Rolls-Royce on Thursday offered the world a glimpse of Vision Next 100, the automaker's vision for a driverless future. That vision was manifested in the form of the 103EX, a luxury autonomous vehicle that's free of a steering wheel and equipped with an ivory-colored "throne."
The 103EX, billed as a a "grand sanctuary," is one of four "Vision Vehicles" Rolls-Royce parent BMW announced back in March during its centennial celebration. Now BMW and Rolls-Royce are looking ahead to the next hundred years, during which driving could be relegated to nothing more than a pastime.
"With the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past," says Giles Taylor, director of design for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
While careful not to dwell on the past, Rolls-Royce is looking to reintroduce the world to an opulence and grandeur of days long gone. The automaker wants owners of its autonomous vehicles to make the sort of "grand arrival" as did the stately carriages and coachbuilt limousines of old.
To convey that stately feel and the "importance" of Vision Vehicles occupants, Rolls-Royce designed the 103EX about as big as a carriage. The car is over five feet tall, so some people won't even have to duck into it, and is nearly 20 feet long.
Making use of that nearly 20-feet build, Rolls-Royce and carved out additional storage space between between the cabin and the front wheels. The storage compartment opens automatically whenever motorist disembark from the vehicle.
That storage space would be claimed by a V12 engine, if this prototype wasn't based on ideas of a time when the combustion engine is retired to museums. Rolls-Royce isn't sure what type of engine it'll be using 100 years form now, but it's certain it wants its rides to continue to reign in the luxury during that time.
"The Rolls-Royce patron will continue to be a famous figure in the future," Taylor says. I think "the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 will play a key role in these people's lives, guiding and conveying them effortlessly through their life's journey in an exquisite sanctuary where they can reflect in peace ahead of arriving in the grandest style."
For those who were unable to attend the event in London, Rolls-Royce has released a 360 stream so that consumers can dive into the experience via virtual reality. Check out the video below: