UC Students Ahead Of The Curve Inside Self-Driving Vehicles

May 1, 2017

Right now car companies are focused on  making sure self-driving vehicles can safely navigate the road. But when all the kinks get worked out they'll turn their attention to the car's interior to best suit drivers who don't have to drive.

University of Cincinnati DAAP students are already imagining ingenious interiors. Professor Juan Antonio Islas Muňoz wanted to enhance the experience of riding or driving a car which brings the interior to a "whole new level of importance." He says, "We as a school, have the freedom to choose areas that are probably a little bit ahead of the curve."

This is Cameron Bresn's car which opens up into the lounge.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

Senior Cameron Bresn has lounge chairs facing one another inside his long sleek silver car.“So part of the design incorporates either a completely open part of an interior space like this or individualized screens that come down and that’s where you can interact with your entertainment or work that you might need to do."

After graduation Bresn is going to work for Faraday Future, an electric vehicle start-up in California, where he will do interior car design.

Victor Fortmann, who has designed a self-driving Porsche model, isn't sure what he will do after graduation.

His dad is leading a project to develop autonomous cars at Harman International. Victor calls the driving experience a celebration. His car comes complete with a drone that handles your luggage and spare tire so  your car  "can stay really clean and uncluttered."

Out in the hall there's an autonomous Cadillac model. It could be used for a personalized car service. Using your smartphone it would have the car ready for you by presetting the color, temperature, music and seating arrangement.

For nature enthusiasts, student Joe Boniface has designed a Subaru compact truck that has a hammock inside. "There are no blind spots," he says. "You can take it in nature and see all of nature."

Using a virtual reality headset, I get a closer look at a self-driving tractor from John Piper. The 33 x 12 x 12 "can be piloted but this cab is able to detach as well then it's just a droid so you don't even have to be in it or around it."

John Piper designed this tractor to be autonomous in the field but have a driver on the road.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

The designs may be reality down the road. Last week Chrysler, Tata Motors and GM got a look at them and were thoroughly impressed.