Geneva Motor Show - This autonomous driving concept vehicle is not the first ‘future vision’ from Icona, but it is the first to be exhibited at Palexpo - a major step up for this fledgling Turin design studio.
The Nucleus is a combination of futurism and a human-centred mindset, says Icona, presupposing the advent of technology that will make level five fully autonomous driving a reality, with the focus no longer on the road but the destination.
Not having a driver not only obviates the need for a steering wheel a dashboard, but also provides an opportunity for a new understanding of mobile living spaces. Technology, believes Icona, should be felt but not seen, resulting in a ‘less is more’ approach.
The concept is big by today’s standards, 5.25 metres long, 2.12 metres wide and 1.75 metres high, rilling on 26 inch wheels. It has no bonnet or boot, just a smooth ‘monobox’ profile with a full underbody diffuser and wheel arch aerodynamic blade extensions, and the maker clains a drag coefficient of just under 0.25. There’s only one door, a power-operated sliding panel on the right, and no side glass in the traditional sense; semi-transparent body-color panels allow the occupants to see out from the vehicle but prevent others from seeing in.
Now that all the occupants are passengers, flexibility becomes the priority. There’s no reason that we should be limited to sitting in rows; an asymmetrical layout different seat designs means you can configuring the space according to your mood and preferences that day.
The Nucleus can accommodate six people on one big seat in front and one in the back, which be moved, or even rearranged to form a couch. A small workstation with with three laptop connections means every trip can be used for work or leisure.
Mobility in the future will be very different from today, says Icona design director Samuel Chuffart, with a large number of shared self-driving electric vehicles as individual or small group shuttles, reducing the number of vehicles on the roads. But even private cars will spend much less time parked, he says. Your car will be able to take you to the airport, come back to pick up the kids from school and then later, take the in-laws to a doctor’s appointment.