From pocket gadgets to portable houses, modularity and mobility are the hottest buzzwords of the industrial design world, so any sleek new conceptual (post)modern mobile home design that combines these is bound to raise heads – and, in this case, with very good reason. Imagine a driverless car that is customized inside but conventionalized outside, providing comfortable portable interior spaces within a no-hassle self-driving-and-parking structural shell that slots itself into place after dropping you off.
To date, many (if not most) autonomous self-driving vehicle designs have looked a lot like typical modern-day cars – a forward-focused look-where-you-are-going design that emphasizes the role of driver and movement in the design. Mike and Maaike turn many of our assumptions about the nature of private transportation around and flip car-centric assumptions upside-down.
More than just a shift in the roles from humans as drivers to people as passengers, this entire design idea supposes also that we can rid ourselves of our obsession with speed. After all, if we can relax, communicate and work in a mobile interior space, what is the rush to get from point a to point b? The concept is about comfort, views, conversation and entertainment rather than ever-forward destination-driven driving.
With this change in emphasis come a series of critical spatial design moves, including the reorientation of vehicle occupants toward the center of their moving space and an obscuring of frontal views in favor of passing scenery. The benefits of this design include physical accessibility, sustainability through larger groups traveling together and the reduction or even elimination of parking problems.
Will driverless car technology ever completely eliminate humans as drivers? It seems doubtful – after all, people like driving as well as the control and freedom that come with it. Still, having autonomous vehicles would not only make the streets safer but it might be a necessary step toward making the entire enterprise of vehicular travel sustainable from an environmental standpoint as well.