Rolls Royce recently debuted its first ever Vision Vehicle, the Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100, to also honor the 100 years of its parent company, BMW. This new Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100 has been developed to give us a look into Rolls Royce’s future of autonomous cars. Designing such a car, one that’s both impossibly futuristic and packed with technology but also old-school and luxurious is an incredibly difficult task. However, the team at Rolls Royce was able to do so and at its launch, Rolls Royce Chief Designer, Giles Taylor, gave a few words about design at RR.
“Time is luxury” said Taylor. “The more we can do to make time seem longer, to sort of bend the laws of physics, and that’s the reason why the clock is in the center of the dashboard because time is the ultimate luxury.” This works with the fact that this Rolls Royce Vision Concept is fully autonomous, because it gives its supremely wealth customers more time to do whatever it is they need to do while the car drives itself. So, in a way, they’re actually receiving more time.
When asked if this Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100 was designed for someone specific and if RR created an ideal person for this car, Taylor said “Yes, we did”. He spoke about how Rolls Royce does this with other vehicles as well, such as the Dawn. But for this concept in particular “We believe it’s a husband and wife couple, probably British, living in Mayfair”. He continued to say that the couple “Enjoys glamorous holidays, nightlife. The setting of the car, the red carpet is part of the soiree aspect”. Rolls Royce is said to imagine cars and design them around their customers.
Rolls Royce is also working quite a lot with active manufacturing of new materials for automotive development. When asked about this Taylor spoke about some of the new types of manufacturing that not only Rolls Royce but the BMW Group as a whole could be using. “We’re looking at companies, both in Europe and North America, that can give us access to advantages in printing automotive skins”
However, despite the fact that such 3D printed kind and panels could be used in both extreme heat and cold, the BMW Group isn’t using any of this just yet. “There are 3D printer panels on vehicles and we’re making sure that there’s a future for coachbuild that’s well beyond the romantics of hammers on aluminum” (he actually said aluminium because, ya know, British).
One of the most interesting aspects of the Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100 is its artificial intelligence system, Eleanor. “We’ve watched the film [2001: A Space Odyssey] and we like this idea that intelligence in the future has the ability to get pretty intimate.” referencing HAL, the artificial intelligence system in the aforementioned film. Hopefully, Eleanor isn’t as murderous as HAL. But Taylor did say that Eleanor can see you in the car. “For example, she can see and you we said last night, if your tie is crooked, she’ll tell you.” Eleanor can also exist outside of the vehicle, in your connected world of smart devices. “We want to watch the world of our customers, so there’s no reason why she shouldn’t exist outside of the vehicle.”
The Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100 is a polarizing vehicle, one that is both fascinating to look out (regardless of whether or not you like the look of it) and filled with really interesting features. From its artificial intelligence system to its autonomous capabilities to its red carpet exit, the Rolls Royce Vision NEXT 100 concept is far beyond anything else we’ve seen.