PriestmanGoode has unveiled a concept for an autonomous, electric ride-hailing vehicle for London, which is designed to accommodate a wide range of user needs for journeys up to an hour. New Car for London also acknowledges the unique role that transport design can play as an emblem of a city or country. From the yellow taxis in New York, to the Shinkansen train in Japan, the vaporetto in Venice or the Paris Metro, transport is fundamental to how we experience our environment, both as locals and as tourists.
“Cities risk losing their unique identity as a result of the globalisation of the major ride-share apps,” said PriestmanGoode‘s creative director Dan Window. “We wanted to address this. While our new concept could be adapted to any global city, the vehicle you see here has been designed with London in mind. The idea is for the New Car for London to live alongside the city’s existing transport icons, like the tube, the double decker bus or the black cab, and create a new offer that adds to London’s great transport landscape.”
Informed by PriestmanGoode’s expertise in human-centred design and in transport design, the New Car for London combines simple geometric forms with angular details inspired by London’s brutalist architecture. At 3.6 metres in length, the New Car for London is the size of a compact vehicle, but with maximised internal space. The vehicle has been designed with a large amount of glazing to give passengers a view of the city. An information strip on the door provides key information, ensuring passengers know they’re entering the vehicle they’ve ordered. An illuminated front grille, side cameras and integrated indicators provide clear markings and ensure visibility for other road users and pedestrians.
PriestmanGoode envisages that an app will enable passengers to configure and tailor the interior to suit their needs prior to entry into the vehicle. At the push of a button, the two main seats that face each other on the opposite side of the doors can be extended to create a kind of sofa, while two additional seats can be unfolded to accommodate additional passengers. The interior colour palette includes contemporary blue, portland stone, oxford blue with punctuations of brick red and electric cyan.
PriestmanGoode has also ensured that key passenger anxieties surrounding hygiene and safety that have resulted from the pandemic are integrated within the design. The New Car for London includes a hand sanitiser dispenser, washable materials such as waterproof laminate textiles, leather and recycled plastic, while integrated UV cleaning ensures the vehicle is cleaned after every journey.
Another feature of the New Car for London is an integrated first aid kit. Window explains “The last few months have really highlighted the importance of supporting one another. As we develop future vehicle concepts, we wanted to explore how they might benefit communities more widely. We’ve envisaged that they could support emergency services through intelligent design elements. This integrated first aid kit, for instance, could help provide support in emergency situations while waiting for first responders. For us, it’s really about thinking beyond just the individual user, and to consider the positive impact that future mobility solutions could have on communities.”
The New Car for London is PriestmanGoode’s second autonomous vehicle concept, following the Dromos vehicle unveiled in 2020, which is currently under development.