Xiao Xue has built a one-of-a-kind walking truck camper. No jacks. No tie-downs. No loading. Just hop in, and hang on. Xiao’s visionary sculpture takes us into the future. No truck required.
Imagine being transported 25 years into the future. In the year 2043 you see what appears to be a travel trailer coming towards you, but there’s no truck pulling it. The trailer is literally moving down the highway on its own.
The trailer pulls off the roadway onto a parking space a few feet away. Slowing to a gentle stop, a green light appears at the bottom of each wheel. A few seconds later, the side door opens and a single occupant emerges.
25 year old Ethan has just awoke from a nap and doesn’t see you at first. Then he jumps, startled to discover someone looking right at him. “Are you okay?” he asks, stepping back towards the trailer door.
You extend a hand to introduce yourself, but Ethan continues his retreat. Sensing his alarm, you lower your hand and compliment his trailer. With each passing word, Ethan relaxes. Then a big smile stretches across his face. “It’s been a long time since a stranger engaged me in a personal conversation!” Ethan exclaims. “You scared me.”
Somehow Ethan accepts your story of being from a different time, as if nothing you could say would surprise him. He explains that most of his friends and family have succumbed to virtual worlds and no longer leave their smart pod homes, much less talk face-to-face anymore.
Recognizing your usual interest in his trailer, Ethan begins to answer your questions; What is it? How does it work? Where are the motors and batteries?
Ethan explains that there are actually two sections that make up his trailer; the dwelling (trailer), and the integrated WMBS system; Wheel, Motor, Battery, and Sled. The WMBS system (pronounced “webs”) is universal across nearly all road-based transportation in 2043 and automatically adjusts to the size and weight of each load; smart pod, dwelling, or cargo container.
Ethan describes how the battery-sled system combines carbon fiber for structure and graphene for battery power. Carbon fiber has become cheaper to produce than aluminum, and graphene-based batteries are lighter and faster charging than lithium. The combination has completely revolutionized transportation.
As if on cue, the WMBS system chimes to signal a complete charge. You have so many more questions, but Ethan is eager to continue his journey. As he approaches the trailer, the entry door slides open and a friendly voice says, “Ready when you are, Ethan”.
“Not yet Ava. Hold please.”
Seeing your continued interest, Ethan stands in the door to answer a few more questions. After receiving verbal instructions on where to go, the WMBS system engages travel and automatically stops to recharge. During travel, he is free to walk about, sleep, watch movies, or tap-in to virtual experiences. People still manually drive cars and trucks in 2043, but only as a hobby.
And with that, Ethan smiles, steps into his trailer, and the door closes. With a gesture, the WMBS smoothly engages, swiftly moving forward and accelerating to highway speed. In a less than a minute, Ethan and his trailer are over the horizon.
The Walking Truck Camper
About one year ago, Truck Camper Magazine reader Lloyd Thomure sent us a link to something so out there that we didn’t know what to make of it. On the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, Canadian artist, Xiao Xue, was seeking financial support for, “A Walking Camper”.
Xiao was literally building a walking truck camper.
The backstory of Xiao’s project was equally unique. In mid-2016, a friend of Xiao’s was looking for a way to dispose of an abandoned 1980’s era Slumber-Queen truck camper with broken hydraulic jacks (see above).
Xiao took pity on the disabled camper. In her eyes, the unit had lost its truck, lost its vital supports, and was helplessly trapped in place. It needed a new beginning; a way to walk forward on its own.