At Volvo’s design studio in Gothenburg, the boards of inspiring ideas used to be covered in cars. Now they’re covered in houses, boats and gadgets. “It’s the most exciting period in the history of car design,” says Robin Page, chief interior designer. “A new world is being opened up.” The reason? Cars that drive themselves.
Autonomous cars introduce three big changes. The first is what you can do in a car when you’re not behind the wheel. Volvo’s prototype driverless car, the Concept 26, has screens that fold out from the doors and seats that recline flat, like a first-class aeroplane cabin for people who want to catch up on email or take a nap. Ford has patented a design for an in-car screen covering the windshield. “The car is becoming a kind of ‘third space’,” says Hartmut Sinkwitz of Mercedes.
The ideas are getting more radical.
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