Toyota Designer Sees A World Where Cars Are Replaced By Pods

Autonomous driving technology and electrification have the potential to drastically change how cars are created and Toyota’s new design chief has revealed two possible scenarios.

In an interview with Reuters, Simon Humphries said he could see a future where cars are transformed into generic boxes or ultra-luxurious vehicles designed for the super rich. As he explained, the combination of autonomous driving technology and electric powertrains could eliminate the need for individuals to own cars.

In essence, customers could use their smartphone to order a ride and have an autonomous EV pick them up and take them to their destination. The rich, on the other hand, could demand ultra-luxurious transport pods that hearken back to the age of custom railroad coaches. As Humphries stated, “There will be an emotional solution and a practical solution. So maybe the story is that the middle ground is increasingly going to disappear.”

Toyota hinted at this possibility earlier this year when they unveiled the e-Palette concept. The concept was essentially a box on wheels with an open interior that could be customized to meet the needs of its owner. Toyota envisioned the concept could be used for everything from delivering packages and pizza to transporting people as part of a ride-hailing service.

There’s no word on what the future holds but Humphries noted “Everything in a car, from a design point of view, is based on a 100-year old package – engine in the front and a driver holding a steering wheel behind.” He went on to say once people no longer have to drive, a whole world of possibilities open up.

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  • Matt

    I can’t believe one of the world’s largest automakers was tasked with designing a future mobility concept and that’s what they came up with.

    It’s not the fact it’s a pod, it’s that it looks like a 1st-year design student came up with it.


      • Benjamin B.

        Is that where my hoes are?

    • Nick099

      That’s collectivism for ya.


    Not digging this pod to be honest. Oddly enough, I imagine a world where Toyota’s cars didn’t have grills large enough to swallow up a Smart Fortwo.

    • Six Thousand Times

      You just don’t want your grill to swallow up your meat.

  • james.

    Of course they came up with a boring box design… They’ve been doing it for years.


  • john1168

    MOST of Toyota’s vehicles look like crap (there’s a couple that do look good) so they might as well turn all of their vehicles into generic looking pods. It can only help them with their lazy/ugly designs.

  • Six Thousand Times

    As long as there are some sort of electric Caterhams for track days.

  • Knotmyrealname

    These views just look like so many science fiction movies we’ve seen over the years. Can’t say we didn’t see it coming.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    “Toyota Designer Sees A World Consumed By Hell”

    Fixed the title for you.

  • Toronado_II

    Sad time ahead…

    • john1168


  • eye.surgeon

    Of course it’s on ultra-low profile wheels/tires, like every good concept vehicle, despite the fact it’s an airport shuttle.

  • Stephen G

    i see a world where Toyota designers stop taking hallucinogenic drugs.

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