Sang Don Kim’s Communion concept is a vision for a future autonomous electric Ford Thunderbird roadster. Kim contends that the 11th generation of the Thunderbird was the “last pure Ford roadster” and he sought to revive the typology for his MA thesis project at Pforzheim University.
“I was trying to find a design language that was aerodynamic, efficient and [conveyed] freedom for Ford,” Kim says of his concept.
The Communion concept would allow the user to enter their destination and sit back, take in the scenery, watch TV, play a video game or sleep if they’re tired after a hard day’s work. The interior of the car would elevate brand perception through high-tech and luxurious materials worthy of a premium product, which would sit at the top of the Ford range as a halo vehicle. But Kim also proposes a ‘Sport mode’ whereby the driver can take control of the vehicle and put it through its paces on an entertaining stretch of road.
Switching between both driving modes — Autonomous and Sport — the interior and exterior design take on different forms. In Autonomous mode, the steering wheel retracts into the IP, covering the space with a large infotainment screen. The seats can also lie completely flat should occupants wish to take a nap. When in Sport mode, the steering wheel emerges from the IP while active aerodynamic elements on the front, side and rear of the car enhance stability.