Those driverless cars you see in science fiction movies and TV shows is now becoming more of science and less of fiction. The science of driverless cars is in fact already upon us as car companies and a search engine company are attempting to iron out the bugs and perfect the technology of driverless cars. Google is already working on what it calls its “smart car” while Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, and ride-hailing service Uber are already test driving their respective self-driving technologies.
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It’s only natural that other car manufacturers will be entering the fray, and so, enter the new Vision Next 100 from Rolls Royce, designed and developed by Giles Taylor, the company’s director of design. The new driverless vehicle was unveiled last June 16, 2016, at the Roundhouse Arts venue in north London.
Like other Rolls Royce models, the Vision Next 100 driverless car is supposed to help whoever owns it announce their importance to the world, that is, being one of the elite, most discerning, and most powerful patrons in the world.
The Vision Next 100 is a purely “autonomous vehicle” with no steering wheel and a silk “throne” wherein occupants can merely sit and watch while on their way to their destination. Though the unveiling was somewhat short on technical specifications, Rolls Royce did not hold back on physical descriptions and dramatizations.
What’s Inside the Vision Next 100?
The silk throne described earlier is a silk sofa that can seat two on a sort of backseat and with no access to a steering wheel, since there isn’t one. There is a giant OLED screen that takes up the entire wall of the front cabin so passengers can watch a show or movie. The glass panel doors and roof can swing upwards as one so passengers can stand up while getting off or when boarding the vehicle. A step emerges from below the running board and a red light is projected.
There is even a secret back compartment that can extend and retract automatically to store luggage. The inside is lined with handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood paneling. The flooring is cushioned by the finest pile ivory wool carpeting. The importance of the passengers as elite is also highlighted by the car’s dimensions at a whopping 5.9 meters long and 1.6 meters high.
Basically, the car is run by “Eleanor” its own personal artificial intelligence assistant. All the passengers have to do is to give Eleanor instructions on where to go. Eleanor can also give information about the trip and even upcoming appointments for the day. The AI Eleanor can also bring the car around automatically when passengers are ready to depart.
Unfortunately, while the Vision Next 100 is due to be sold on the mass market by 2040, Rolls Royce didn’t reveal any details about its zero-emission engine or how it can cope with speed bumps.
Thus, it’s understandable that the concept car was hit with mixed responses. While some did praise the car, some described it as “sublimely crazy” or simply weird and even un-roadworthy. While others simply described the new car as “butt ugly.”
Photo by raniel diaz