Silicon Valley is convinced that self-driving cars are the future of transport, and that in a few decades, we’ll look back at the vehicles of today — massive hunks of glass and metal hurtling around, powered by dumb humans — with disbelief. But aside from eliminating the need for a driver, most current designs for self-driving cars, like the Tesla Model S, don’t deviate that much from the look of today’s standard four-wheeler.
Outward Looking, a new conceptual design by Dutch duo Niels van Eijk and Miriam van der Lubbe, is among the more sculptural and imaginative takes on reinventing the car. Commissioned by Volvo, the design consists of jaggedly stacked rectangular prisms, each walled in one-way mirrors. Passengers on the inside of the vehicle have full, unobstructed views of the car’s surroundings without being seen themselves. From the outside, the mirrored moving sculpture lets the car blend right into the scenery. “The vehicle no longer claims attention for itself, but reflects the outside world,” the designers said in a statement. “The spacious interior provides an unobstructed view in all directions and from all positions.”
The object is virtually unrecognizable as a car: it has no wheels, no visible engine, and no other identifying car-like features. Passengers enter the stepped space through a small opening in the middle cube, and once inside, they can sit, stand, or lie down. The designers imagined a future free of the cacophony and pollution of today’s roadways: “The world has changed too: noise barriers and motorway lighting have become superfluous and have disappeared,” they said. “Everything in the design encourages maximum perception of all this.”