Caution: in the below message I criticize everything Onloop wrote and present my own unrealistic arguments. Feel free to trash me.
Whoa. Merely that? Unless a player like Google suddenly takes an interest in ULEVs and sponsors all DIYers, upgrades like collision avoidance and autonav won’t ever find their way onto an esk8t, simply because of the cost of the extra equipment (e.g. environmental sensors, high powered processor). Why Goog? Because they have deep pockets, and that’s how you started this thread: The bottom line is unfortunately also a ceiling. Judging from the number of baby photos in your Hollow Carbon deck thread, the household “hobby gadget budget” is in competition with other 2 foot high diapered cost centers.
The laws of physics will cause problems as well: Regen braking is of course limited to the motored wheel…with such a small contact patch, stopping on a dime is impossible. Even if the board had some sort of self-driving capacity, you represent 95% of the vehicle’s mass - it would have be aware of exactly where your center-of-gravity is before executing any radical manoeuvre so as not to ditch you.
I love the advanced controller ideas and wireless charging, but I still see the ones you proposed a few generations in the future. About anti-theft and homing functions, don’t those ideally require a smartphone app, which you just trash talked above?
Here’s my list:
Extra energy and range:
Harvesting muscle energy from carving
Solar clothes, solar hats to match the grip tape
Conversation of wifi and bluetooth waves into electricity
Other charging systems:
Wireless is too slow (yeah yeah, I know what I wrote above about wifi), so NO separate chargers - ever seen the cord on a vacuum cleaner? Well, that.
Easily rechargeable methane fuel cells (for neighborhoods with lots of Mexican restaurants)
Refined use of back EMF or Hall sensors for anti-lock braking (isn’t Evolve doing this?) and speed syncing of multiple motors
Brakes on all 4 wheels (what, 4 motors is too heavy? Just use one and add disc brakes to the other 3 wheels!!!)
Reversible magnetic foot pads (collision avoidance system will either fatally clamp both feet to the board, or repulse, sending your body high in the air, and safely over the obstacle. Landing is your problem.)
Air bags (everywhere, in your clothes, on the board, etc., when deployed you become one of those human hamster balls)
Air horn (that plays “Dixie”)
Combined weight sensing (multiple points, not just front/back) and rider mass awareness using simple weight sensors and a LeapMotion-like device. (Go into a forward tuck, the board accelerates; angle back and arms out, emergency braking; rider thrown, board reverses direction, rolls up to you and licks your hand.) This innovation would enable Onloop’s autonav/autobrake vision.
Next gen drives:
More gears, with automatic or manual transmission
Spherical hub motors (free floating urethane-covered sphere whose inner surface is lined with permanent magnets; the truck-mounted ball socket contains the electromagnetically activated superconductors that not only permit the wheelsphere to float, but to roll in any direction. Pirouettes at 180 rpm become possible. Replacement wheels require a bank loan.)
More hydraulics. KITT and Speed Racer can jump, why can’t these boards?
Ever read articles of the underground LA cycling scene, or seen Akira? I predict gangs will eventually adopt these boards, and anti-theft Mad Max security upgrades like electric discharge and switchblades will become commonplace. Petty things like “board weight” and “clean lines” will no longer be a priority.
Ok ok, I’ve gone overboard. I do see the retractable power cord, the LeapMotion for body stance controlling and generalized ABS as doable though.
One more thing, though, you both say that actual Gen 3 boards will be “indistinguishable from a normal skateboard”…“with components built into the deck itself”…but that respecting a certain weight limit will limit performance. Isn’t that what the Kickstarters have done?