So much of the interior of a car is defined – even restricted – by certain needs. You need to see, you need to steer, you need to be facing a certain way. And so whether you have a Maserati or a 1992 Nissan Micra, most of the stuff in your car will be the same – especially its dashboard, speedo, steering wheel, windscreen, gear stick, rev gauge, etc.
But as driverless cars modify those needs, so car interiors will no longer be constrained by them.
So what will the car of the future’s dashboard look like? What will we lose? What will we gain? And is there anything that will have to stay the same?
We looked at new technology, forthcoming technology and what might be round the corner, to imagine what the dashboard of the future might look like.
Enjoy our before and after….
The dashboard of today
Wave goodbye to:
- Prominent, fixed steering wheel
- Gear stick
- Biiig, clear windscreen
- Gauges and dials – fixed speedo and rev gauge
- Horn (that driverless car in front can’t hear it and wouldn’t do anything if it could)
- All those alerts, symbols and lights – the car will simply react and take action. You might get a text message requesting more oil if it needs it, but it will read: ‘I have alerted Pete’s Motors and will take myself there for more oil tomorrow at 11am’
- Even your driver’s airbag could disappear if crashes become rare enough
- Satnav (your car already knows where it’s going, you just told it)
- The reverse parking camera
- Indicators (your car has alerted all the other cars as to where it’s going wirelessly)
The dashboard of tomorrow
Say hello to:
- The ‘on’ button
- Large touchscreen dashboard computer that mirrors your phone, tablet or computer and displays it on the screen-on-your-screen.
- This will allow you to email, watch TV, play games or make yourself into a leopard/badger/old lady on Snapchat
- It will also allow commuters to ‘be at work’ in the car, just as many work on the train.
- On-screen movies (Ford are already looking at this)
- Most cars will probably retain some informational display – temperature, distance from destination etc. – but this may well be displayed in the HUD (head-up display) that plays movies.
- Your hidden, pop-out steering wheel. The steering wheel is now more like an airbag than an essential tool: you only need it in emergencies.
- Some car companies will no doubt use the now redundant space to do something ‘awesome’ – something needless and cool. Mercedes’ prototype car suggests a beautiful street-view/satellite view satnav.
- You can’t see it, but tucked into the middle of the dashboard is a microphone that can hear all your commands – like Alexa or Siri.
- Also tucked away are some manual controls that you might need in an emergency: the bonnet release, windows etc.
- You may well be able to decide to black out the windows so you don’t have to look out.
- One essential piece of the dashboard that will remain, will be the manual hazard lights. Yes, there will be voice operated and automatic hazards for most situations – but it is important that anyone inside can warn others of any danger.
What else might we see on the dashboard of the future? What else will go from current ones? Let us know in the comments below.