Automotive

Jaguar's Future-Type concept plots autonomous course to 2040 and beyond

Jaguar's Future-Type concept p...
The narrow body of the Future-Type is designed for compact urban roads of the future
The narrow body of the Future-Type is designed for compact urban roads of the future
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A look at key points of Jaguar's Future-Type vision
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A look at key points of Jaguar's Future-Type vision
The evolution of the steering wheel?
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The evolution of the steering wheel?
The odd-shaped Sayer steering wheel doesn't look that comfortable to drive with, and it certainly doesn't look convenient to carry around from car to destination, but maybe by 2040, new materials technology will allow it to shrink down to wallet size
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The odd-shaped Sayer steering wheel doesn't look that comfortable to drive with, and it certainly doesn't look convenient to carry around from car to destination, but maybe by 2040, new materials technology will allow it to shrink down to wallet size
The Sayer would serve as an actual steering wheel, digital access key and personal assistant
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The Sayer would serve as an actual steering wheel, digital access key and personal assistant
The proposal of a 24/7 on-demand car service sounds like it will appeal to luxury car buyers, but lugging a big steering wheel around in a backpack or shoulder bag does not
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The proposal of a 24/7 on-demand car service sounds like it will appeal to luxury car buyers, but lugging a big steering wheel around in a backpack or shoulder bag does not
Jaguar Future-Type concept
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Jaguar Future-Type concept
The Future-Type would use an electric powertrain for clean, quiet commuting
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The Future-Type would use an electric powertrain for clean, quiet commuting
Jaguar Future-Type concept
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Jaguar Future-Type concept
At home, Sayer would work as a voice-activated assistant
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At home, Sayer would work as a voice-activated assistant
A sketch of the Future-Type's interior 
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A sketch of the Future-Type's interior 
Sayer sits in pride of place in the Future-Type interior
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Sayer sits in pride of place in the Future-Type interior
The interior of the Future-Type points to a high-tech future 
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The interior of the Future-Type points to a high-tech future 
A top-down view on the Future-Type 
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A top-down view on the Future-Type 
Heads-up displays have appeared on numerous self-driving concepts over the years, and the Future-Type is no different 
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Heads-up displays have appeared on numerous self-driving concepts over the years, and the Future-Type is no different 
Jaguar suggests drivers could take control of their Future-Type on a nice piece of road 
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Jaguar suggests drivers could take control of their Future-Type on a nice piece of road 
The Future-Type looks sketchy here, but we promise it's fully formed in real life 
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The Future-Type looks sketchy here, but we promise it's fully formed in real life 
Sketches of the Sayer steering wheel 
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Sketches of the Sayer steering wheel 
A concept sketch for the Future-Type 
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A concept sketch for the Future-Type 
A concept sketch for the Future-Type
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A concept sketch for the Future-Type
The narrow body of the Future-Type is designed for compact urban roads of the future
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The narrow body of the Future-Type is designed for compact urban roads of the future

A very different kind of Jaguar "F" Type, the all-new Future-Type concept leaps ahead a few decades, exploring what personal luxury transportation might look like in and beyond 2040. The new concept molds a sleek, self-guiding electric pod around the intelligent Sayer steering wheel previewed earlier this week. In Jaguar's greater vision, artificial intelligence coordinates your everyday transportation needs and takes care of many other daily tasks at the sound of your voice.

Jaguar's Sayer preview foreshadowed a connected device that could control more than just on-demand transportation, leading us to believe that it might double as Jaguar Land Rover's version of an Amazon Echo or Google Home. Indeed, that's what Jaguar has in mind, saying that Sayer's duties would extend beyond the car doors, and it would work as a voice-operated digital assistant helping with hundreds of basic tasks. Jaguar imagines it sitting at home and responding to commands to play music, book dinner reservations, keep track of the groceries and, of course, summon a car.

At home, Sayer would work as a voice-activated assistant
At home, Sayer would work as a voice-activated assistant

Where Jaguar's vision runs off the rails a bit is in using the steering wheel as a sort of digital car key or membership card. If you own a private car, the steering wheel would open it up, dock in the dashboard and let you take over driving responsibilities should you choose. If you're a member of Jaguar's on-demand car sharing service, Sayer would serve as your authentication, giving you access to the self-driven ride.

So it sounds like you have to lug around a steering wheel – pretty as it may be – between home, work, errands and other daily trips. We understand Jaguar wants to differentiate the dual-mode, human-drivable nature of its fully autonomous system from autonomous designs that do away with the steering wheel completely, but a portable steering wheel isn't the way to preserve luxury befitting of the Jaguar badge (or any badge). The concept is supposed to look 23 years into the future, but the steering wheel aspect feels mired 23+ years in the past – an intriguing future vision in 1985, maybe, but not 2017.

Now, trade out the steering wheel for a smartphone, key fob or something else light and pocket-sized and Jaguar has a compelling concept. It imagines the Sayer AI system taking care of multiple tasks to streamline your life. After simply telling it what time your business meeting is, it would wake you up in the morning, have a car waiting for you at the door, and make suggestions about the journey, perhaps pointing out spots to grab breakfast or stretches of road that you might have fun grabbing the wheel for a little man-machine joy riding. During the ride, it would also keep you connected with life beyond the car door, allowing you to summon your home, family, friend or work "orbits" from the cloud to check in on people, places and events.

Jaguar Future-Type concept
Jaguar Future-Type concept

It's easy to imagine how such a digital assistant could take things beyond basic transportation needs, too. For instance, Jaguar mentions that Sayer would know what's in the refrigerator, information it could use to automatically order groceries and arrange delivery using the self-driving fleet.

"Whether it's the exhilarating way they drive, the way they sound, the iconic design or the connection drivers feel with the road, customers tell us that their Jaguar makes them feel special," says Ian Callum, Jaguar design director. "With the Future-Type, we've been investigating how we can keep this emotional connection in a future world where people may choose not to own a car, or when a Jaguar is an autonomous, on-demand vehicle."

A sketch of the Future-Type's interior 
A sketch of the Future-Type's interior 

As for the actual Future-Type car, Jaguar has made it clear that it's an electric car with fully autonomous capabilities and selectable manual driving mode with automated driver assistance. And of course, nothing yells "future of autonomous driving" like a glass pod dropped on a semi-exposed chassis and faired wheels. The narrow body is optimized for tight urban streets and parking decks.

Inside, a unique 2+1 layout has each seat mounted on its own horizontal axis, a rear-facing front seat providing face-to-face interaction with the diagonal bench created by the front-facing driver and rear passenger seats.

Beyond the mention of an electric drive, Jaguar doesn't detail powertrain specs, but we guess many customers of futuristic on-demand car services probably won't even care how much power or torque is on tap, so long as the drivetrain is reliable enough to complete the journey from A and B.

Jaguar Land Rover revealed the Future-Type concept as part of its Tech Fest, where it also showed a stunning all-electric E-Type. You can explore the Sayer/Future-Type mobility system a little more in the video below. Interestingly, the faceless passenger of the future doesn't seem to be carrying the steering wheel as he steps into the car, so maybe Jaguar imagines it shrinking down to pocket size for easy transport. Still, the smartphone seems like an easier way to go.

Jaguar | FUTURE-TYPE

Source: Jaguar

7 comments
Daishi
Utopian future vs actual future. The reality is by 2040 an expensive vehicle that also serves as a personal assistant and supports autonomous driving allowing the driver to work or multitask would be protested by many as an amplifying factor of inequality and privilege. The car will monitor user behavior to see what they look at out the window to update their advertiser profiles in a timely manner for maximum revenue. Everyone laughed at the first article that argued office thermostats and temperatures are sexist and now it's a commonly held position by many. In the future I expect to read an article denouncing toll roads as institutionalized racism. It will be laughed at at first and 5 years later it will be a commonly held position and anyone who disagrees will be compared to Hitler. Protesting taxi unions will throw rocks at it like the ridesharing protests in Paris. It sounds pessimistic but in the future I expect to see many pro-UBI people taking political stance around expensive potentially enabling technologies that have potential to grow the gap of income inequality and failing to meet ethical code of conduct. The utopian future we want is unlikely to be the future we'll get because humans are human. By the time the bugs are worked out of Skynet I might be ready to welcome my robot overlords. Pretty car though.
Tommo
Rear facing passenger seat? Welcome to vomitville.....
RobertEhresman
So where's the bed?
Fast Eddie
As expected, all incumbent car makers are going nuts trying to announce electric vehicles. The impact of the Tesla Model 3 is obvious.
Matt Fletcher
Removable steering wheel for access?? This concept isn't much better than a middle school presentation concept and I don't think a kid in middle school would suggest having a removable steering wheel (really, really bad idea). Especially when Tesla already has fingerprint and most cars have proximity fab recognition tied to high end cars. And the staggered passenger seating with a back facing front seat is just as dumb that doesn't leave enough leg room. This is just another dumb concept from an Art school student.
CharlieSeattle
Lose the wheels! MagLev and/or Hyperloop is all I am interested in. Oh, and build the Space Elevator too!
Vernon Miles Kerr
Jaguar's body designs have made my heart go pitty-pat since I was a boy, but this design inspires my gag reflex. Here's hoping the company does some consumer reaction testing before releasing such a cat to roam amongst we humans.