The future of luxury cars will be entirely personalized, fully autonomous and exceedingly comfortable — at least if Rolls Royce has anything to do with it.
On Thursday, the venerable British automaker, which is now owned by BMW Group BMW, +0.57% , unveiled its first self-driving car, the Vision Next 100 concept car, a spectacularly ornate, futuristic land yacht that wouldn’t look out of place in the sci-fi classic “Tron.”
At nearly 20 feet long and 5 feet tall, the car features a zero-emissions powertrain, glass canopy roof and virtually invisible wheels, which are tucked inside the sleek chassis (Got a flat? The robot will fix it). But it’s inside where the Vision Next 100 really shines, sporting a silk sofa — or as Rolls puts it, “a beautifully textured, ivory-coloured luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed” — deep wool carpet, hand-crafted Madagascar wood paneling and a big-screen TV.
There’s no steering wheel, but you won’t need Jeeves to drive you anyway. That will be handled by Eleanor, an artificial-intelligence program can both drive and function as a fully interactive personal assistant.
As a concept car, it will likely never go into production, but is instead meant to represent what the future of Rolls Royce automobiles may look like in 2040.
“With the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past,” said Rolls Royce Director of Design Giles Taylor. “We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque.”
In a not-so-subtle dig at the simple, bubble-like self-driving car that Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG, -1.19% GOOGL, -1.08% Google is working on, Rolls says their concept “rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility.”
“Each Rolls-Royce will be designed less like a car, and more like an individual sculpture made from one seamless surface,” the company said in a statement. “This is a presence that proudly announces its arrival, and lights your entrance with a personal red carpet.”
“This is automotive haute couture,” Rolls said.