The steering wheel is one of the things technology might soon phase out if the plight of driverless cars comes to pass. Soon, there'd be no wheel to grip, and travels will be done using only your voice: Say, "Take me to the nearest Target," and it will.
Jaguar's Steering Wheel Attaches To Any Car
Jaguar, however, would like to redefine that unfortunate fate and change the steering wheel's future. It has thought up a bizarre concept: a portable steering wheel which can be attached or detached to cars. It's meant for a world where driverless cars are the norm and where people don't own cars anymore but order them when they need to go somewhere.
The steering wheel, named after designer Malcolm Sayer, is powered by artificial intelligence and acts like your gate pass. It's essentially your key to any car. Need to go somewhere? Order a car, take the steering wheel, plug it in, and be on your way. The AI onboard would likely act as a concierge, Engadget notes. It would enable the user to link to an on-demand service — much like Uber or Lyft — and let you order rides.
"Imagine a future of autonomous, connected and electric cars where you don't own a single car, but instead call upon the vehicle of your choice where and when you need it," said Jaguar, describing Sayer.
Will People Decide Not To Own Cars In The Future?
Of course, the key word here is "concept," which pretty much suggests this may be nothing more than a pipe dream. But who knows? Perhaps in a number of decades or so this will be the norm. Concepts, after all, steer the direction of innovation. They're somewhat like goal posts, however seemingly unachievable, for designers and innovators to get toward.
For what it's worth, Sayer at least presents an interesting evolution of our attitude toward cars. Imagine a concierge service cheap enough that consumers will actually think twice before owning a car. Granted, the idea of people foregoing vehicle ownership seems like a stretch, but totally not impossible.
With that in mind, however, who says you need a steering wheel? Why not just use a smartphone to order cars, especially considering Jaguar's vision of the future involves a totally driverless car service? There are several holes in its concept, that's for sure, but it still gives us an interesting thought experiment: Instead of making cars better, fancier, faster, why not focus on how can we create a future where it's something you don't even need to own anymore?
Think about that for a moment.