From the outside, cars come in many shapes and sizes. But climb inside, and a car’s interior design, for the most part, follows a similar configuration. Two front seats facing forward, followed, in most cases, by rows behind them. All positioned to stare straight ahead.
But when you take human driving out of the equation – indeed, even remove the steering wheel – there’s no need for passengers to dutifully face forward. That gives carmakers the license to reimagine the car interior design. And what it can be used for.
A Portable Living Room
Two patents filed by Ford show us a couple of possibilities. In one patent for an “autonomous vehicle entertainment system,” the windshield does double-duty as a screen. That’s roughly a 50-inch plus movie screen!
And while forward-facing chairs make handy cinema seating, Ford bets people may simply want to enjoy one another’s company as they cruise to their destination. A patent filed for an “autonomous vehicle with reconfigurable seats” allows chairs to swivel and fold, all while the vehicle is moving. The steering wheel can even retract into the dashboard to provide more room.
Among available configurations is a “living room” format where the front seats rotate towards the back to allow for better conversation. The front seats can also be folded down and used as a footrest for backseat passengers.
Lounging In Luxury
Mercedes’ F 015 concept car features a similar living room format. Called “luxury in motion” this Mercedes self-driving car features a slick “digital living space.” The car interior design includes four white leather lounge chairs trimmed in chrome, complete with a wood floor and mini coffee table. Even more impressive? Six digital TV displays that passengers interact with while not driving.
Of course, options and features are almost endless when people can concentrate on other things besides the road: office stations, mini kitchenettes, sleeper bunks. And since options can add significantly to MSRP prices, expect car manufacturers to keenly focus on creature comforts that complement your drive-free commute.
Article written by MG Rhodes. Submitted: 3/22/17
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What comfort features do you want to see in the interior of a driverless car?