Self-driving cars are getting the Ikea treatment
The Swedish conglomerate's Space10 designs seven cars who definitely have the Ikea look
Ikea is synonymous not only with affordable items for the home, but with a clean, spare look. Now its lab Space 10 is taking a swipe at self-driving cars and their design. There are seven different concepts in total, all with a unique focus. One is a café car, that serves up coffee on the go. Another is a pop-up store, and a third is an office on wheels, so you can truly squeeze in some meetings before the workday begins.
While cars are already getting autonomous features from the ability to self-park and to maintain a constant speed, a mainstream vehicle that completely drives itself is still a future concept. Still, experts believe fully autonomous cars will eventually be on the roads in larger numbers than the few trials happening today. When they do, there's bound to be a new look to the inside of these people movers as a driver's seat — or even a seat at all — will no longer be needed.
Ikea is not the first to imagine a new shift in how autonomous vehicles may look on their interior and exterior. Nor are they unique in imagining a road-worthy vehicle with unique spaces inside. Anyone who has traveled with a band on the road, or rented a simple motorhome, has hit the highway with bedrooms, bathrooms, and an occasional bar packed inside.
Some of Ikea's concepts have a bit of a twist, taking full advantage of the car motif to put some services, traditionally rooted to an office or landlocked to the ground, on the road.
There's the Farm on Wheels, a modern angle on the 19th Century produce cart — with fresh fruit, vegetables and even mobile miniature farms wending their way along city streets. Hotel on Wheels lets you bunk while you travel, akin to the Winnebago, but here a computer is taking care of making sure you get to your destination.
Healthcare on Wheels offers a social spin by putting doctors back on the road, and making house calls. While mobile medical clinics are not uncommon today, a self-driving vehicle means more medically-trained people can fit inside the interior, and potentially help more people.
None of these vehicles are in planned production — nor will you see them for sale at an Ikea near you. But for anyone eager for a closer look at the concept cars, Ikea's tapping another technology it's toying with, augmented reality, letting people get a closer virtual view of the vehicles by downloading the Space 10 iOS app. Ikea's famous meatballs are not included.