As carmakers and technology firms plan for a future of fully autonomous cars, growing attention is being paid to how the interiors of such vehicles will look.
And in an early sign of how driverless cars might differ from today’s vehicles, General Motors has revealed that it hopes the latest generation of its self-driving Cruise AV will be the first production-ready car with no steering wheel, pedals or manual controls.
GM has filed a Safety Petition asking the US Department of Transportation for permission to deploy the fourth-generation of its self-driving vehicle – the first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate on its own – in 2019.
An image of the car interior shows a broadly familiar cockpit design with one notable difference: there is extra space where the steering wheel and pedals would normally sit. As a result, there is no clear distinction between the traditional driver and passenger sides of the car.
Another feature of the design is the lack of mirrors – after all, if a human isn’t driving, they won’t need to check for vehicles behind them. Instead, the image suggests the usual mirrors have been replaced with sensor technologies as part of the car’s self-driving systems.
In interior design terms, the proposed cockpit is more of an evolution than a revolution. But the message it sends is clear. Before long, the driver won’t be the person sitting in the front seat.