; This four-wheel ride designed by Layer is equal parts playful, smart and versatile - ELLE DECOR

This four-wheel ride designed by Layer is equal parts playful, smart and versatile

SEP 5, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
Pal’s chassis and steering column made of graphene-coated carbon fibre proves to be a durable and lightweight body; Photographs courtesy Layer
This smart transport system designed by Layer is powered by a modular electric battery; Photographs courtesy Layer
Accessories such as a bag, basket, and shopping cart can be affixed to the panel on the steering column; Photographs courtesy Layer
A wireless Bluetooth earpiece that connects to Nio’s NOMI system via a smartwatch or phone app can be used to control Pal; Photographs courtesy Layer
Individual motors in each front wheel hub enable independent wheel speed steering; Photographs courtesy Layer

Aptly named Pal, this nifty little vehicle offers a unique solution for congested and traffic-ridden cities and packs quite a punch with its sustainability, flexible design and chic look.

Conceived by Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency Layer for electric vehicle company Nio, Pal uses AI and machine learning to offer convenient travel solutions. Powered by a modular electric battery, it can be recharged in the trunk of any Nio automobile or at home.

An added advantage is the easy conveyance of the intelligent, autonomous vehicle—it is designed to fit in the boot of a small car, and can even be folded up and wheeled around.

Accessories such as a bag, basket, and shopping cart can be affixed to the panel on the steering column; Photographs courtesy Layer

“Pal has pressure sensitive suspension for lean steering, where the user leans forward to increase speed, back to decrease speed, and to the sides for turns. Individual motors in each front wheel hub enable independent wheel speed steering, in which the wheel speed varies to turn the vehicle,” explains Benjamin Hubert, founder of Layer.

A close-up of one of Pal’s accessories that can be latched onto its frame; Photographs courtesy Layer

A wireless Bluetooth earpiece that connects to Nio’s NOMI system via a smartwatch or phone app can be used to control Pal. NOMI is an AI digital companion that learns its drivers’ interests and information to meet their needs.

Pal’s chassis and steering column are made using graphene-coated carbon fibre; Photographs courtesy Layer

The modular vehicle 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?”

The modular vehicle has pressure sensitive suspension for lean steering, where the user can lean forward or backward to increase or decrease speed respectively; Photographs courtesy Layer

Complete with accessories such as a bag, basket, and shopping cart that can be affixed to the panel on the steering column, this smart modular personal transport system can be customised to adapt to the user’s specific requirements.

Pal has a customisable design that allows it to be folded up, wheeled around and stored in the boot of a small car; Photographs courtesy Layer

Pal’s chassis and steering column are made using graphene-coated carbon fibre—an exceptionally strong and lightweight material concoction that makes the vehicle both easy to transport and more efficient in terms of energy use. Its playful design, smart features and multipurpose accessories ensures that the compact ride appeals to both the child and the adult within.