Benjamin Hubert’s experience design agency Layer has designed Joyn, a near-future concept for an autonomous ride-sharing platform that rewards sustainable behaviors and makes ride-sharing more desirable as a form of transport. Joyn takes its name from the seamless “joining” together of business-class comfort and road travel convenience and is inspired by the sharing economy where users can join the service.
As current rideshare platforms face new challenges – such as the recent loss of Uber’s license to operate in London – Joyn offers users a more private, safer and more eco-friendly alternative to existing rideshares, as well as private vehicles, taxis and other public transport.
It also presents a vision for ridesharing based on the continuing market growth of autonomous, self-driving vehicles. The Joyn app is not only a simple and intuitive way to book a ride, but also an exciting and engaging social network that creates a community to drive environmental action.
Across the world, ridesharing is exploding in popularity, due to factors such as increasing urbanization, rising
traffic congestion and a lower rate of car ownership amongst millennials and gen z. In the past decade, the industry – which encompasses automotive options, such as cabs, Uber and Lyft, as well as “micro-mobility” solutions, such as bicycle and scooter sharing services – has grown to an estimated global value of US$61.3 billion and it is expected to grow to $218 billion by 2025. The industry, however, is facing a number of challenges – such as safety, accountability and sustainability.
After conducting extensive research into this thriving industry, Layer identified a gap in the market for a more desirable ridesharing platform that addresses issues of privacy and security, as well as the environmental benefits of multiple passengers sharing one vehicle. One of the main drivers behind the conceptual project was a desire to make ridesharing – which is a more sustainable way of travelling by car – a more enjoyable and attractive experience for all users, alleviating the “eco-guilt” of booking single passenger rides.
Joyn offers passengers a more private and secure alternative to public transport and existing rideshare vehicles. The eight-passenger vehicles are based around the footprint of a Ford Galaxy and have been designed to maximize comfort for short- to mid-length journeys of 30 to 60 minutes.
Passengers use the Joyn app to locate nearby vehicles, and can instantly see what seats and storage space is available. A system driven by AI determines the best route with minimum disruption to passengers already on board.
The modular seat pairs have been designed to maximize privacy – the seats face opposite ways and are separated by dynamic wings that can be either kept closed, or opened out in an intuitive, gestural motion to “Joyn” two seats together to create a “buddy seat” configuration for passengers travelling together. This flexible system empowers users to define their desired level of privacy during the journey. It also creates a more natural configuration for conversation between passengers travelling together, as it is more comfortable to talk face-to-face than side-by-side. The seats feature slender stems, creating a feeling of lightness in the cabin and offering room for the storage of small luggage items.
Joyn is designed to offer refuge in busy metropolises. The interior, therefore, takes its design cues from residential interiors, rather than traditional transport design, creating a soft, human-focused space that feels welcoming. Details, such as leather and soft textile upholstery and pillows, reflect this approach. As a result, each seat is a comfortable space that passengers can take ownership over for the duration of their journey.
The seatbacks feature stowable tables with smart tech provisions, including charging ports and folding tablet stands to accommodate various devices. The exterior of the vehicle has been conceived as a smart glass “bubble” on which information specific to each passenger – including upcoming stops, time to destination and community engagement – is displayed to the interior via transparent OLEDs. This glass envelope immerses passengers in the passing cityscape, enhancing the connection with place and community.
The finishes have been selected for their durability and suitability for high traffic use. The vegetable leather upholstery is easy to clean, and the fabric upholstery has a “noisy” pattern, designed to disguise any marks from wear and tear. The flooring material has a non-slip grip texture for safety.
The modular nature of the “plug and play” seat pairs enables vehicles to have different configurations – for example, a Joyn vehicle that is focused on airport pick-up and drop-offs may have less seats and more space for luggage. Similarly, busy commuter routes to densely populated commercial centres may be serviced by larger vehicles with more seats.
Users can order a Joyn vehicle from anywhere within the service area. Once they have input passenger numbers and destination, they will be able to select their desired Joyn and seat from a map displaying the estimated journey times of nearby vehicles.
The Joyn app is not only a simple and intuitive way to book a ride, but also an exciting and engaging social network that rewards positive behaviours and creates a community to drive environmental action. Riders will earn points each time they choose to ride with Joyn, and will earn more points for rides that are more eco-friendly – for example, rides with a greater number of passengers, or a more direct route. They can then exchange these points for goods and services, such as coffee or restaurant discounts, from Joyn partners, or donate their points as a cash value to charity partners.
Users can also use the Joyn app as a platform to organise and promote environmental action. The more events they organise and attend, the more Joyn points they accumulate.
“The world is in the midst of an environmental emergency,” explains Benjamin Hubert, founder of Layer studio. “This near-future concept addresses both the need for a more comfortable rideshare system that people actually want to use as an alternative to private commutes, and a growing need for environmental action and awareness. Passengers using this platform could alleviate the ‘eco-guilt’ associated with car travel without sacrificing comfort or convenience, and also engage in a community with shared sustainable goals.”