The autonomous car is coming. But what does that mean for the car enthusiast? RCA graduate Mark Hinton sought to answer this question by looking at what we love about our cars and how we use them.
“This project set out to find the reason why cars have possessed the emotions of so many, despite being fundamentally inanimate, mechanical machines,” says Hinton. “What is it that gives cars their appeal, and how will that live on when we lose the connection of driving the car?”
Using the Infiniti brand as a base, Hinton created a two-passenger 4.2m-long vehicle with large glazed areas to enhance outward visibility and amplify simple sensory emotions. The expressive ‘coning tower’ of the vehicle was inspired by constructivism sculpture and is surrounded by complex and enticing surfacing.
The driver enters from the front of the vehicle, through a windscreen that extends all the way to the front of the car. A negative glasshouse at the rear is flanked by flying buttresses, which make up the structural C-pillar. The treatment of the sculptured surfacing and glazing creates visual excitement for a future autonomous scenario.
“Autonomous vehicles are the current hot-topic in vehicle design,” Hinton cites. “We’re seeing a current trend in autonomous proposals that are centred around a hi-tech, augmented reality interface primarily for business use – is this really the future for the car?”
We’re not overly enthusiastic about a future where cars drive themselves, but we could be convinced to think otherwise if we were still able to connect with the vehicle through a heightened sensory experience rather than a moving box that distorts our reality and replaces the freedom that was once such an intrinsic part of vehicle ownership.