Jaguar Land Rover has a new concept vehicle out that looks quite similar to a few concept vehicles from other automakers (Tesla sort of included). It’s basically part of a new class of vehicles that designers apparently think will become the norm as the industry evolves into autonomous transport.
Instead of just being a shiny toy for an auto show or CES, as you might expect from a concept vehicle like this, Project Vector is actually scheduled for deployment in a pilot program in 2021 in Coventry, England. “Autonomy-ready” Project Vector can have an interior designed for private use, shared mobility, or delivery services.
The press release about the vehicle is full of fluffy words, the bane of automotive journalists today. I do think this is an interesting comment on where the company sees the industry going, though: “Future urban travel will be a composite of owned and shared vehicles, access to ride hailing and on-demand services as well as public transport. Our vision shows the vehicle as a flexible part of the urban mobility network that can be adapted for different purposes. The intention is to collaborate with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to plan a mobility service from late 2021, as a living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry.” We’ve hosted countless long debates in our comment threads about how soon self-driving vehicles are coming and how they will change our transportation habits. Will people still be keen on private ownership, or will the better economics and ease of shared mobility take over? Jaguar Land Rover seems like it’s had the same debates internally and decided to resolve the issue by designing a vehicle for everything that can just follow the trends in the market.
However, the overall design of Project Vector does seem like it was designed for shared mobility more than anything else. Tesla featured similarly designed minibuses in videos for The Boring Company. Toyota showed a comparable concept vehicle, also built around flexibility like Project Vector is, at CES in 2018. Cruise recently rolled out a similar concept vehicle. For certain reasons, this is apparently just the design of an optimized autonomous, electric, connected vehicle.
“It’s also a unique opportunity – a concept platform designed and engineered around urban centric use cases by a major car maker as a blank canvas, for developing tailored services and apps in the ecosystem of a smart city,” Dr. Gero Kempf, Chief Engineer, said.
What do you think — do you expect to buy or roll around in a Jaguar Land Rover Project Vector in a few years? And by the way, where’s the robotaxi tech coming from — in-house work at Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Waymo, mysterious AI wizards?
Images courtesy Jaguar Land Rover