Meet the Polestar Adaptor, a roadster concept designed with Level 5 autonomy

Although the Polestar Adaptor’s autonomous skills may seem like its most impressive detail, that distinction actually goes to the cockpit, which designer Yi-Wei Chiu created in the shape of Polestar’s own logo!

The Adaptor follows Polestar’s firmly rooted design language of classic Scandinavian minimalism (the company’s Swedish, remember?) with a touch of edgy futurism. The car’s envisioned in white (as are most Polestar automobiles), and has the same headlights as the Precept. Unlike the Precept, however, the Adaptor is a slick, floor-hugging roadster with no top. And it seats just two people, who can access the car’s cabin using a rather unseen door style, but more on that later.

Designer: Yi-Wei Chiu

Designer Yi-Wei Chen began the project as a way of exploring a human’s journey toward autonomous cars. The first step was to design an automobile that inspires trust. A car that looks capable yet equally thrilling, inviting you for the ride. Chen designed the Adaptor to be the kind of car that people would enjoy to drive, or even ride in. The lack of a top means feeling the wind on your hair, and the low-slung body allows you to hit higher speeds while maintaining great downforce.

Chen also speaks about how the Polestar Adaptor would gather data for its level 5 autonomy. There’s a focus on privacy, stating that all the information the car collects is owned by the owners of the car. The driver can use this to train their car’s AI while being certain that any data the Adaptor collects won’t be monetized or infringed upon.

What’s perhaps the most interesting detail is the Adaptor’s cabin. The car is relatively slab-shaped and has doors that are located horizontally on the top rather than on the sides of the car. Its interiors (if you can call them that) are a modern take on the sidecar, with an elongated cockpit for the driver, and a more enclosed cabin for the shotgun rider. When observed from the top, the cabin looks almost ‘star-shaped’, like a reinterpretation of Polestar’s own logo. The elongated cabin for the driver comes with a steering wheel, and should they choose, will also support level 5 autonomy so the driver and passenger can both enjoy the thrill of the journey!

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Hyundai Ioniq Seven’s tranquil interior is tailored for speed racers who want to enjoy their personal space

While we are moving towards modernization of self-driving car interiors partly because of all the driving aids vanishing for good or worse, the Ioniq Seven penned by 3D artists Kyungrae Yu and Chaeyoung Ju brings an element of sensory nirvana to the equation.

The concept taken up by Boyscout Visuallab for Hyundai gives us all a refreshing new meaning of what modern electric car interiors could be like. The feeling of airiness, the perfect ambiance that could be made in heaven for a date night, and modern touches to make the riders feel right at home.

The Hyundai Ioniq Seven (if I may call it) is a symphony of pure bliss on wheels – and why not – everything is staged so perfectly in such a small space. In fact, the space inside looks anything but short of room. That’s mostly attributed to the clever use of illuminated spacing, hypnotic sierras of oyster roof lighting, and panoramic glass windows. The designers have clearly displayed how minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on style and magical persona. Rather it is all about inculcating elements right where they’ll fulfill the intended purpose for calming down the mind, body, and soul.

The concept here gets fully movable dual seats at the front which can be positioned in any configuration with respect to the static L-shaped couch at the rear. When the wheels are not churning on the highway, the Ioniq Seven’s dashboard is ready for the same rejuvenating lighting treatment, courtesy of the hidden ambient lamp speakers on each side. For me, the silver lining in the interior ambient space is the ambient lamps in the door panels which set the mood lighting to the ideal illuminance.

Just imagine driving to a scenic location with the love of your life and the setting summer sun spraying its hues over the scattered cloudscape. As the night starts to take precedence, and the Hyundai Ioniq Seven sets things right for a date to remember. Alright, if that is too much for a speed demon like you, still the car’s interiors will melt you down for a nostalgic read of your favorite literature!

Designers: Kyungrae Yu and Chaeyoung Ju

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Honda’s all-electric autonomous off-road vehicle is a construction hauler that carries weight of up to 400kg

It’s actually the electric cars that we are chasing after. But ultimately there is going to be a day when autonomous, energy-efficient vehicles will rule our roads. Before the future lands on the road, it is in testing at the Black & Veatch’s solar energy construction site in New Mexico. In question is the prototype of an Autonomous Work Vehicle from Honda, which has been hauling supplies around the abovementioned worksite with utmost precision.

Honda has successfully completed tests of its new prototype vehicle dubbed the Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV). Designed to facilitate work at construction sites, in rescue operations, agriculture, or at mines where safety concerns would require having a vehicle to do the task without driver intervention. For autonomous movement and carrying out tasks with precision, this Honda autonomously driving mini truck features a LiDAR sensor, radar, GPS and stereoscopic cameras. Based on the Japanese automaker’s own all-electric side-by-side all-terrain vehicle platform, the AWV can also be operated using a remote over an app.

The AWV may appear like a mini truck, but the prototype vehicle has a unique design at the moment. It has a pickup-like bed with the back and its sides capable of being folded down for ease of loading and unloading the heavy equipment, constriction materials, etc. The predominantly white vehicle with a pair of round headlights on the front and a flashing blue light on the top can be easily seen from a distance. It has been tested to haul up to 400kg or tow a trailer with payload (total of 750kg including the trailer). Though we aren’t sure about the speed at which the Honda AWV drives itself, it can go up to 28 miles (48km) on a full charge, which takes approximately six hours to charge.

The prototype of the Honda AWV was tested along with Black & Veatch to tow and carry supplies from a location to a pre-set destination on the latter’s solar energy work site. The vehicles towed construction material, supplies and water to pre-set location on the worksite with on-point accuracy, which instills an interest in the Honda tech that intends to serve a range of industries with requirements for a capable off-road delivery/rescue vehicle. Honda is yet to point at a future plan for these Autonomous Work Vehicles, but there is no doubt that the prototype piques interest and we are excited for future trials and the vehicle eventually seeing the light of day.

Designer: Honda

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Three-wheeled experience pod proposes customizable interiors to radically change future of autonomous vehicles

There is no second thought about the future of mobility being fully autonomous, providing a sustainable and predictably safer way for people to move about at the touch of a button. When the future is here, we could have autonomous experience pods gliding on the roads with interiors alterable at will.

Future casting is a term used loosely to imagine whatever the will permits in order to stay ahead of the curve. But thoughtful designers are not liberal about the idea; they deliver upon concepts that set a base for getting things right in the future. They do not predict the future, they make tech and innovation flow in mannerisms best suited to grab people’s imagination and make their lives better in the future. The ease with which such artists and designers put forward an idea that could be a norm in the future leaves me perplexed every single day. It’s the interesting part of my job but things really become overwhelming with designs like the HOMM Autonomous Experience Pod that intends to make people’s lives better in more ways than one.

Leveraging upon the concept of autonomous vehicles – akin to the Volkswagen’s Sedric concept car – that sense their environment and operate without any human intervention; the HOMM envisions the future of such AVs as Experience Pods. The basic intention of the HOMM AV concept is to propose possibilities of how the space within a Pod-like autonomous vehicle can be used with greater flexibility. To give people various possibilities to conjure up their own layout, the HOMM starts out as a black canvas that can be customized for an unprecedented experience.

Since carmakers realize that autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation, they are shaping how the future would look like. In that scenario, the HOMM experience pods fit well for a reason: the pod-like design is not too far from how the Volvos, Toyotas or even Volkswagens foresee the future. Where it differs though is its three-wheeled design and the option to modify the interiors at will. This democratization of space permits users to plan a layout from select specific interiors. For this new concept of urban mobility (considering the three-wheel design will limit it to well-designed roads) and honoring an interconnected relationship between people occupying the vehicle, NOMM arrives with five presets. The pod experience can be tailored effortlessly for a kinetic tour, mobile party, multi-living, solitude or for work and adventure.

Before the AV’s are radically changed, we must contemplate the real-world scenario where the complexity and nature of our roads have rendered full anatomy in transportation still a dream we are chasing. But this distraction should not sway us to believe otherwise. Someday a large part of humanity would be traveling in driverless vehicles, and if those will allow the occupants to change the interiors to suit their travel – no other future can be more inviting!

Designers: Rodney Loh, Thomas Tellier, Jexter Lim, Sim Hao Jie, Winnie Lim

This Faraday Future semi-truck concept makes autonomous vehicles more responsible, communicative, and modular.

Designed and visualized by Daniel Pokorný (with the video above by Darek Zahálka), the Faraday Future semi-truck presents a pretty novel direction for autonomous vehicles in general. The semi-truck comes with a set of hardware as well as AI upgrades that allow it to be a force to reckon with. Powered by artificial intelligence, the trucks have level-5 autonomy, requiring no humans to drive/control/regulate the vehicle when it’s on the roads. However, in Pokorný’s world, the vehicle isn’t just smart enough to drive on its own, it’s smart enough to communicate with people/vehicles on the road too.

Perhaps the most eye-catching part of the Faraday Future semi-truck is its front panel which features a dynamic display that lights up either with Faraday Future’s logo, or can transform into signs, PSAs, advertisements. The front panel also allows the semi-truck to communicate with people around it, letting them know of the truck’s intentions, whether it’s slowing down, making a turn, etc.

That versatile display on the front really gives the Faraday Future semi a wide range of capabilities, that are further enabled by the truck’s ability to operate autonomously. Capable of doing much more than just lifting and transporting cargo, the truck can help aid the city’s public utilities by rerouting traffic, displaying messages, traveling to specific locations with special cargo (like an ambulance or a fire-truck), and providing services for private companies like logistics as well as advertising.

The truck’s AI works as a hive-mind too, allowing multiple trucks to cooperate together for better efficiency. While this ability easily allows multiple trucks to communicate with and work alongside each other on a container yard or a loading bay, it also allows trucks to collaborate by forming a chain-link of multiple trucks, with one truck leading the way and the others behind following like carriages. A pretty unique feature for autonomous vehicles, it gives the vehicles modularity, allowing them to effectively expand their storage, just by lining up additional trucks behind one other. It also helps dramatically reduce drag, allowing subsequent trucks to travel with much lower energy consumption, making transportation of cargo much more energy efficient.

Needless to say, Pokorný’s views on transportation and autonomy are pretty interesting. Rather than having a vehicle that’s a one-trick pony, Pokorný leverages the power of AI to give one truck a versatile set of use-cases… beyond just transporting goods. While the Faraday Future semi-truck is currently just a fan-made concept, it does present an extremely interesting and diverse future for cities, citizens, businesses, and for the automotive industry!

Designer: Daniel Pokorný

This fleet of autonomous ‘saildrones’ use solar and wind power to collect data during a hurricane!

Saildrone, a maritime research company and “world leader in oceangoing autonomous surface vehicles,” has launched a fleet of saildrones to collect first-of-its-kind hurricane data via advanced sensors and AI technology.

It’s been said we know more about outer space than we know about the ocean. In the grand scheme of Earth, we might not know too much about the deep blue that surrounds us, but that doesn’t mean it can’t tell us about the rest of our world. Today, a fleet of five autonomous saildrones has been launched from Florida and the Virgin Islands by Saildrone, a maritime research company, to collect data on hurricanes, spending three months at sea where the fleet will compile the first hurricane research of its kind completed by ‘uncrewed’ surface vehicles (USVs).

With news regarding climate change and tropical storms flooding our timelines, our eyes and ears are more tuned in than ever in anticipation of new data. For decades, the ocean has provided scientists with the data necessary to understand climate change, hurricanes, carbon cycling, and maritime security.

The fleet of saildrones is comprised of solar and wind-powered USVs that acquire data on climate change and weather conditions through AI technology and over 20 advanced sensors, leaving a minimal carbon footprint while exploring international ocean waters. Amounting to around 1,500 pounds, each saildrone comes equipped with a photovoltaic sail that’s designed to keep each saildrone powered up as it sails right into the eye of a hurricane.

All in an effort to understand hurricanes and global weather events, for years Saildrone has been developing the technology necessary to map the ocean floor while measuring water temperature, salinity, chemical composition. Once programmed for navigation, the saildrones can sail autonomously from waypoint to waypoint.

During their voyage, the USVs remain within a user-defined safety corridor and are monitored by a Saildrone Mission Control operator. Spanning from Arctic waters to the Atlantic Ocean, saildrones have collected data on weather and climate science from waters all over the globe.

Designer: Saildrone

This Mercedes Vito turned camper keeps you outdoor ready with everything from an outdoor shower to a rear kitchen!

French atelier Serge Propose transformed a Mercedes Vito L2H1 van into a minimalist camper van ideal for the nomadic lifestyle, equipped with everything from an outdoor shower to a removable kitchen stove and sink.

Minimalism goes with camping just like wheels go with a van–it makes things a whole lot easier. Camping requires the essentials: stove, boots, water, check. The rest is just extra weight. Well, you might need a blanket or two. Unless you’re sleeping in a van. As the mobile lifestyle becomes more and more popular, designers are converting their vans into autonomous campers for the ultimate nomadic mode of transportation. French design atelier and van-camper converter, Serge Propose tied minimalism into their latest project where a Mercedes Vito L2H1 transformed into a camper equipped with only the essentials.

Transforming the Mercedes Vito L2H1 into a modern-day minimalist camper meant creating a nomadic living environment for Serge Propose. The French atelier hollowed out the inside of Mercedes Vito L2H1 to outfit it with a sleeping and lounge area, rear kitchen, and plenty of storage space throughout. Constructed from birch plywood, the wooden interior living area is also insulated with hemp wool and projected cork so campers will stay warm during the night and colder months without leaving the van turned on. Stocked with adaptable furnishings and concealed storage compartments, Serge Propose thought of everything when converting the Mercedes Vito L2H1.

Most of the interior is covered by a cushioned bench, also constructed from birch plywood. During the day, the bench operates as a sit-down working space or dining area, then come night, campers can convert the bench into a 130x200cm sleeping bed. Underneath the adaptable bench, campers can find plenty of storage space and hidden drawers to keep the nonessentials. The showstopper of the camper van is certainly the rear kitchen where campers can prepare meals using the van’s removable stove and sink. Overhead, campers can rest assured the raised taillight will keep them dry from extreme weather.

Outfitted with plenty of electrical and technical features, the van comes powered with an auxiliary battery, a DC charger, and a converter all provided by Victron Energy. Additionally, campers can find a dry toilet and mini-refrigerator just beneath the interior’s longest bench. Every feature inside the van from the LED lighting, to the outdoor shower, a built-in 2D air heater, and handmade curtains is tailor-made by the designers at Serge Propose.

Designer: Serge Propose

The rear kitchen has overhead protection from the raised trunk during rainy weather conditions.

A removable kitchen stove and sink provide heating and clean water for cooking. And the van is outfitted with adaptable furniture to save and create space. 

Meet the Honda Kei, a simple and efficient autonomous vehicle for commuting in the urban future

If you know anything about Japanese cars, you’ve definitely heard about Kei car. It literally means “light car” and was a result of the spending capability of the Japanese post World War II. If you ever visit Japan, you’ll be able to identify them by their typical yellow license plates.

The design of future vehicles is already seeing a paradigm shift from the traditional craft owing to the turbulent dynamics of the current world we live in. Climate change, pandemic, and other human-induced activities affect the design evolution both in psychological and eco-conscious terms. As a result, we’ve seen quite a few socializing vehicle concepts centered on minimalism and an airy feel to soak in the natural environment. The Honda Kei autonomous concept vehicle designed by Mostafa Bonakdar comes from this very genre.

The electric vehicle draws inspiration from the Honda Kei – picturing the future of an urban personal commuter or a rental car. That is mixed with the vision of current-age in-house robots bots like Asimo or 3E-C18. Even the Samsung’s Gear 360 camera and the robotic delivery vehicle by Starship are considered for the initial sketches. However, Mostafa emphasizes the Honda Acty cab over microvan and the Kei trucks manufactured by Honda from 1977 till 2021 as the initial starting point of the design. The penned future Kei has a glass dome top to maximize interaction with the elements. This glass dome also aids in long-range visibility with a 180-degree unobstructed view in every direction. As I can see, the Kei concept is about keeping Honda’s inherent ideology of minimum footprint and optimum use of space.

Honda Kei has a very apparent boxy design characteristic that some will love like hell while others won’t notice. The minimal footprint is another quality worth highlighting here, an absolute brownie point heading into the future where sense prevails and is all about a considerate lifestyle!

Designer: Mostafa Bonakdar

This 100% Hydrogen-powered autonomous road truck brings zero-emission transportation to freeways!

While the world is stressing over the carbon emissions of fuel-powered vehicles, the freight trucking industry remains neglected compared to two and four-wheelers. Renowned French manufacturer Gaussin known for its all-electric shifters is set to revolutionize the trucking industry with its upcoming skateboard platform for class 8 tractors and straight trucks ranging from 18 tons to 44 tons. The intelligent drive system will come in two different versions promising sustainable cruising minus the harmful emissions. The hydrogen-powered setup for long-distance transportation requirements or the electric-powered design for shorter distance transportation is the two different versions.

This versatile system means that truckers can go 500 miles on a single charge with the hydrogen-powered configuration and make a quick pit stop of 20 minutes when the power is about to run out. The all-electric configuration will offer a range of 180 miles on a single charge, with the option to swap the battery instantly. The new chassis is ultra-lightweight, with it being 400 kg lighter than the traditional chassis currently on the freight trucks. Depending on the client’s needs, the platform comes in varied lengths, height, and axle configurations to cater to the demands of the market. It will even have the option for autonomous driving, courtesy of the open interface.

According to CEO Christophe Gaussin, “With this hydrogen and electric skateboard, a world premiere, Gaussin reaffirms its pioneering role in the ecological transition and the development of low-carbon mobility solutions.” Given the future-forward motives driven by clean transportation initiatives of the company, another French company has already asked Gaussin to develop three different types of hydrogen-powered lorries for upcycling excavated soil from urban sites. These include 10×4 70-ton tipper vehicles (for on-site transport) operational for 10 hours on a single charge, cabin-less purported self-driving 10×4 tipper capable of hauling 25 percent more payload, and 4×2 44-ton electric-powered tractors for road transport. Gaussin said on its official website, “This first contract for Gaussin’s modular hydrogen and electric ‘skateboard’ and its version for public works carriers and tractors comes less than a month after the official presentation of this revolutionary vehicle.” The first batch of trucks is expected to arrive in 2022, and we look forward to seeing them in motion.

Designer: Gaussin

This edgy Volvo lounge car redefines autonomous luxury travel of the future

A practical automotive design has to look good, but the interior has to be functional and crafted, keeping in mind the long-term utility and comfort! Roman Zenin who’s a creative designer from the United Kingdom, and currently an exterior designer at Land Rover, gives much weightage to the quality interiors of a vehicle that lets you express yourself. This Volvo concept design by him is an extension of the master thesis project during his study at Pforzheim University – fully sponsored and supervised by Volvo cars when he spent half a year at their design studio in Gothenburg in 2017-2018.

Dubbed the ‘Volvo Think inside the box, Roman’s creation focusing on the comfy interiors of the autonomous four-wheeler is a result of the reworked project that he took up at Volvo. The man maximum machine minimum philosophy is the dominant influence for this autonomous vehicle design with the open space principle – wherein the car is more of a private zone tailored for the intended purpose – lounging, office work, or simply leisure with family. The two-seater version of the Volvo cocoons the riders in a space where they can feel at home with the big couch-like seating and ample legroom to flex the muscles after a long day’s work at the office. The big entertainment display right where the windshield is, lets the user enjoy their private time as the car takes them to their destination in the utmost comfort!

The physical widget showcased can instantly access the frequently accessed functions by turning it 90 degrees and toggling the options by moving it up or down. For instance, turning on the volume of the audio system or adjusting the temperature control inside. The modular console can be used as a table or turned into a desk for more work-oriented tasks like checking emails on your laptop. Below the top surface, there is space to store your accessories, books, or anything else. There’s another drawer-like closet under the front entertainment display to keep stuff like clothes.

At the touch of a button, the glass window can be turned to private mode as they fog-up. The panoramic windshield that runs right through to the rear can be cleaned via a cool spoiler-like wiper that runs the length of the windshield to clean it up when it’s raining or you need to see the star-studded sky. The exterior has a very jazzy profile with an elongated chassis for more interior space. Overall, Roman’s well-thought-out concept gives us a peek into the future of autonomous and comfy four-wheeler designs!

Designer: Roman Zenin