Carsten Astheimer, CEO of Astheimer Design, examined the implications of increasing autonomy for automotive interiors at the Future of Automotive Interiors Conference, held alongside this week’s Automotive Interiors Expo, in Novi.
He noted that the automotive industry is at its most significant crossroads in the last 100 years, as several key issues and the development of key technologies combine to create a perfect storm of change. Autonomy will solve many issues and create a mobility revolution, but with novel vehicle solutions come new questions about user needs.
Astheimer presented a case study of a recent project for which his company designed a concept for an executive autonomous vehicle. “We spoke to a number of different executives and asked them what they needed from an autonomous vehicle. As with the beginning of the automobile, one of the first commercial applications for AVs will likely be executive travel. Executive will be an area where there’s a premium that allows for a return on investment.”
He outlined his vision for such a vehicle: “It should be like a ‘first-class pod’. We’re taking a lot of references from other areas, so it would be like a first-class seating environment in an aircraft, so when you go from one to the other, you get that seamless driving experience.”