Yuchen Cai, a graduate of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has created the Float as her vision of the car of the future. The project has been announced as the winner of a competition organized by French automotive brand Renault and students of MA Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins‘ college in London.
Yuchen Cai spent two weeks at Renault’s design studios at its Research and Design facility in Paris over the summer, working with senior designers to hone her Float idea. Whilst there, she experienced cutting-edge technology such as a full-size virtual reality suite, which puts the designer right inside the car.
The concept of the design is based around the car becoming more of a social space. In Cai’s design, the car of the future provides a new way of connecting with people through tessellation, connecting with the outside world more thanks to the application of large swathes of glass and will also be ‘non- directional’ with the ability to move in any direction at any time without the need to turn around.
Such is the design of Cai’s autonomous vehicle concept, it allows pods for either one or two people to be made. Through the geometry of these designs, numerous pods can be attached via a magnetic belt that runs around the exterior so more than two people can travel together.
Ingress and egress are easy thanks to swiveling bucket seats coupled with sliding doors, akin to those found on the London Underground. A control on the seats enables the passenger to rotate their seat, open up a sound system to speak with passengers in pods connected to theirs and change the opacity of the glass – providing exclusivity or inclusivity according to the passenger’s requirements.
Cai’s winning idea also included a smartphone app with which users would be able to rent a Float at the touch of a button. Similar to how one would hail an Uber or Addison Lee in the present day, pods would be available to rent for one journey or for numerous days.
A model of The Float has been shown at the Renault stand during this year’s London Design Festival.
all images and video courtesy of Renault