How will driverless vehicles shape our future? New London exhibition explores the issues

A new exhibition exploring the world of driverless vehicles kicked off today in London, with researchers and designers on hand to address the ways in which autonomous vehicles will affect our everyday lives. 

The interactive design display will explore how autonomous vehicles could present the biggest shift in transport “since the transition from horse-drawn carriages to motorised vehicles”.

Held in partnership with the Royal College of Art (RCA), the exhibition – Driverless Futures: Utopia or Dystopia? – is taking place at the London Transport Museum’s Designology Studio. 

The RCA’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre and the Helen Hamlin Centre for Design are presenting the display, which will explore the world of driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project. 

Driverless Futures will explore the impact autonomous vehicles will have, while RCA designers will give visitors the chance to develop their own ideas for a driverless future.

The dawn of autonomous vehicles presents the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse-drawn carriages to motorised vehicles.
— RCA exhibition announcement

A series of pop-up events will address different aspects of autonomous vehicles: 

  • 9 March – Entertaining interiors
  • 16 March – What can be made ‘driverless’?
  • 6 April – Cars for Kids
  • 13 April – Autonomous Architecture

A debate will also be held – Driverless Futures: Utopia or Dystopia? – with a panel of experts investigating whether a world of driverless cars will mean less stress, less pollution and safer streets, or a dystopia of job losses, with streets and cities filled with intimidating machines and isolated people.

Rama Gheerawo, Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, said: “Rather than using the exhibition to sell the benefits of this technology, we decided to use the space as an environment in which visitors can explore the potential impact of these vehicles on their lives. 

“We used peoples' hopes to imagine a positive future – safer, cleaner and more inclusive – and their fears to describe a dystopian one – isolated, mechanistic, driven by profit and exclusivity.”