For many years now, computing power has featured heavily in modern cars, with the aim of negating, reducing or enhancing various controls and operations throughout the vehicle. The ultimate incarnation of this ever-increasing reliance on computer assistance is driving autonomy, a common goal across large parts of the automotive industry. Several manufacturers, including Renault, are developing complex, multifaceted autonomous driving prototypes, which aim to reduce the number of tasks to be undertaken by the driver.
As we move towards this bold new take on personal mobility, with fewer and fewer driving operations tasked to humans, how will the car interior of the future need to adapt?
With the UK Government’s commitment that by 2040 all new cars sold will be ULEVs (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles), eco-friendly materials and technologies will become more important. How might we innovate with these materials? Can a textile or material have a positive impact on the environment, rather than aiming for a neutral impact? And how do we ensure that these materials look and feel appropriate in a premium product?
With current interior ergonomics designed around the role of the driver, how will this change as the autonomous car takes care of the driving?
Will occupants of an autonomous vehicle feel comfortable if the driver’s seat turned to face them?
How will the infotainment systems in the car change, to reflect the reduction in tasks for the driver?
Should an autonomous car seek to entertain its occupants, or should its primary objective remain transportation, with minimal distractions, or indeed, might it offer some other opportunities as yet to be identified?
This design of Renault Phantasy draws inspiration from the 1970 exhibition by the Danish designer Verner Panton, whose Phantasy Landscape presented an immersive, psychedelic approach to interior furnishing.
This work presented furniture and lighting integrated in a unified environment. It provided for multiple fixed seating positions to be incorporated. The effect was immersive, inviting its occupants to escape the pressures of daily life.
The car is an homage to this approach, seeking to provide an autonomous, comforting and enjoyable space from which to travel the city.
Renault Phantasy takes the opportunity offered by the autonomous vehicle to redefine the car as a space in transit. If autonomous transport is the future, then cars will become something other than just a way to move efficiently from one place to another. The car’s interior can change; matching the mood of its passengers, who may be going for a night out, to work, or to play.
Comprising of three large rotatable discs arranged vertically alongside each other, passengers can find their most comfortable position depending on what they want to do and/or their mood; becoming a chair, a chaise lounge or a desk.
This configuration can be changed remotely before entering the car by using a wrist-worn app, and the colour and light intensity can be modified whilst travelling by the same means. The interior is upholstered with light transmitting textiles that change colour depending on the whim and preferences of the passenger.
The concept was selected by Renault to be displayed at the Clarkenwell Design Week 2016
IN COLLABORATION WITH
Belinda Deschamps and Rui Sun