How future cars are being designed for autonomy

How future cars are being designed for autonomy

Creating autonomy is the name of the game in today’s auto industry. Everyone from Tesla to Volkswagen are rushing to design the cars of the future. While there are no fully autonomous vehicles on the market yet, manufacturers have officially shifted their focus in this direction. Here’s how future cars are being designed to make self-driving vehicles a reality. 

Cars of the Future

The concept of futuristic cars is nothing new. In 1948, a short film was made about the subject that featured unique concepts and designs that appeared near alien-like in appearance. Artwork following the era contained flying, invisible, three-row, and even submersible cars. Imagining what cars might look like was so popular that MGM created the “Car of Tomorrow” parody episode. 

Of course, these fantastical ideas aren’t on the docket as modern manufacturers look toward the future. Instead, the idea is to create autonomy. With cars that drive themselves, new concepts focus on complete redesigns that maximize comfort, elegance, safety to avoid car accidents,  as well as boast something that looks like it came from the future. 

The Autonomous Challenge

Creating a vehicle that is fully capable of driving itself without any human interaction, or autonomous, is a challenge. Cameras, radar, lidar, cellular connectivity, and various sensors must all combine to ensure the car can “see.”

As the car identifies its surroundings, it must then process that information fast enough to respond to the road as well as any obstacles. While this autonomous process is well under way in terms of development and deployment, it’s going to take years until it no longer requires human intervention to operate. 

Autonomy and Design

With the idea of self-driving car in mind, manufacturers are also looking to revamp the exterior and interior designs to better accommodate drivers of the future. Bentley features a unique concept where passengers would face each other in sofa-style seating with a table in the middle, for instance. 

The Volkswagen van concept offers a similar design for passengers in the back, while drivers would enjoy a range of the latest in technology and entertainment systems. Chevrolet also features a bold 6-passenger sedan concept with no steering wheel and a design scheme that looks like it came from Tron. 

Of course, all of these attributes from AI to design must be more than simply something nice to look at or own. They need to be reliable sources of transportation with minimal issues and maintenance, as well. Otherwise, Lemon Law lawyers are sure to follow as people purchase sub-par or rushed models. 

AI is the critical factor here. Without a proper AI system, there can be full autonomy in the automotive world. All the cameras, GPS, and sensors in place would still require driver input. Automated braking and lane assist are an excellent step in the right direction, but it’s clear that there are still mountains to climb and hurdles to face as manufacturers move forward with designing vehicles for autonomy.