from the standpoints of both customers and experts. For the time being, CityCab is a non-commercial R&D; project even though more than 40 companies are involved in the project. Helsinki Polytechnic, the project leader, is however willing to negotiate the commercial application of the work accomplished.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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