New exhibition: RCA Driverless Futures

20 February 2017 | by Chris Maillard

London’s Royal College of Art is staging what sounds like a fascinating exhibition shortly on the hot topic of autonomous vehicles and driverless technology.

‘Driverless Futures’, which will be at the London Transport Museum from March 3rd to April 23rd as part of the museum’s ‘Designology’ exhibition programme, “will look at people’s aspirations about driverless vehicles as well as their concerns by using the narrative of four fictional characters and scenarios based on real journeys,” according to the RCA.

City Pod Isolation Scene

“Thinking beyond traditional car-like vehicles to include systems, services and even architectural spaces, these future lifestyles might include an orderable bus service that takes commuters door-to-door and allows them to take a yoga class while travelling, or hireable drones that carry shopping bags home. Whether these changes will herald the end of busy commutes and personal freedom, or the loss of independence and the decline of healthy lifestyles, Driverless Futures will consider possible perspectives.”

04 How Might Future Journeys 1

Display highlights will include 3D printed models based on possible future vehicles, projections of new designs from current RCA Vehicle Design students, examples of work by RCA Textiles students based on research into 'smart textiles' and their use in vehicle interiors, and a two meter square dramatised urban landscape showing a potential cybernetic city.

Autonomous Litter Board Proposal Image 2

The exhibition will include an interactive element – visitors are invited to give their feedback via comment cards, and every Thursday vehicle designers from the RCA will work on their designs in the space to address the points made on the comment cards as the basis of their ongoing designs, and discuss them with visitors.
There will also be a series of workshops on the following topics:
March 9th – Entertaining interiors
March 16th – What can be made ‘driverless’?
April 6th – Cars for Kids
April 13th – Autonomous Architecture
Plus a debate in the museum’s Cubic Theatre on April 20th titled ‘Driverless Futures, Utopia or Dystopia?’

The exhibition forms part of the £8m GATEway research project led by TRL and jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry, to understand and overcome the technical, legal and social challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.
More details at the museum's website here.