The Stewart II picks up on a very good detail as to why self-driving cars are such a scary, unpredictable ordeal. It’s because of the word unpredictable. You’re much more in control of the situation when you’re commandeering the vehicle, but what when you relinquish that power to artificial intelligence? You put your confidence and life in the hands of a machine, not knowing exactly what it’s going to do next. With the Steward, all that changes.
The Stewart II (it’s in its second iteration, after having bagged a Core77 Design Award for its first stage) is a haptic human-machine interface for your self-driving car. Shaped like a mouse, mounted on a complex set of linkage rods, the Stewart can lean in directions and rotate, informing the person in the driving seat about what the car’s going to do. Placing your hand gently on the mouse-shaped form allows you to be informed of how the car plans to navigate through obstacles, without having to take your eye off the road. You can even maneuver the mouse-shaped form around, informing the car’s AI of your own intentions, allowing you to be a part of the driving process without necessarily driving. The Stewart II creates a bridge between the intentions of the human and the automobile, allowing you to ‘discuss’ the way forward while the car ultimately chooses what’s best for you, taking your inputs into consideration, and constantly keeping you in the loop. While this technically means you’re still taking partial control of the car, it also allows you to share the responsibility with the machine while staying informed at every step, so that the self-driving journey is never unpredictable to the people sitting inside.
The Stewart II is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2017.
Designer: Felix Ros
You don’t really think twice before glancing down at your phone while driving. It’s one of those illegal yet seemingly harmless things everyone seems to do. Uber drivers do it all the time, often toggling app and map functions WHILE driving. You’re 23 times more likely to crash your car while texting but people pay little notice to such warnings.
Volkswagen Sweden and Nord DDB help bring to light the dangers of texting while driving with their series of crashed cases… cases made from metal repurposed from cars that met with accidents because their drivers were texting while driving. It serves as a chilling reminder, looking at the case of your phone to see actual scratch marks and dents from where the car collided. Teaming up with metal artist Lennart Wintermyr, 153 phone cases will be developed and sold, with all the profits going to Trafikskadefonden, which help with the rehabilitation of victims of traffic incidents and/or their families. If you do know someone who has a propensity to text while driving, you could consider buying them a case that helps give them a reality check any time they feel the need to engage with their phone while driving.
Designer: Nord DDB, Lennart Wintermyr, Volkswagen.
Every time we’ve seen a TIE Fighter in the movies, it’s been zooming through space or sitting on the deck of an Imperial battlestation. But this TIE Fighter can actually drive on the street. This land-based TIE Fighter was built by Queensland, Nova Scotia man Allan Carver. This Imperial vehicle on wheels is powered by mobility chair motors and can hit speeds of 6 mph. I just let out a little Wilhelm scream.
It can be piloted remotely or from inside the cockpit via radio controller. It also makes TIE fighter sounds as it drives along. Allan was inspired to build it last December during the release of The Last Jedi. Now you just need a few X-Wings that it can chase, so they don’t shoot some proton torpedoes into a porthole and blow up the whole damn town. If you shoot them off the road, the Imperials might get their own medal ceremony for once.
See how he made it in the video above, and if you are daring enough, you can try to make your own. It probably won’t look as good as Allan’s. Honestly, he did an awesome job. I would love to take this for a ride around town. Too bad it doesn’t actually shoot lasers. That would really help with traffic. Which is why you need a Star Destroyer…. Hmmm. Hey, Allan…