This stained-glass driverless car is one designer's vision of the future

·Editor at Large
Dominic Wilcox's stained-glass 'driverless' car
Dominic Wilcox's stained-glass 'driverless' car

British designer Dominic Wilcox has a distinct vision as to what the future of transportation will look like by the year 2059. Wilcox believes we will live in world free from traffic incidents, traveling in driverless cocoons that require none of the same safety regulations we see today – such as airbags, seat belts and even bumpers.

Debuting at the Dezeen and Mini Frontiers design festival in London this week, an exhibition set to demonstrate the future of mobility, Wilcox has unveiled his vision for the future: an autonomous car festooned in cathedral-like stained glass windows, with no seats inside – just a bed.

As you can see in the video below, Wilcox uses classic Mini wheels to pay homage to the British icon, and the handle from the Mini's diminutive trunk activates the hydraulic-assisted glass shell. The frame is simply made from wood, and there is no interior to speak of – just the bed – because Wilcox predicts we won't be concerned with safety; traffic accidents will become extinct thanks to a seamlessly integrated network of autonomous machines.

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The idea of stained glass derived from a visit to Durham Cathedral in England, where Wilcox was struck by its beauty: "I wanted to bring the visual experience I had in the cathedral into a new, contemporary, three dimensional form," he says.

The hand cut glass utilizes copper foil technology, much like a Tiffany lamp. In Wilcox's mind, drivers won't own cars in the future, they'll order from a selection of vehicles to pick them up, choosing between various styles and themes, like a four-seater laid out as a retro 1960s restaurant, or a seven-seater decked out as a contemporary office – or even a one-seater mini cathedral car with a bed.

Wilcox sleeps in his 'driverless' car of the future
Wilcox sleeps in his 'driverless' car of the future

However we imagine the future to be, Wilcox's design is indeed thought provoking. It begs the question: Can a world without traffic accidents truly ever exist? And what will become of the car enthusiast?

Which ever way you spin it, the shape of transportation is ever evolving. I'm not sure I buy into WIlcox's entire vision, primarily because I believe there will always be some form of an avenue for those of us who love to drive. But every so often, like during a traffic-infested, god-awful early commute on the 101, a comfy bed in a glass box does sound mighty appealing.

Photo: Sylvain Deleu