The LED traffic signal gets redesigned with a single screen stoplight for the 21st century!

Makeshift detour notices and ancient traffic lights from the 20th century sometimes make following road rules difficult. Human error and faded signals sometimes send the wrong sign to drivers and pedestrians, resulting in car accidents and injuries. In addition to the traffic light’s archaic design, those who are color blind can have a difficult time distinguishing between red and green, stop and go. Confronting the downfalls of a design from yesteryear, Moscow-based design firm Art. Lebedev Studio developed a traffic light fixture to match today’s modern design and technological capabilities.

Requested by two cities in Russia for testing in a limited capacity, Art. Lebedev Studio’s traffic light condenses the three-tier stoplight into one digital panel that runs a continuous loop of various traffic signals. When it’s time to stop, the entire fixture emanates a red glow and projects an ‘X’ to signal to color-blind drivers that it’s time to stop. Similarly, when it’s okay to drive on, green fills the screen and an arrow indicates full speed ahead. A countdown is also displayed when each traffic signal starts, allowing drivers to countdown when it’ll be time to go and when they’ll have to slow down.

If you’re like me and the first thing you look for at a stop sign is a ‘No Turn on Red,’ posting, this traffic light from Art. Lebedev has got us covered. Nonstandard signals are also programmed into the traffic light, so drivers will know when it’s okay to turn on red among other road rules. Hybrid display panels will color half of the screen red and the other half green, with an ‘X’ indicating stop and an arrow pointing to the right signaling to drivers that right turns on red are allowed.

Bringing the new design to the pedestrian level, Art. Lebedev developed almost a little sister to the taller traffic light. Shorter than the traffic light, the pedestrian’s panel will also feature simple animations that illustrate when pedestrians can walk across busy streets and when they should hang back to wait for traffic to pass. Relying only on a 5G connection for operation, new traffic and detour information can be programmed remotely into traffic lights to keep drivers up to speed on the latest road rules.

Designer: Art. Lebedev Studio

This signal indicates that while it’s not your lane’s turn to go straight, you can turn right.

This signal shows that it’s all systems go.

Pedestrian signs are positioned beneath traffic signals, closer to the sightline of walkers and bikers alike.

This signal displays a countdown, indicating that drivers have 54 seconds before the light turns red.

LED lights radiate a glow on Art. Lebedev Studio’s signals stand out amidst city lights.

Some various signs can be condensed and displayed on Art. Lebedev Studio’s traffic light for the modern era.

Honda Electric Pickup + more edgy car designs that would leave every Grand Tour fan wanting more!

Through the years, some cars have reached iconic status, they’ve captured a place in everyone’s hearts and people reminisce about them to date, whether it’s the Back to the Future DeLorean, the beloved Porsche 911, or off-late, the Tesla Cybertruck. What do three British men, some iconic cars, and their legendary antics with these iconic cars have in common? Just one of the most popular automotive shows in the world, the Grand Tour! The thing about the Grand Tour is it surpasses the cars – they have become every auto enthusiast’s dream to tinker with the best cars, in the best places, with your friends (though I always root for Richard Hammond, and I do wish he would win more!) and even I would swap places with them instantly! Automotive Designers have given some of our favorite wheels creative and enduring makeovers, and we’ve collected a few for you that we totally approve of – the best part is figuring which of these designs would be picked by Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, and what their take on each would be. Any guesses?

The Ridgeline EV concept comes from the mind of California-based Rene Garcia, a concept designer at ILM who’s previously worked on The Mandalorian, Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers, and the Transformers anthology. Garcia began designing the vehicle as a Dakar rally truck, but gradual iterations slowly turned it into a conceptual pickup truck for Honda. Designed to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it, the EV comes with its own winch-hook on the front, a frunk behind it, suicide-style rear doors that give you access to the car’s spacious interiors, and an expandable truck-bed on the back that even comes equipped with tools and emergency medical kits.

Al Yasid reimagines the Dodge Demon in white silver body and yellow hue for the front bumper – much like the 68 Porsche 908. The choice of yellow comes from the designer’s current bent towards this color from the palette that he likes the most. With tweaking to the front align with over fenders – who would not fall in love with this muscle car! If you notice closely, the Dodge cross grill (air dam) has been modernized, and the rear window aero piece has that attractive shooting brake-like look courtesy of the roof spoiler. Al Yasid points to his love of shooting brakes by saying, “That “roof spoiler” was actually done to give a slight illusion of a shooting brake while not being one hah!” In a fun twist, the yellow front resembles a duck’s bill for those who love a biological inspiration on their ride, but to me, the yellow is a pure throwback to Bumblebee, our favorite transformer ever!

The Pandemax Concept by Radek Štěpán is unconventional, to say the least. It has a distinct Star Wars-inspired aesthetic and those all-terrain tires and that high ground clearance really implies the car could easily work on the roughest of alien terrain. Designed to be a sort of explorer vehicle or manned rover, the Pandemax comes with two seats at the absolute front of the vehicle, with a panoramic windshield that lets the explorers get a full view the terrain and landscape ahead of them. Sure, a few questions come to mind too, especially regarding driver safety and the center-of-gravity, given that the drivers are sitting outside the car’s wheelbase. However, it’s a neat aesthetic exploration of an interplanetary vehicle if you ask us. I’m especially loving the Cybertruck vibe, and I’m sure the driver gets a hell of a view!

The direct competitor for the Apple Car is obviously going to be Tesla who’s got a strong foothold in the self-driving electric car market. According to some sources, the Apple Car will not have any driver’s seat or even driving controls which could be a bummer for motorheads who love the feel of controlling their machine. The Apple Car will look like anybody’s guess, but to give a close idea of what it may be like, Ali Cam’s Apple Car 2076 is a good reference point to take home some inspiration. Adopting Apple’s sharp design aesthetics, the car looks like a mouse shaped like a car at first glance, but then you realize it’s actually a minimal car concept. Loaded with advanced driving systems Ali envisions the blueprint far in the distant future – the year 2076 to be precise. The choice of year apparently is the 100the anniversary of Apple ever since it was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne.

2020 saw the Italian automaker introduce the halo supercar MC20 and to spice things up designer Salvatoreandrea Piccirillo has come with an electric Gran Turismo supercar concept, he likes to call Maserati Neptune. The designer penned this concept render in collaboration with FCA Group as a part of his training course at IED Transportation Design. The concept borrows the driving position from the 250F Formula One racer and the negative space down the bottom middle is something that’s unique. Maserati Neptune is powered by the Formula E racecar platform with the battery positioned behind the front wheels. The Gran Turismo car has a splitter located at the front and a big diffuser on the rear, giving it a very speed demon-like character. Salvatoreandrea has designed the concept keeping the driving pleasure, sportiness, and comfort in mind – and that’s evident from what we see here.

The star of the Back to the Future series is going to shine again, without a doubt. To fuel our imagination and prep us all for the 2021 DeLorean DMC-12, designer Ángel Guerra has awe-inspired automotive design with his version of the DeLorean 2021. He summed up the motivation for this concept in his words – “This is a thank you to an icon and a movie that marked my childhood. This is, too, a new DeLorean for my son’s generation.” As his tribute to the iconic design, Ángel has mustered up this super dope DeLorean for the 40th anniversary of the brand that captured the imagination of an entire generation. The gull-winged car has a lot of character – making it look nothing shy of a supercar of the current generation. Nothing is overdone and every little edge or curve seems well-thought-out. Perhaps, it comes from his culmination of childhood dreams and the subconscious desire to own a DeLorean one day. In fact, his automotive design journey was triggered by the dream-like cars of the 80s and the designs of the following decades.

The Boat Tail, a coupé born from the patrons’ enduring love for the sea and taste for nautical design, was designed specifically to celebrate the hand-craftsmanship and relative history of yacht building. Three coupés inspired by nautical shipbuilding design have been built under the modern coachbuilding department at Rolls-Royce. Merging today’s advanced technology with the trusted bespoke coachwork of yesteryear, the Boat Tail’s hand-formed chassis cradles a 19-foot bonnet that covers the car’s 6.75-liter V-12 engine. The stone azure coat of the Boat Tail slopes to a wisped finish around the rear and borders the motorcar’s painted pantheon grille.

This all-electric car is actually Vecchia’s first automotive design project. It reimagines the popular Fiat 126 model from 1972 to fit in our current scenario where vehicles are headed towards a fuel-less future. Fiat 126 is a four-passenger rear-engined city car, introduced by the brand at the Turin Auto Show as a replacement for the Fiat 500; it was one of the most successful models with a total production of almost 4.7 million units. Vision 126 has a balanced aesthetic of vintage and modern. While the concept has square headlights to resemble the original model, making it slightly slimmer would slightly more modern look and take off some visual bulk from the front. Vision features radial vents in a way where they are integrated within the steel cap which is similar to the original wheel design.

The Bertone-designed Stratos Zero further escalated the car’s face value a notch higher. Decades have passed, but the edgy four-wheeler is still alive in the subconscious of automotive enthusiasts like Shane Baxley. Having his feet deep in the Hollywood community (his work features in movies like Captain Marvel and The Predator), Shane is creative in designing automotive concepts. His latest work is the Bertone Stratos Bax – a remake of the Bertone Stratos Zero in an upbeat modern makeover that’s utterly desirable. Renders of Baxley’s latest concept are jaw-dropping, as I already want to open the gull-winged doors of this beastly supercar and drive it on the open roads. He has contoured the ride’s ultra-sharp edges just at the right places in the right proportions to give it that hot appeal. The flowing design and the fat tires with the hollowed-out rim lend it a very street-legal racer DNA, ready for any challenger on the other side of the lane!

Looking like something either out of a videogame or a movie about videogames, this is MCLExtreme, an amped-up vision of what a fully-electric F1 will look like in 2050, courtesy McLaren. Sparing literally no detail, and quite literally painting an incredible picture in the process, McLaren’s vision for 2050 has quite a few interesting predictions. A completely electric drivetrain is a given, considering Formula One’s gradual drift towards it. The cars won’t just be electric, they’ll charge wirelessly too. The track will supply power to the cars at strategic intervals as they drive in circles. However, where it gets interesting is that McLaren says that in order to charge effectively, drivers will have to slow down to gather more energy. Drive slow and you charge more, drive fast and you save time. The concept of the pit-stop doesn’t exist in 2050 either. The car’s tires will be crafted from a much more durable and self-repairing material that makes them last longer and eventually repair over time, therefore never needing replacing.

Spotify launches its first hardware device, a touchscreen player for your car called the “Car Thing”

While its name probably makes it sound like something an executive at Spotify thought of overnight, the Spotify ‘Car Thing’ has been in the works for years. It honestly makes sense, considering every one of Spotify’s competitors is in the hardware space too – Apple has the HomePod Mini and the AirPods complementing its Apple Music, and Amazon has the Echo series of smart speakers tying in with Prime Music. The Car Thing helps Spotify enter the hardware space too, and solidify its position in the one area where the market still remains untapped, and where honestly people require music/radio/podcasts the most… the car.

Picture this… you’ve got a long, 30-minute drive to work. A decade ago, you’d switch the radio on and listen to the news or some music. Now, you’re most likely to tune into your favorite podcast episode, or play music from a playlist on your streaming service. The software has evolved, although the hardware’s still playing catch-up. Not every car comes with a smart dashboard, and it can be a nuisance to constantly lift up your phone and unlock it to pick a song or a podcast episode… especially when you’re driving. That’s where the Car Thing comes in.

Issued as a limited release, Spotify’s Car Thing provides a bridge between your car’s speaker system and your favorite online streaming service. Available for free to a select group of applicants (you can sign up on Spotify’s Car Thing microsite), the Car Thing is a nifty little dashboard that brings Spotify to life in your automobile. It runs a version of the streaming company’s Car View, a simple interface that’s easy to use and navigate while driving, and while the device DOES have a touchscreen, it comes with physical dials and buttons that you can instinctively operate with your hand as you keep your eyes on the road.

The Spotify Car Thing is built to be compatible with vehicles regardless of make or model and displays a home screen with a touch-sensitive navigation dial slightly overlapping the screen to make the device look visually dramatic. The device comes with voice-controlled search too, and you can simply summon songs, artists, and playlists by using the command “Hey Spotify” before your query. Alternatively, you could rotate the dial to navigate the dashboard, increase or decrease volume, or press it to select songs or play/pause music. A button right below the dial lets you go back to the home screen, and 4 preset buttons on the top let you instantly play songs, stations, podcasts, or playlists of your choice.

Ultimately, the Car Thing works as a bridge between your phone and your car’s speaker system. It doesn’t sport a speaker of its own, instead, it connects to your car’s built-in speaker system either via Bluetooth or an aux cable. It still requires your smartphone too, given that it can’t connect to the internet independently. Sure, that sounds like a bit of a drag, but what Spotify is betting on is a much more intuitive and easy-to-use interface that lets you listen to your favorite talk shows and music without fiddling with your phone as you drive. The Car Thing ships with three mounting accessories for connecting it to a vent, the dashboard, or the CD player, and can be powered either by the USB port in your car, or a USB adapter that fits into the lighter socket. Sadly, the Car Thing isn’t quite available to the general public yet. You need to sign up on the Car Thing website and Spotify states that the device will only be available to “select” Spotify Premium members. To make up for that, the company is giving the Car Thing away at a 100% discount on its $79.99 price-tag. All you really need to pay is a nominal $6.99 shipping fee.

Designer: Spotify

The Car Thing sports a 4-inch touchscreen, with a durable construction and matte-textured rubber controls that are responsive and easy to use.

A rotating dial lets you quickly cycle through elements on your interface, and you can simply push the dial to select an item within your menu or press the home button below to go back to your home screen.

The upper edge of the Car Thing spots 5 buttons – 4 for dedicated presets, and a recessed button on the extreme right lets you either quick/mute a song, or access your settings. The device even comes with 4 microphones on the top, laid out in between each of the buttons, that run Spotify’s adaptive interference cancellation technology to help tune out the background noise and focus on your voice commands.

Each Spotify Car Thing ships in a kit that includes a USB cable to power the device, a 12V adapter for your car’s lighter socket, 3 different mounts to choose from, and a rubber cover for extending the primary dial’s lifespan.

Someone Turned a Volkswagen Inside Out and It’s Messing with My Mind

Volkswagen messed with people earlier this week by trying to convince us that they had changed their name to “Voltswagen.” It turned out to be an April Fools joke in the end, but it definitely ruffled some feathers because they made the announcement on March 30, which convinced journalists that it was actual news. But you know what Volkswagen news isn’t an April Fools joke? This inside-out Golf GTI.

The guys at Concours d’Lemons posted this insanely-deformed Volkswagen on their Facebook page. I’m not sure who built this monstrosity, but it looks like something that might have happened if you sent a VW through a transporter beam and something went horribly wrong during the reconstitution process. Where is the driver supposed to sit? I guess they’re just supposed to hang onto the wheel for dear life. Also, the idea of seeing your own taillights while driving is so wrong. Stop tailgating yourself!

On the plus side, Volkswagen can claim that it has zero emissions because all of the exhaust ends up inside of the car. Or is that the outside? I’m so confused.

This Apple Car concept has ‘familiar’ cheese-grater inspired wheels, and supports wireless-charging

You know Apple is dead serious about something when not a single structural detail ever leaks out to the press. It’s easy for iPhone designs or MacBook designs to leak out to the press nearly a year before the product is actually announced. With Apple’s supply chain, it’s difficult really to keep things under wraps, but when Apple’s working on something that’s still in its conceptual stages, there’s absolutely no chance anyone will ever get to see what it looks like. It’s why we know that Apple’s working on a folding phone, an AR headset, and even a car. Sure, we know that they’re working on these products (because the company probably wants to gauge public opinion), but nobody knows anything about how the Apple car will look – whether it’ll be a coupe, a sedan, a minivan, a pickup truck, or a pod… zilch.

That informational-void is the perfect playground for designers like Emre Husmen, a transportation designer who arguably created a better conceptual Tesla truck than the company itself. According to Husmen, if Apple were to create a car, a minivan would be its best format. As demonstrated with his concept, the Apple iV (iVehicle, or iVan) minivan would come with a clean, no-nonsense design language best associated with the brand, along with the glowing Apple logo once seen on the company’s MacBooks. Available in the three colors often associated with the brand’s image (white, space gray, jet black), the iV looks large enough to seat well over 4 people, but the presence of only two doors would indicate a seating pattern that’s different from that commonly found in minivans. Look carefully and there’s a green dot beneath the Apple logo on the front as well as the back, possibly indicating the presence of self-driving sensors. The car even comes with a pretty large boot, edge-lit headlights and taillights, and a rather interesting looking wireless-charging feature on the underside of the car, pairing with wireless charging pads built right into the ground.

Well, that’s a fairly detailed description of the car, but what would they collectively indicate? It seems like Husmen’s vision of an Apple Car is more of a shuttle service than your average fashionable sedan or roadster. While Apple’s all about flair and fashion, the iV has much more of a laser-like focus on public transport and on passenger safety, given the car’s large boxy appearance. The car probably self-drives, and can automatically drop and pick people up, sort of like a never-ending carpool service… except for when it has to refuel. Refueling, at least according to Husmen, is wireless and contact-free. The car simply parks itself over a charging hub and electricity flows through the ground and the car’s wireless coil located on its base. Another rather whimsical detail lies in the car’s wheels, which come with a pattern of circles that look an awful lot like those found on the iPhone camera bump or on the ‘cheese-grater’ Mac Pro from 2019! Now while this is more of a visualization exercise and less of a prank, it’s difficult to say if Husmen included that detail as a tongue-in-cheek way of reminding us of Apple’s polarizing design detail. Personally, I just hope nobody on Apple’s design team ever really considers using that cheese-grater texture anywhere (although Apple DID patent a ‘cheesegrater’ iPhone recently). That aside, if someone at Apple wants to look at this concept for inspiration, I’m all for it! An Apple minivan actually wouldn’t be a bad idea. I can even imagine the insides being outfitted with screens that play AppleTV content!

Designer: Emre Husmen

Image Credits: Emre Husmen

This Microsoft self-driving car concept takes aim at the ambitious Apple Project Titan

People have been arguing over ‘Windows vs Macintosh’ for decades, but the extent of that ideological battle has only been as far as computers are concerned. With the Microsoft Surface car concept, that feud extends into the world of transportation too!

Meet the Microsoft Surface Car, an automobile that beautifully channels the sleek aesthetic of Microsoft’s Surface laptops into its automotive design. Visualized by Yang Gu-rum, an automotive designer based out of Korea, the Surface car concept shows how design details from tech products can seamlessly be carried forward into car-design. The Surface Car comes with a relatively boxy yet sleek design, dominated by flat surfaces and straight lines. Channeling the same visual language of the Surface tablets and laptops, the car sports a satin-finish silver body, with black accents and tinted glass. The absence of a radiator grill indicates that the concept is powered by an electrical drivetrain, and it wouldn’t be too risky to assume that the car also has some form of a self-driving AI built in. There are no renders of what the interiors of the car looks like, but judging from its design, it seats two people. The vehicle sports camera-based rear-view mirrors, and remarkably streamlined LED strips on the front and the back, serving as headlights and taillights… not to mention that Microsoft logo that shows up on the top right corner of the front of the car, as well as on both doors.

Although there isn’t any indication that Microsoft is working on an in-house production car (and that this car over here is just a fan-made design exercise), the Surface Car does definitely look fascinating. Not to mention the fact that it would definitely make the Apple vs Microsoft rivalry a whole lot more interesting too! I just hope the car doesn’t come bundled with Cortana…

Designer: Yang Gu-Rum

Ford begins sharing its driver-collected accident data with other car makers

There would be fewer accidents if drivers could tell each other about accidents and other potentially dangerous obstacles. That’s why Ford has started sharing its own car data, which includes airbag activations, emergency braking and fog light usage,...

Samsung is bringing SmartThings dashboard to Android Auto

Samsung is bringing more cars into the SmartThings ecosystem. You’ll be able to start or stop the engine of compatible vehicles with the SmartThings app, and activate the heater or AC before you step inside your car. The feature won’t arrive until at...

The Future of the Formula 1 is edgy, enclosed, and electric, according to this concept

Take a quick glance at Meelis Lillemets’ concept car and you’ll instantly recognize it to be a racecar. It’s nailed all those proportions perfectly, but look a little closer and you see that while it broadly resembles your preconceived notion of what an F1 racecar is supposed to look like, Lillemets’ conceptual racecar is, in fact, quite different-looking.

Titled the Formula-E Concept, the automobile is a combination of contemporary and past styles, with a boxy exterior that’s reminiscent of F1 cars from the 70s and 80s, along with an electric drivetrain that’s a nod to Formula 1’s future. The car sports a dual-tone carbon-fiber outer body that boasts of an edgy, boxy aesthetic. While the aesthetic itself is a retro-inspired one, it gets a modern treatment thanks to the exposed carbon-fiber pattern paired beautifully with the car’s incredibly sleek paneling.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable details on the Formula-E concept is the closed cockpit, a pretty recent design mandate from the F1 regulating body. The cockpit’s transparent panel sits absolutely flush against the car body, with no visible seam or parting line. The entire panel opens upwards and forwards, accessible via latches on the back. The cockpit is positioned right at the front of the vehicle’s main mass, leaving the back area for the electric drivetrain and the battery-unit. Air intakes on the sides supply the motor and the brakes with cool incoming air, while a pretty large battery-pack means the car could potentially complete the entire race without needing a recharge!

Designer: Meelis Lillemets