Concept cars are rather like science fiction – in that they never quite come true, and they say more about the time in which they’re designed that the time in which they would supposedly exist.
But that’s half the fun of designing them, I guess, and it looks like there’s still plenty of folk in the auto industry’s blue sky labs who know how to dream big… or who play a lot of computer games. Pink Tentacle has a bunch of concept vehicle drawings (or rather renderings) from Mazda, Toyota, Nissan and Honda that look like a mash-up of Akira, Wip3out and Stephan Martiniere; if this is what the freeways of 2050 will look like, crossing the street is going to be a crazy experience.
That’s the Mazda Motonari RX; to quote Pink Tentacle:
The vehicle drives sort of like a street luge. Acceleration and direction is determined by two armrest mounted control points, and the vehicle’s exoskeletal frame shape-shifts in accordance with the position of the driver’s arms and legs when enveloped in the seat. Four omnidirectional wheels allow 360 degrees of movement, and the tread expands or contracts to suit the driving conditions. A “haptic skin” suit consisting of millions of microscopic actuators enables the driver to experience the road psycho-somatically while receiving electrical muscle stimulation from the onboard AI guidance system (or other remotely located drivers).
No mention of how much a tank of gas will cost… though Toyota’s design apparently sidesteps the issue by being “powered by pollution”.
There’s a certain irony implicit in the automobile industry being one of the last bastions of sleek’n’shiny futurism in these times of bright green thinking; I’d love to see streets full of things like this, but I’m not going to hold my breath.