Expect to see the design of cars heavily influenced by both mobility and autonomous changes, Ford’s Joel Piaskowski told Paul Myles.

As the consumer’s mobility demands change from car-ownership to car-sharing, automaker designers are having to completely rethink what the car of the future will look like.

Speaking exclusively to TU-Automotive at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Joel Piaskowski, head of design Ford of Europe said it’s vital that designers keep pace with the consumer’s changing demands.

He said: “The changing landscape of mobility will have a significant influence on the design of motor vehicles. With the project of trends and the opportunities this involves design from the inside out. Then also in an autonomous world where you’re not driving the car it may mean designing for shared vehicles and simple taxiing services.

“As designers, we have to think about what types of needs consumers then will have for example, getting in an out of a car that is shared, how are you going to keep that car clean? Will this be done with scanners or cameras and how do you avoid the intrusion into personal security issues and such?”

Naturally, it’s impossible to fully second guess what future demands from the car’s design will involve, said Piaskowski.

“At this moment in time, quite frankly, there are a lot of really important questions to ask,” he said. “I think that with the vehicles that are more owner biased, that’s where you’ll see the greater opportunity for personalisation, aesthetic differentiation where customers will not want to give up all that they know and love about cars today. What we need to look at is the next extension of that desire but done in a benefits the customers’ lives.”

 Piaskowski hinted at some major cabin design changes coming with the driverless vehicle coming on the near horizon. The space would be able to accommodate office, lounge and even bedroom functions. He explained: “At Ford, we’ve already gone on record that we intend to go straight to the autonomous level that eliminates the steering wheel. That’s because it eliminates the false sense of security of having a steering wheel when you should be in full autonomous mode.

“Of course, the advantage of autonomous is that you can get some of your life back – you don’t have to focus on what’s around or in front of you, you can be productive or just catch up on sleep.”

Autonomous Vehicle & ADAS Japan 2017

15 May 2017 - 16 May 2017, TOKYO, JAPAN

Autonomous Vehicle & ADAS Japan 2017 is an information and networking platform that brings together key stakeholders in the ADAS and autonomous value chain to discuss the biggest challenges, understand how the technology is evolving, and establish partnerships to enable the next phase of driving safety and autonomy.