How self-driving cars will impact car design trends—In partnership with Mitsubishi Motors

selfless-driving-car Photo by chombosan/Shutterstock

By Cottage Life Staff

Cars today are built to be driven. Once they drive themselves, the floodgates will open up in terms of design and choice. Expect these trends to catch on in the era of self-driving vehicles:

Right-sized trips. It’s a well-known phenomenon of car ownership: everyone buys a vehicle that’s one size too big for their everyday needs. Once fleets of self-driving electric cars take over, that will be a thing of the past. When you hail an autonomous vehicle on your phone, you’ll state the purpose of the trip and be sent the vehicle you need: a miniature two-seater, a five-seat sedan, an SUV, or a passenger van.

Purpose-built vehicles. Most car trips don’t need any trunk space, so in the future most cars won’t have any. Miniature two-seat two-wheelers, which take up half the space of a traditional sedan, could become common. While cottagers prefer vehicles with lots of space to be prepared for any eventuality, the truth is that they typically need the big trunk only for the cottage opening and closing. The rest of the time a smaller vehicle may well suit them fine.

Radical interior redesigns. Once the car drives itself, and there’s no steering wheel, there’s no need for all the seats to face forward. Some prototypes already have seats configured to face each other around a table. The crokinole tournament now begins on the drive up!