22. September 2017
A collaborative design competition between Renault and Central Saint Martins, UAL has unveiled a vision of the car of the future. Shown for the first time at designjunction 2017 in London, the competition was part of a challenge by Renault to encourage the students of MA Industrial Design to think about the future of autonomous, modular car design, and how infrastructure and services might support it.
Stephanie Chang Liu’s ‘Flo’ design incorporated three separate vehicles – one for freight transport, one for personal transport and a third for shared transport – a direction for the bus or taxi of the future. The initial concept behind Flo came from the notion of a ‘seamless journey’. For Stephanie, a seamless journey meant ‘a constant flow of goods and people across a city’.
Named ‘The Float’, due to its form and function, Yuchen Cai’s vision of the vehicle of the future looks like a bubble when in transit. Rather than moving on wheels, the vehicle uses magnetic levitation (Maglev) technology. Made with transparent glass on the exterior and with silver seats, it has a futuristic design aesthetic.
The concept of the design is based around the car becoming more of a social space. In Cai’s design, the car of the future provides a new way of connecting with people through tessellation, connecting with the outside world more thanks to the application of large swathes of glass and will also be ‘non-directional’ with the ability to move in any direction at any time without the need to turn around.
Such is the design of Cai’s autonomous vehicle concept, it allows pods for either one or two people to be made. Through the geometry of these designs, numerous pods can be attached via a magnetic belt that runs around the exterior so more than two people can travel together. Ingress and egress is easy thanks to swivelling bucket seats coupled with sliding doors, akin to those found on the London Underground. A control on the seats enables the passenger to rotate their seat, open up a sound system to speak with passengers in pods connected to theirs and change the opacity of the glass – providing exclusivity or inclusivity according to the passenger’s requirements.
Cai’s winning idea also included a smartphone app with which users would be able to rent a Float at the touch of a button. Similar to how one would hail an Uber or other taxis in the present day, pods would be available to rent for one journey or for numerous days.
Tuna Yenici created ‘Vue’, a unique take on establishing an emotional bond between the users and vehicles of the future. Inspired by the relationship between humans and their pets, Vue will be sad to see the owner go after its job is done for the day or greet the owner when they first get into it for the day, like a pet.
Images: Courtesy of Central Saint Martens