360-degree video shows Thailand’s popemobile up close

A diesel powered and locally modified Nissan pickup truck will serve as the vehicle that will bring the head of the Catholic Church up close with thousands of faithful during his upcoming visit to Thailand.

You can check it out up close in the above 360 video. You can interact by clicking and dragging the mouse on the video to see different angles.

Like other papal visits, Pope Francis will have an open-topped ‘popemobile’ for his Nov. 20-23 trip to the kingdom that will not feature bulletproof glass.

The Catholic Church introduced custom-made popemobiles with bulletproof glass sides after the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square.

A spokesman in Thailand said the pope will put aside safety in order to be in closer proximity to the people.

A close up of the Vatican’s coat of arms as seen on Thailand’s popemobile. (Photo from Catholic Social Communications of Thailand)

The pope sees being able to speak to and meet people directly as an important part of his duties as pontiff.

“Yes, it’s dangerous, but he doesn’t want it because then he wouldn’t be close to the people who want to meet him,” Valith Saengthong, an official at the Catholic Social Communications of Thailand, told online news portal Khaosod English.

He said local police and the Swiss Guard will be on hand to provide protection for the pope.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in 2014, the pope said having bulletproof glass on a popemobile was like riding in a “sardine can” which prevented him being close to people.

“It’s true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose,” he told the paper.

The vehicle for his Thai visit will bear the license plate “SCV 1,” an abbreviation of the Latin Status Civitatis Vaticanae or Vatican City State.

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