The theme for the “Transportation and Car Design” section of this competition is the “Free ride”: Playing, discovering, working and communicating while driving a car. This concept is bound to bring nightmares to people that deal with road safety. Yet, with the emerging technologies some may claim that machines will be more capable of driving in an orderly manner than humans currently are. Since the present design competition cannot be about developing these technologies, it must be about designing a car with them in mind, i.e. it is to be assumed that by the time a concept car of this type goes into production, these technologies will be in place and working as expected.
The aim therefore will be to design a de-facto self-driving car, with driving being replaced by simply directing the car, possibly through a hand held device such as a smart phone, or a VR headset. In such a car there will be no need for a driver’s seat and the interior may better be thought of as a social space. The seating should be configured appropriately. Attention should be given to enjoyment of the surrounding view. Standard appliances should be trip oriented, i.e. a trip computer that keeps video records of places visited, looks online for media on places coming up ahead, and projects them on a common or individual interfaces, on demand.
VR sets could be employed for comfortable seclusion, isolating passengers from their real audio-visual environment, if for instance someone needs to do some work on the go. The car will of course utilize some sort of renewable energy. I have based the body design on the floor battery compartment accompanied by four independent electric motors, one for each wheel. This is presented as a premise for design and not as an actual working machine. It may additionally allow for electronic slip differential computation and application by the car’s computer.
Overall I have left the design of the interior to its very basics, with one big screen on the backside, a couple of dials and a central table in the midst of four swivel seats, perhaps unnecessary but for conveying a feeling of a casual meeting at a coffee shop. The swivel chairs should of course lock at various angles and provide adequate restraints for the passengers. As a new way of thinking about car interiors it can be further developed, but does require some space.