It's the future. All that stuff in your car's cabin? You'd think we wouldn't need it, freeing us from the tyranny of the steering wheel forever. Theoretically, Bangle says, seating position could change several ways, making it closer to the way a bus is designed, for instance. But that doesn't necessarily mean everything we associate with driving will be done away with. As an example: "Do you have to wear seatbelts in a taxi? Yes. Do you drive the taxi? No."
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Car designer Chris Bangle has spent years designing forward-thinking vehicles, so now, with self-driving cars just legalized in California, we decided to pick his brain on what's next for the automobile that no longer needs its master.
Today's self-driving cars mostly look like the human-commanded variety; they just act automatically. But as they become more viable for mass consumption--by 2020, Bangle believes--they'll need to be streamlined. Here are some thoughts assembled from Chris Bangle Associates S.R.L. about what the car--if there is a "car"--might look like when it's ubiquitous, in 2050.
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There's also the matter of how far into the future we're talking about. A still-drivable self-driving car--in other words, one that functions both ways--might act as a stopgap toward a full-fledged driverless vehicle, but in the meantime, designers won't be taking anything out that's necessary for traditional driving.
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