UNITX, a mail courier bot from an unlikely future

unitx-web05.jpg

UNITX (United Networks International Transport Exchange) is a series of bots that travel down specialized ridged corridors interwoven throughout a city carrying literal packets from place to place. Charming idea, but extraordinarily unrealistic. Why build a single-purpose series of Jeffries tubes when there are perfectly serviceable arteries throughout our cities in the form of roads? Let's figure out how to make autonomous packbots that share the highways with our cars. (Or just pay UPS drivers.) [via BotJunkie]

Join the Conversation

9 Comments

  1. In the future, only living flesh will make it through the teleporters. Roads will be redundant for human transport, so we’ll need an alternative system.

    Seriously, what about pneumatic tubes? Paris had a pneumatic network that they only decommissioned in 1984.

  2. Why build a single-purpose series of Jeffries tubes when there are perfectly serviceable arteries throughout our cities in the form of roads? Let’s figure out how to make autonomous packbots that share the highways with our cars. (Or just pay UPS drivers.)

    Hm. Yes, because the roads are virtually empty and unused. Another dozen of UPS trucks won’t make a difference, right?

    And pneumatic tubes? Please. That’s like saying “but the manually switched telephone interchange already exists” when told about the internet.

  3. This system uses much less energy then a car to transport a package to a destination and would work much faster and efficient than a car. The main difference to the old pneumatic system is that the technology is on the robot and in the tube so it can be updated and modernised continiously.

  4. I thought ‘yet another version of pneumatic’ when I saw the summary, but the way it runs along ridges between walls is pretty darn clever.

    It means that if a bot gets stuck it doesn’t block the ‘tube’ at all … traffic can just route around it, or simply choose not to use that ‘elevation’ at all.

    It seems like a nice idea .. it would be interesting to use it in factory. Of course there are a thousand problems in a system like this … just like there are a thousand problems in the design of an airbag system for cars. But they are problems that can get solved.

    Mac

  5. It does sound nice, but can you imagine the vandalism? In a big city? I give it two weeks tops before half of them are blown up, stolen, beat to crap, etc., etc. . Although perhaps the rails are up high between the buildings and/or underground, then, maybe that’s something.
    I always liked the hover postal bots in the Harry Canyon bit from the Heavy Metal film :).

  6. I propose a relay network based on trust. I take my package, write the destination on some sort of “label” and just toss it to a random person. They, in turn, toss it to another person in the general direction of the destination. This continues until it reaches the recipient.

    Just imagine a city full of people tossing packages around.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *