German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has released a video (embedded above) demonstrating their new vertical-slash-horizontal dynamic elevator system, MULTI. This is effectively a set of self-driving elevators, where each cabin has its own electric motor, capable of traversing the shafts vertically but also travelling horizontally, with an ambitions demo video attached. It is due to be installed in a development called East Side Tower in Berlin, Germany. The tower is due to open in 2020.
While the cost and durability of any new technology is going to be questioned, the basic principle is undoubtedly sound. Buildings now must use many elevators because the shafts are very ill utilised. This system could easily speed up usage by allowing one elevator shaft to be used for going up while the other is going down (and possibly a third, “overtaking” lane as pictured in the video).