Nissan Motor Co. believes that in the future, there will be self-guided tourist vans and small vehicles that could cruise even through pedestrian malls, as well as cars styled by fashion designers or home DIY enthusiasts. Rachel Nguyen, Nissan's director of global upstream planning, disclosed that the carmaker's planners are imagining what consumers will want in future decades, not just in the next four to eight years.
One of its futuristic concepts has been dubbed as the We Lounge self-driving vehicle -- which combines a minivan, airport shuttle, rental car and taxi.
The We Lounge could be rented by a family or a group of conventioneers to tour a city through the living room-style seating in the back without worrying about the traffic.
Another futuristic concept is dubbed as the Pedestrian on Wheels -- a small, zero-emission electric personal mobility vehicle for urban areas where cars are barred.
Some cities have already banned car use like in Florence, Italy. A number of planned cities barring cars in Asia and the Middle East are also being proposed.
The Pedestrian on Wheels is designed to allow one or two occupants to move through a pedestrian city without endangering other pedestrians.
Nguyen remarked that these concepts "may seem far out, but we have to look out beyond the usual four- and five-year horizon because things are changing so fast."
She added that these things could actually happen sooner than expected. She noted that seven years ago, consumers were cautionary about self-driving vehicles, but now they have become very accepting of the possibility of having an autonomous unit in the future. [source: automotive news - sub. required]