Panasonic unveiled its autonomous car concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, which features a futuristic peak into the future of the car interior.
At the event, Panasonic executives discussed a future filled with “bubble-like” cabins that carry people to their destination. Instead of facing forward, passengers would sit opposite each other, with a table in the center that doubles as an interface.
The autonomous cabin would have no steering wheel, brake, or gas pedal, making this a Level 5 concept, the highest level of road autonomy. Most states and countries have legalized Level 2 autonomy, and some are pushing for Level 3.
Panasonic expects major change in what people do when inside a car. Instead of focusing on the road, people will be free to watch videos, check documents, play games, and be social.
Without the human controls, Panasonic believes it can reshape the design of a car to be more cyclist and pedestrian friendly. The bubbles previewed at the talk take up a lot less space on the road, and may require less energy to move.
Full autonomy is still a couple of years away, depending on how quick infrastructure and regulations are set in place to make autonomous cars safe on public roads. In the meantime, Panasonic will continue to test its autonomous vehicle, learning more and feeding that data into its future fleet of self-driving cars.