Amruth Chinnappa CT
The wave of automobiles which will populate the roads in the near future will be electric, autonomous and part of a hive of vehicles, each moving with or against each other, destination fed into the cloud, nary a misjudged brake or stop between them. Vehicles such as these forsake the need for a driver. In lieu of any driving activity, the conventional arrangement of front facing seats and bench seats will be redundant. The interior layout can then be transformed into an engaging environment, designed to enrich the journey of each member inside. The current paper will discuss the development of such a system of smart interiors, addressing present market conditions, evolving technological needs and simple innovative strides in user experience.
A Living Space
The interiors of an autonomous car is going to be an extension of a person’s living space. Any given street might then have dozens of cars, each privy to a sleeping space, a game room, a work area or just a recliner with the latest show up on the built-in screen! The journey from home to their destination just a blip in their activity, continued without any labor of traffic!
The burgeoning market reflects the state of demand for such vehicles. Advanced self-driving technology and adaptive environments as shown in broadcast media give a hint toward the emerging expectation from the general public. Technology as a vista has leaned toward immersivity whether in terms of virtual reality in the gaming sector or the high levels of customization seen in luxury vehicles. The rapid infiltration of technology in our everyday lives entails the widespread adaptation of such features in the immediate future. Market studies by leading consultants show that autonomous shared vehicles are set to dominate the market in the coming years. What does this mean for the employee, student or the blue-collar worker?
Honestly, it depends on what they want. The sky, plastered on the screen inside the roof, is the limit.
The last-minute report for a high value client meeting in the next half hour can be finished with the work option which you select on your mobile as you walk toward your car. You see the seats move into place as you open the door and the lights focus on the spreadsheet now visible on the screen next to your seat. You sit down and the system which has now identified you from your mobile login and biometrics retrieves your preferences from the cloud. It automatically adjusts the seat into your preferred position. The system uses sensors to glean your general stress level and adjusts the air conditioning and ambient lighting. The vehicle moves and you start to work.
This configuration might be enjoyed by a blue-collar worker or a student reading a newspaper as well. Similarly, the seats might reconfigure to form an extended bed for a quick nap or huddle closer in front of an in-built screen for a quality gaming experience.
In short, the layout inside reflects on the pre-supposed activity in general and the passenger in particular.
Adaptive interiors also find utility in non- private vehicles, with trends rapidly shifting toward shared vehicles. This might be in terms of SUV sized 4 wheelers to inter-city buses with pockets of space built-in, designed for the individual. In terms of using the shared vehicles and also in light of potential health hazards from sharing public transport during pandemics, pods created inside vehicles will limit contact with other passengers. This has its particular set of challenges, in ensuring localized air conditioning and minimal contact between passengers. It however allows a range of opportunities as well, in normalizing the services extended to the general public and creating a true digital pathway in transport.
Idea of a Product
How then does the automotive company identify the appropriate modification to build into a vehicle? A fundamental research into the ideal needs of a passenger followed by a seamless user-friendly integration of functions complementary to the experience is the way forward. The prime movers in the technology would be centered around optimizing comfort levels in terms of the evocable senses, in the reconfigurability of seats, the skillful adaptation of ambient light and sound all while implementing new age technologies. The change in design intent of the interiors toward a more leisurely setting may lead to the reimagination of existing mechanical switches, compartments and seat movements in order to fit the new aesthetic. The assemblies become more modular to serve personal preference, as well as aid in maintenance. Mechanism design might be pushed to the forefront in the unravelling of displays and screens within the interior, applying all the practices of a skilled origamist.
The future is lush with the opportunity for innovation and invention. Substantial progress in the fields of ML and AI has overtaken complementary application of generic design. It has now opened a new dimension in introducing a flexible nature to hardware and products, entailing their change with different users.
Infrastructure to sustain these vehicles is one of the more pressing concerns facing the world today. High-income, high-population regions like Singapore, Tokyo and Berlin possess the right conditions and demography to embrace these changes in the near future. These Tier 1 cities can work the technology through a rigorous process of use and improvement, and over a period of time enable their adaptation to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well. How long then will this change ride out?
Technology for the future is now screened for their sustainability. This ensures profitability in the long run, both industrial and ecological. Most of the world’s high-profile economies have already put their cards behind electrification, with regulatory bodies pitching the complete overhaul of the existing market in the next few decades. Battery power and management is essential for vehicle range as well as mobilization of intelligent adaptive features in the car. This leads to the challenge of accommodating large power sources in the most efficient volume. A crucial need which can be satisfied with holistic light-weight design, easily maneuverable architecture, and accessible features within the vehicle. The interiors of the future is not only smart but has the potential to revolutionize travel as we know it.
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