In some eyes, autonomous vehicles sucks the fun out of driving, which is why Pininfarina’s new mobility concept is aimed at helping enjoy travel in new ways 

Pininfarina has launched a digital concept car that aims to reimagine what the future of autonomous mobility looks like. Chief concerns of the project was how to create a social space where people can interact with each other and the outdoor environment. 

Developed in using VR technologies and in collaboration between the Cambiano and Shanghai design teams, the concept was unveiled at CDN’s Car Design Dialogues Asia event. Called Teorema, the project hopes to recall the sense of fun and freedom that came with the postwar boom in automotive culture. Built on the Bentler rolling chassis and featuring fold-flat seats from iconic Italian future brand Poltrona Frau, Teorema has three modes: autonomy, drive and rest, which allow for a variety of uses with the roof extending upwards to allow people to walk into the vehicle as if entering a living room. 

Pinin’s chief creative officer Kevin Rice explained how the platform allowed for various experiences. “First and foremost, the very flat skateboard chassis from Benkler gave us complete package freedom to allow us to arrange the seating setup exactly as we wanted: the neuron seating position, this pentagonal approach with a very narrow section at the front where the driver can really enjoy privately his connection with the road. The vehicle then widens behind the driver, then narrows again slightly for the rear passengers. 

“And that also gives this feeling of these different spaces: wider space in the middle is this Plaza type approach to space in the middle. And then of course, it’s the vertical split itself, which splits the private from the communal area. And then of course, the other really important thing is artificial intelligence, technology and data manipulation, which allows us to create these various different experiences. 

All these things are there to allow us to put across our vision of how experiences for the future should be possible so that people have a new way of enjoying the journey.”

Through innovative technology, the car connects its passengers to the outside world explains Xavier Blanc Baudriller, head of experience & industrial design at Pininfarina. “The vehicle is always like sensing what is around it. And part of that are the functions of the local buildings. So for instance, there’s two real time data processing and interpretation the car would know that it is approaching an industrial area,’ he says. 

“And this is then relayed through the colour change in the interior. The passenger raises her hand to the side glass. She’s informed about the factory she’s passing but also about all the locations that she cannot physically see.”