Monday, 30 september 2019 | Redacción CEU
The future of cars is autonomous. That is an unquestionable fact. By contrast, it is not so easy to predict when the autonomous 5 level will have widespread adoption. This level is the one at which cars do not need any kind of driver’s action at any time. Without fear of error, we can affirm that this development will bring about a design more focused on the entertainment, enjoyment and good use of time of car occupants. No one conceives a future in which traveling by car will mean crossing our arms and counting the minutes left to reach the final destination. That is the reason why car firms work on different alternatives that fill this gap and improve user experience.
What would be the first thing you would do in a car if you traveled alone and did not have to drive? Surely, you would quickly take your cell phone to check emails, make calls, spend time on your social networking sites or read the major news stories of the day. Carmakers know this primary impulse and look for alternatives to avoid losing their portion of power when self-driving cars take the market by storm. This interest in attracting user attention has already been proved before by proposals such as the integration of screens and TVs in the rear seats for the enjoyment of children. Nonetheless, brands know that if they to conquer this territory, they have to offer something else. Their goal is turning cars into offices, spaces conceived for relaxation or places for leisure and enjoyment. What are their main ideas?
A new virtual space
It is not the first time that we write about virtual reality and its impact in the automotive industry, but never before had this digital universe been so close to the final customer. Porsche’s project in collaboration with Discovery and Holoride is an example of this. As of 2021, the firm expects its cars to boast a virtual reality system thanks to which their occupants can enjoy two-dimensional and three-dimensional experiences. When these cars brake, accelerate or turn, a virtual environment will reproduce their movements in real time. Audi and Nissan also work on projects which are quite similar. As can be expected, the first users who try this new way of traveling will be the passengers of the back seats, but, as the design of cars evolves, the occupants of the front seats will also enjoy this experience.
Windows working as screens
When the automotive industry reach level 5 of autonomy and cars do not have indispensable elements such as steering wheel or pedals, people will no longer need to pay attention to what happens on the road. This fact opens a range of possibilities. For example, car windows may have an adjustable opacity so passengers can choose what they want to do: enjoy landscapes, check a piece of information through augmented reality, watch a movie, etc. Experts claim that the glass of the windshield will turn into a new concept of screen as if it was a "giant tablet", rather than a window. This means a whole new business model to be exploited: subscription plans to content platforms, on-demand services for sport or musical events, the selling of advertising spaces, and so on.