Bentley’s take on the driverless limousine

Holographic ‘driver’ could be the future for the luxury car brand, although Bentley is not looking to ditch the driver in a hurry.

Bentley’s take on the driverless limousine
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Holographic ‘driver’ could be the future for the luxury car brand, although Bentley is not looking to ditch the driver in a hurry.

REMEMBER Johnny Cab, the autonomous taxi in the original Total Recall film? Somebody at Bentley clearly does, with this sketch hinting at the brand’s far distant autonomous future clearly channelling some of the same thinking, only with face-to-face seating and for billionaires.

It is, the company admits, done for fun rather than as evidence of any serious production attempt, being shown by newly arrived design director Stefan Sielaff during a presentation on the future of Bentley design. But still, it’s proof the company is considering how the top-end luxury market will respond to self-driving cars.

“We have had the equivalent of autonomous cars for the last 100 years in Bentley, from the point of view of the rear seat passenger who had a driver,” he explained, “the way of living is going to change dramatically in the next 20 years, if you look at the world population three quarters will live in megacities. I’m pretty sure that not everybody will sit in public transport, there is always the demand – especially for luxury customers – to have a private sphere, their own private vehicle.”

Bentley -Mulsanne -interior -seatsThere are also plenty of clues dotted around about technology that we will be seeing in Bentleys in the not-too-far distant future, with the same quilted wood panels that were shown in the Speed Six concept (and which will probably end up in the new Continental) and OLED displays built into panels that Sielaff admits the company is already working on. Notice, also, the use of fabric rather than leather; Bentley reckons that the next-generation of eco-aware buyers are likely to want to move away from the idea of hide everywhere. Even the virtual butler, seen here as a hologram projected from the central table, is being actively considered.

“Luxury is always related to service,” Sielaff said, “people don’t like the idea of just talking to a hidden microphone, we are thinking of how to personalise the next generation of communication in different ways and this could be one of them.” 

 

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Mike Duff
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