Automotive

Designer creates stained-glass driverless concept car

Artist Dominic Wilcox has created a stained glass driverless concept car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
Artist Dominic Wilcox has created a stained glass driverless concept car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
View 16 Images
Artist Dominic Wilcox has created a stained glass driverless concept car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
1/16
Artist Dominic Wilcox has created a stained glass driverless concept car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car proposes that a passenger could be driven to their destination while they sleep (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
2/16
The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car proposes that a passenger could be driven to their destination while they sleep (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car uses hydraulics to open and close its stained glass shell (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
3/16
The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car uses hydraulics to open and close its stained glass shell (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
A view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car with its shell illuminated (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
4/16
A view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car with its shell illuminated (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
A rear view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
5/16
A rear view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
A front view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
6/16
A front view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
Dominic Wilcox demonstrates how the shell of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car is opened and closed (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
7/16
Dominic Wilcox demonstrates how the shell of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car is opened and closed (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The inside of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
8/16
The inside of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The construction process of the shell for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
9/16
The construction process of the shell for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The glass cutting is planned for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
10/16
The glass cutting is planned for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
Glass is fitted into the frame of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
11/16
Glass is fitted into the frame of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The Middlesex University Product Design Department assisted with the base and frame for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
12/16
The Middlesex University Product Design Department assisted with the base and frame for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The glass detailing of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
13/16
The glass detailing of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The frame of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
14/16
The frame of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The frame for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car is carried to the glass workshop (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
15/16
The frame for the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car is carried to the glass workshop (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
An early sketch of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
16/16
An early sketch of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)

Driverless cars are accelerating towards reality, with plans for UK tests next year, Audi being issued California's first autonomous driving permit and Elon Musk claiming that the technology is just five to six years from maturity. All this begs the question, what will driverless cars look like? If artist Dominic Wilcox has any say in the matter, they will look like mini cathedrals.

Wilcox created the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car for the Dezeen and Mini Frontiers exhibition as part of London Design Week. His design is based on the supposition that, in the future, driverless vehicles will be much safer than those driven by humans and will therefore not need the same safety equipment that is present in today's vehicles. Nor, of course, will they necessarily need the controls that are present in today's vehicles.

"We will simply require a living space on wheels," posits Wilcox on his website. "The technology of the motor and driverless, automated navigation system will be held within a standard, modular chassis, on to which any living space shell can be built. I am presenting one example of the type of vehicles possible and have designed a prototype for a driverless car made from stained glass. This vehicle is a single person 'sleeper car', the occupant can sleep on a bed while the car travels to the destination of choice."

A front view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
A front view of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)

Wilcox's car has a rolling chassis with 10-inch Mini wheels. On top of that is fitted a stained-glass shell that lifts hydraulically to allow a person to enter the vehicle. The shell has a wooden frame that was created using a computer-controlled cutting machine.

The stained glass was fitted using the copper foil technique, in which adhesive strips of copper are used to line the glass sections before the sections are slotted in place and the copper strips are soldered together. Inside the car, there is only a bed, meaning the passenger can sleep whilst being driven to their destination.

The inside of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)
The inside of the Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car (Image: Sylvain Deleu)

The stained glass car is, of course, a fun, tongue-in-cheek concept, but its purpose is to make a serious point. The design and features of the driverless cars of the future are not yet defined and we have an opportunity to rewrite an aspect of automotive design as we know it. Rinspeed produced a more earnest idea of what a driverless car might look like last year, with its XchangE concept.

The Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car is being exhibited at the Dezeen and Mini Frontiers show in London until September 21st.

In the video below, Wilcox provides an introduction the the car.

Sources: Dominic Wilcox, Dezeen and Mini Frontiers

Behind the scenes with Dominic Wilcox making his "stained-glass driverless car"

7 comments
Bob Flint
Artists getting a little ahead of themselves, if & when the driverless vehicle comes to pass, most likely plastered in warning stickers, or advertising...
SuperFool
there's no time like the present to be someplace else. I foresee a wide hi-res screen and a bar so people can completely be someplace else, while they're going someplace else.
BigGoofyGuy
I think it is more of a stained glass trailer than a driver-less car. I think it is a neat art project.
mooseman
Interesting as an art work but I can't see it being popular as a car. It just has that "too far-out yuck-naff" aspect to it - a bit like those ridiculous cockroach-like solar cars that you see in the "Solar Challenge" in Australia.
Mel Tisdale
"The design and features of the driverless cars of the future are not yet defined and we have an opportunity to rewrite an aspect of automotive design as we know it." When the day dawns that all the currently unforeseen situations have been foreseen and catered for in the design, then perhaps we might be able to restructure road vehicles. Until then, I will want to travel in vehicles that are not going to kill me because some clown thought that there was no longer the need to provide safety features such as crumple zones, air bags, steering column collapse systems etc., which required fundamental design structures and components and in turn constrain just how a road vehicle can be constructed. Regarding sleeping in one, I would be too busy clenching my buttocks to get a wink of sleep! As for this particular concept, all it needs is a vicar or a priest to round it off.
owlbeyou
It's basically a tongue-in-cheek artistic expression of what a driverless car might look like, but seriously, these types of vehicles are more than 5 or 6 years away. The complexity of integrating driverless cars within the existing grid will be challenging indeed. These cars may take you to your destination someday, but since you'll be reading or sleeping or doing anything else besides driving, you're going to get there rather slowly. So all the other cars will be zipping around you and avoiding you, which can become hazardous. Also, when and if someone gets killed riding one or causes incidental injuries to anyone on the road, it will create a big controversy. In 5 or 6 years, these (non-stained-glass) cars will still be limited to dedicated roads, because the technology requires the grid to change as well as these vehicles themselves, which necessitates even more years of integration.
Bruce Crosby
raises the question, doesn't beg it
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.