Autonomy. There is no greater buzzword in the car industry right now. But what about the brands like BMW and Jaguar that strive to deliver the ultimate driving experience? Will the enthusiast be forgotten in the transition to self-driving vehicles? Jaguar attempts to answer that question in the Future-Type concept, a premium compact on-demand vehicle concept designed to meet the mobility needs of future generations.
Looking a bit like a design study you’d expect to be born out of the UK-based company’s sponsored university projects, the Jaguar Future-Type is a fully autonomous concept intended for the year 2040 that can be summoned on-demand. The company says it offers a glimpse into the future of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility (ACES) vehicles.
“Future-Type offers an insight into the potential for driving and car ownership in the future. It’s part of our vision for how a luxury car brand could continue to be desirable, in a more digital and autonomous age,” says Jaguar design director Ian Callum.
“Our Future-Type Concept is an advanced research project looking at how we can ensure an on-demand Jaguar will appeal to customers in 2040 and beyond,” Callum continues. “Whether it’s commuting to work, autonomously collecting children from school or enjoying driving yourself on the weekend in the countryside, if there’s a choice of on-demand cars driving around city streets, we need to ensure customers desire our 24/7 service over our competitors.”
The concept’s base is the steering wheel, which users can take with them and display as a sculpture in their homes. This ‘intelligent’ steering wheel, named Sayer after Malcolm Sayer, the designer of the original E-Type, ‘becomes your trusted companion’, says Jaguar, ready to cater to the user’s every need — be it to summon the car, play music, book a table at their favorite restaurant or tell them what’s in the fridge. Now is that really necessary?
Sayer, which Jaguar says is the first voice-activated Artificial Intelligence (AI) steering wheel, also provides membership to the company’s on-demand service club, which offers either sole ownership or the option of sharing the car with others in the user’s community. This is a new take on the shared mobility concept, as users only own the steering wheel, not the car itself.
The steering wheel is the heart of Jaguar’s proposed advanced HMI system, which enables occupants to summon information from their home, family, friends or work orbits to stay connected with all parts of their lives. It can also advise the user on which parts of the journey they might enjoy driving themselves, which, in this case, the user operates an on-board steering wheel. This dual approach will allow drivers to choose either autonomous or assisted driving, avoiding stressful and tedious parts of the journey,
The interior of the Future Type vehicle features a 2+1 social seating configuration, so users can sit face-to-face as the car autonomously. As the concept is only a virtual model, it’s difficult to judge the space inside and gauge whether this would be feasible comfortably — the front rearward facing seat looks better suited as a footrest in the plan view sketch image Jaguar has shown.
Future-Type also proposes full connectivity with other vehicles via co-operative driving technologies. This collaboration is said to enable shorter distances between vehicles and make lane changing and exiting from junctions safer and more efficient. This will also increase road capacity and prevent accidents, while the narrow width of the vehicle means it takes up less space on the road and when parked.
“Today, Jaguar offers customers a dynamic, emotional experience. Whether it’s the exhilarating way they drive, the way they sound, the iconic design or the connection drivers feel with the road, customers tell us that their Jaguar makes them feel special,” says Callum. “With the Future-Type, we’ve been investigating how we can keep this emotional connection in a future world where people may choose not to own a car, or when a Jaguar is an autonomous, on-demand vehicle.”
“In a future age of on-demand services and car sharing, our research shows there will still be a place for luxury and premium experiences — and enjoying the drive. People will still want to travel in style and comfort, while the growth of car sharing actually increases the opportunity for people to experience what a Jaguar has to offer, even if they chose not to own one.”