Peugeot believes that the rise of autonomous driving technologies could usher in a new golden age for vehicle design.
Speaking at the Paris Auto Show, where the French automaker revealed its retro e-Legend concept car, Peugeot design chief Gilles Vidal told Motoring that car designers shouldn’t ignore the freedom which self-driving vehicles give them.
“We see loads of prototypes looking like little pods, which can be fine and look like a science fiction movie, but there’s a danger the future might be very robotic and might lack soul,” Vidal said.
“In fact, if you watch most science fiction films the future is always dark and terrible. There’s no happy science fiction movie. I think designers should be more positive and look forward to a bright and interesting future.
“What we’re saying is you could take vintage shapes, it could be cool. Of course, our car still has all the same connectivity and functionality of a futuristic autonomous car.”
With the rise of autonomous technologies and electric powertrains, many car manufacturers have thrown style out of the window to design concept vehicles that focus solely on interior space and comfort at the detriment of attractive exterior proportions.
According to Vidal, fully-autonomous vehicles will probably come in a number of different shapes and sizes when they become commonplace in the middle of the next decade. This will likely include pod-like vehicles, those with a focus on design like the e-Legend, and traditional-looking vehicles with advanced self-driving abilities.
It remains to be seen if the e-Legend concept will find its way to the production line. With the sports car market shrinking, that’s not likely, but Vidal says he’d love to see it reach the roads.
“We made it in a realistic manner — even the wheel size is the same as a production car – so it’s not far from reality. OK, maybe the front overhang is too short for regs…”