Jaguar’s latest concept car, FUTURE-TYPE (they seem to want it shouted in all-caps) looks a lot like other deep-future concept cars we’ve seen before, though there is one key difference here. Instead of just making a concept car, Jaguar has also made you a life partner, in the form of an artificially intelligent steering wheel named Sayer that you can talk to. Seriously.
Look, here’s what Jag themselves have to say about it:
At the heart of the concept is the world’s first intelligent and connected steering wheel. This steering wheel lives in your home and becomes your trusted companion. Sayer – named after the designer of the E-type - is the first voice-activated Artificial Intelligence (AI) steering wheel that will be able to carry out hundreds of tasks. It can summon your car, play music, book you a table and even knows what’s in your fridge. Sayer signals your membership of our on-demand service club. A club which offers either sole ownership or the option of sharing the car with others in your community, meaning that you need only fully own the steering wheel, not the car itself.
Need to be at a meeting two hours away from home by 8am tomorrow? Simply ask Sayer from the comfort of your living room and it will work out when you get up, when a car needs to autonomously arrive at your door and even advise which parts of the journey you might enjoy driving yourself.
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The idea of this talking steering wheel companion just makes me think of some kind of lame-ass ‘80s buddy cop show. It’d be called Sayer It Ain’t So and there’d be lots of dialog like
“We’re sure in a jam this time, Sayer!”
“Hang me up on that coatrack over by the door—I have an idea so crazy it just might work!”
Some parts of this concept do make a lot of sense—if car sharing is going to be a thing, then being able to take your own preferences and settings and nav history and music with you and have any car you get into use that is, of course, a fantastic idea.
But all that stuff is just data; you could store it all on your phone. Why the hell would you want to lug around a foot-wide talking torus with you everywhere, even if it was your “trusted companion?”
Plus, it’s going to be so weird when someone eventually finds you trying to make out with your life-partner steering wheel.
Just in case all that life-partner AI steering wheel stuff doesn’t make you disgorge your morning’s Boo-Berry into your lap, this should help:
“Curate your digital enviroment by choosing different orbits.”
The car itself has a narrow, streamlined look with separate wheel pods that we’ve seen in concept cars many times before. I like the pert little duck tail and the linear taillamps, and the FUTURE-TYPE also has the obscured-window look that has become more and more popular ever since autonomy has become a featured trait of concepts.
The door design is novel, appearing to lift-and-slide forward, giving good access to the interior, which seems well-supplied with wood. The interior layout is a 3+1 with ‘social seating,’ which seems to mean that you can reconfigure the seat arrangement when the car is driving autonomously so the passengers inside can face one another and discuss how Sayer the steering wheel is getting in the way of their relationship, and it’s serious this time.