IDEO reveals future mobility concept

01 March 2017 | by CDN Team

Design consultancy IDEO has released details of an intriguing and thoughtful concept vehicle; it’s much more of an exercise in imagination than a future production car, however, and contains some fairly deep thinking on the future of the transport ecosystem.

The design imagines how cars might change within the next ten years, as both ridesharing and the on-demand economy expand at pace. IDEO, which has worked with mobility companies including Ford and Lufthansa, believes both trends will fundamentally change the way cars are designed, used and owned.  
The concept adds to IDEO’s 2014 visions for the future of mobility, which looked at the future of autonomous driving, on-demand delivery services and mobile workplaces.

Luis Cilimingras, managing director of IDEO London, has expanded further on his vision for the future of the car – read his full thoughts below and take a look at the gallery on the right for more images.

Ideo Future Of The Car User Interface

1. The next generation of vehicles must be designed for sharing

“To date, car sharing has seen limited growth, particularly when compared to activities like home sharing. This isn’t because of low interest from users, but because today’s cars are designed for private usage. As soon as passengers engage in different activities to that of the driver, they become distracting and eventually disruptive.

“Autonomous driving will decentralise activity in the car, opening the door to a new generation of vehicles designed for multiple, shared purposes - and as a result, ridesharing will grow far more rapidly.”

How IDEO’s design addresses this:
●    Support for a variety of modes: The car is thoughtfully designed to accommodate a variety of passenger needs. One person might want to relax on the ride, while another might need to get things done.
●    A personalised interface: Communicates with the owner, letting them know today’s plan, who’s in the car, which errands to run on the way, etc. A messaging screen outside the vehicle communicates key information, making it quick and easy to find the right vehicle and seat, even for first-time users
●    Personal storage space:
●    Below-seat storage for each passenger
●    A large, private locker reserved for the car’s owner

Ideo Future Of The Car Seat Pods

2. As car sharing lifts off, manufacturers will lose out if they can’t shift their business model from product to service

“Traditionally, car manufacturers have measured their success by units sold. But as consumers shift their focus away from ownership, this traditional business model must also evolve, and quickly.
“Though car sales are at an all-time high, the bubble may be about to burst. In Western Europe and the US, the auto market is artificially inflated because it caters for single car owners - a model of ownership that is already being disrupted by service providers like Uber and BlaBlaCar.
“As service providers gain influence in vehicle design - either by ordering fleets or designing the cars themselves - manufacturers must redefine their business models to focus on car use, rather than outright ownership. If they can’t, they risk losing any direct relationship with users, and becoming commoditized as fleet providers to services like Uber.”
How IDEO’s design addresses this:
●    This car is designed to be shared
●    It could be sold directly to consumers, or to fleet operators, opening up fresh opportunities for traditional manufacturers in a changing market

Ideo Future Of The Car

3. Cars will have a key role in increasing our creative productivity

“Creativity will become ever more central to our economy, as AI and automation eat away at many other traditional forms of labour. But it requires a relaxed brain - and today’s commute is a real threat to that.
“Increasingly, car manufacturers will have to consider their role in promoting productivity. Simple design decisions - like promoting space for relaxation, or enabling stress-free conference calls on the go - could have a significant impact on the wider economy.
“In the future, our commute will no longer be a chore. Our design aims to turn our commute into useful time for other activities - whether that means working, or just reclaiming some ‘me’ time.”
How IDEO’s design addresses this:
●      Individual seat pods: designed so that passengers can either socialise with their fellow travellers or enjoy their own privacy. They are equipped with:
●      Noise isolation and amplification technology, which allows passengers to converse without disturbing others who want to sleep, work, or watch films;
●      Seating shells that increase privacy when passengers lean back into their seats, by creating a visual screen;
●      Flexible seating arrangements - pods can be rotated to aid conversation, or tilted away to increase privacy
●      Visors: Passengers can use these to watch films, play games, hold video calls, or work online

Ideo Future Of The Car Hot And Cold Bins

4. Shared cars could cut the cost of ownership and change the face of the gig economy

“Most cars are only used for a small portion of any given day. When they are used, it’s mostly by a single driver. They’re an expensive, inefficient and under-used resource, and by taking up so much space, they put a real strain on our cities. Our design allows owners to share rides when using their car and rent it to other people when they’re not, vastly reducing the cost of vehicle ownership.

“In addition, we’ve added hot-and-cold storage bins to our design, so the car can also be used as a delivery vehicle. As the gig economy takes off, this could let drivers supplement their incomes with the occasional delivery, or even allow the car to be rented for this purpose when its owner is at work.”

How IDEO’s design addresses this:
●    Flexible rear storage, which can house:  
●    Temperature-controlled hot and cold bins, for grocery delivery
●    A bicycle rack, to enable drivers to switch easily to another mode of transport
●    A review system, showing car usage and revenue earnt, so drivers can check how their car has performed over the day, week or month. Incoming revenue from other car users can significantly offset the cost of vehicle ownership, making the car a more sustainable investment
●    A crowd-sourced logistics function, enabling passengers to earn ride credits by performing tasks for the car’s owner while using the vehicle - e.g. picking up her supermarket shop
●    On-demand micro-insurance services could complement our design, to accelerate the growth of shared mobility

Ideo Future Of The Car Greeting

5. The next generation of cars shouldn’t just work better – they should work better for us

“There’s so much that car designers can now achieve technically, but sometimes, they forget to consider the people they’re designing for. You’d be surprised just how many people start to feel queasy when reading or watching a video in the car. It’s a mundane fact, but something that can turn a delightful concept car into something rather less pleasant to use.

“We’ve put people at the heart of our design, and have considered the human impact of every design element. Our visors, for example, are designed to reduce the impact of motion sickness - making journeys far more enjoyable for the average commuter, who spends over 700 hours commuting each year.”

How IDEO’s design addresses this:
●    Human-centred design: We put commuters at the heart of this design, to ensure that every element of the car responds to their needs and desires
●    Visors: Motion sickness is one example of a very human problem that could easily be overlooked by car designers. To reduce its impact, our vehicle projects an adapted interface from passengers’ mobile devices onto their individual visors