IKEA just became the latest company to announce it’s experimenting with self-driving cars. Well, calling them cars isn’t quite right. While the Swedish furniture giant isn’t looking to become the next Tesla, they’re taking an entirely different approach to the concept.
SPACE10—IKEA’s future-living lab that introduced its mealworm meatball—has partnered with f°am Studio for an autonomous vehicle project. IKEA expects that the self-driving cars of the future will serve a different purpose than cars do today.
Space on Wheels: Self-driving cars by IKEA
One day, instead of traveling to go to the doctor, meet friends for coffee, picking up groceries, go shopping, or running other errands, all those services can come to you. In an Uber-like experience, you’d pull up an app and essentially hail what IKEA is calling a “space on wheels.”
“The day fully autonomous vehicles hit our streets is the day cars are not cars anymore—they could be anything,” says Bas van de Poel, a creative strategist at Space10. “The primary function of transportation disappears to give rise to other functions. It could be an extension of our homes, our offices, our local cafe.”
SPACE10 and f°am Studio want to explore how individuals can be transported from point A to point B while doing something interesting at the same time. With this idea of transportation multi-tasking, the project imagines seven autonomous vehicles:
Office on wheels
This autonomous vehicle is a flexible workspace on wheels. Instead of wasting time commuting to work, you could work on the way to work. It’s not so different than what Apple, Facebook, and Google already offer with their Wi-Fi shuttles. Although studies have shown that we work too much.
Self-driving café on wheels
When your high-rent urban apartment barely fits you, having people over can be a challenge. This IKEA concept is a mobile café where people can meet to socialize.
Healthcare on wheels
Low-income communities often lack access to healthcare services, either because of too few clinics or doctor locations. So, instead of people needing to travel long distances to receive these services, medical professionals could come to them in self-driving clinics.
Self-driving farm on wheels
The idea of a farm on wheels would be to bring fresh, locally grown produce to food deserts while helping local farmers expand their businesses.
AR on wheels
Offering augmented reality and real-time content, IKEA’s pitch with this concept is an educational experience.
Hotel on wheels
Kind of like an extended train trip, people could get some shuteye while traveling to their next destination.
Self-driving shops on wheels
Though eCommerce is on the rise, people still want to physically see, touch, or try on products. Thus, this concept is essentially a traveling showroom or pop-up shop.
To experience these self-driving concepts for yourself, download the SPACE10 app to see them through your phone via augmented reality.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.