Cars As Living Spaces: The Next Wave of The Future
Posted by: Lydia on 7/02/2018
The way in which we live is evolving, and as Australians‚ we’re seeing big changes firsthand. Across our cities, apartment towers are going up and new conversations being sparked about the spaces in which we work and live. But what if we told you cars will play a big part in this?
It’s true! There’s a lot of attention being paid each day to electric and self-driving cars on the roads, but there’s something else coming, too: the potential for these cars to be used as living spaces. Here’s a look at this intriguing concept.
A living room on wheels
There are many possibilities for the future as cars become living spaces in their own right. So what does that actually mean for our day-to-day? Basically, cars could be designed to not only serve as vehicles for transport, but as mobile spaces for entertainment - a third living space, if you will. Sure, your current car may have a stereo - and even a TV - but this is a huge step beyond that. No longer would your car and its devices be an accessory to what you’re doing, but rather the focal point. They could be driven directly into our homes as an integrated part of our living space.
Cars as living spaces could change our lives like smartphones and tablets have, freeing us from old limitations and giving us an entirely new way to go about our lives and business.
All roads lead to cars as living spaces
Understanding where we’re going means we need to start with where we’ve been. To paraphrase famous Ferrari driver and truant teen Ferris Bueller, “Car tech moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it”.
For years now, the average Aussie car has been a technological marvel - digital‚ online‚ and able to integrate with your other tech devices. This trend has seen the gear from our homes and offices shift into our cars. It makes sense that the shift could also move the other way.
What cars in our homes could mean
It’s easy to see how the self-driving car is technology that will make our lives easier. No longer will we need to sit in the driver’s seat, bored in a traffic jam on our daily drive to work. Instead, we can ride in the backseat, enjoy our morning coffee, and (even if still caught in a traffic jam) just relax. These benefits are obvious, but the rise of the self-driving car also offers rich potential for the home.
For example, carrying the groceries back and forth from the car is rarely any fun. It doesn't matter who you are - even if you’re a gold medal weightlifter for the Australian Olympic team, a can of pineapple digging into your thigh or a heavy bottle of detergent falling on your foot is a sad event. A self-driving car could fix irritations like this, bringing goods from the shops directly into your home.
Driving home our connection
Cars have always been a huge part of our pop culture. Visit any Australian home, and odds are good you’ll find a car chase on TV, a car poster in the garage, and some car toys scattered around the kids’ bedrooms. Many car fanatics have already completed the transition of their car from an outside gadget to an inside conversation piece.
When done right, a car in your home isn’t tacky, but cutting edge - the sort of bold but stylish statement that confirms your love of cars, and a willingness to be in the driver’s seat as a trendsetter. And given that Australians’ homes are on average 189.8 square metres, odds are good that there’s room to fit a cool and compact vehicle under your roof if you really want to.
The potential for this shift from garage to living room is also really exciting for the potential competition it could spark. Recent years in the auto and tech world have shown there is a healthy appetite for new offerings, from Apple’s iPad to Elon Musk’s Tesla, and apps like Netflix and Spotify.
Consumers embrace new technology and goods if they feel their lives will be enhanced, even if once upon a time the idea of carrying around a digital book, driving an electric car, or throwing away your CDs and using your computer for music instead seemed a bit odd.
New competition in this field will benefit all of us car fans. By shifting the car from something that is parked on the street to a device we use often in our homes, we stand to benefit from the pressure to innovate and deliver new technology to market. That’s a win-win inside the home and out.
What shouldn’t happen
The future of cars in homes will likely be confined to self-driving and electric cars, of course. Parking your old gas guzzler in a small living room is unlikely to win you friends. It could also be a hygiene issue and a health and safety problem.
The self-driving car should make parking inside a home easy, but any human-driven parking inside the home may give manufacturers pause in the design process. However one looks at it, trying to park a car anywhere near a kitchen bench or coffee table will be a difficult task. As a trip to your local shopping centre will confirm, not everyone is an all-star when it comes to parallel parking.
We are becoming more interconnected than ever with our cars. The potential for a car to integrate further into the Australian home - like being used as an emergency power generator during a blackout - is very real. It could also be very useful. Across the auto industry, we’ve seen many vehicles bridge old divides, like the Jeep Wrangler Pickup.
This concept is really something Australia may be more prepared for than just about any other country. In the early days of cars in Australian, foreign vehicles had to be converted to deal with the tough and gritty conditions of local roads and climates.
Driving up to the Top End, catching the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania, and heading out west across the Nullarbor are all famous journeys. Now, instead of us going further with our cars, our cars will come closer to us in daily life. Australia has always been prepared to seize on innovation and drive it home. In the future, we may just have a chance to drive it into our homes.
What else excites you about cars becoming living spaces? Let us know in the comments below: