Ikea Rolls Out Self-Driving Car Concepts. There’s Absolutely Nothing Car-Like About Them
This is Ikea’s vision for the future of autonomous vehicles.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Ikea just became the latest company to announce it's tinkering with self-driving cars. But don't call Ikea the next Uber or Tesla. The Swedish furniture giant is taking an entirely different approach.
Ikea says the self-driving cars of the future will serve a different purpose than cars do today. One day we may drink, sleep, work and shop in autonomous vehicles. In fact, they're not cars at all.
The basic gist is this: Instead of traveling to go to the doctor, meet friends for coffee, pick up groceries, go shopping, or run other errands, all those services can come to you. In an Uber-like experience, you'd pull up an app and essentially hail one of the spaces on wheels. Ikea is calling the idea "spaces on wheels."
Ikea's Space 10 studio -- an innovation lab that's reimagined from Ikea meatballs to co-living spaces -- announced the project last week. In collaboration with FOAM Studio, they've unveiled seven space-on-wheels concepts that explore what our autonomous vehicle future could look like.
Office on wheels
This 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 this with their Wi-Fi shuttles.
Cafe on wheels
When your high-rent urban apartment is the size of a postage stamp (or you share with a gazillion roommates just to afford the rent) having people over can be a challenge. This concept is a mobile cafe where people can meet to socialize.
Healthcare on wheels
Low-income communities often lack access to healthcare services because there are few clinics or doctors close by. Instead of having to travel long distances to receive these services, medical professionals could come to them.
Farm on wheels
The farm of wheels could bring fresh, locally grown produce to food deserts, while helping local farmers expand their businesses.
Play on wheels
No, this isn't a traveling bouncy castle. It's an augmented reality experience. Ikea's pitching this one as an educational experience.
Hotel on wheels
People could get some shut-eye while traveling to their next destination. It's kind of like extended train travel.
Shop on wheels
Though online shopping is on the rise, it doesn't let people physically see, touch or try on products. So this concept is essentially a traveling showroom or pop-up shop.