Driverless Futures: Utopia or Dystopia?

3 March 2017 to 23 April 2017 | Monday–Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10am–6pm; Friday 11am–6pm (Last entry 5.15pm)

London Transport Museum | Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB

Entry to London Transport Museum: Adult £17.50 / Concessions £15 (Tickets allow unlimited daytime entry for a whole year).

The first driverless vehicles are expected to be publicly available from 2020. From 3 March – 23 April, the Royal College of Art will present an interactive design display as part of London Transport Museum’s Designology exhibition, that will explore the world of driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment).

The dawn of autonomous vehicles presents the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse drawn carriages to motorised vehicles. As driverless technology develops, it is estimated that driverless vehicles will be prolific in our cities from 2050. This exhibition will dig deep into the impact these developments will have on our everyday lives, and will highlight real-life hopes and fears as well as ideas from Vehicle Designers at the RCA.

Driverless Futures will look at peoples' aspirations about driverless vehicles as well as their concerns by using the narrative of four fictional characters and scenarios based on real journeys. Thinking beyond traditional car-like vehicles to include systems, services and even architectural spaces, these future lifestyles might include an orderable bus service that takes commuters door-to-door and allows them to take a yoga class while travelling, or rentable drones that carry shopping bags home. Whether these changes will herald the end of busy commutes and personal freedom, or the loss of independence and the decline of healthy lifestyles, Driverless Futures will consider possible perspectives.

The designs and findings are drawn from new research that the RCA has developed through public workshops with over 100 participants, incorporating thousands of resultant hopes and fears for future cities.

Visitors to the display will be encouraged to put forward their own ideas for the future and thereby inform future investigations – from hopes, relating to accessible and affordable driverless vehicles with less stress, less pollution and safer streets, to fears, of streets and cities filled with intimidating machines and isolated people.

Alongside the new ‘Driverless Futures’ display, there will be four exciting pop-up events (listed below). The events offer a unique chance to meet designers from the RCA and explore the impact of autonomous vehicles in our everyday lives. Designers will be on hand for visitors of all ages to highlight real-life hopes and fears, as well as share insights and actively explore ideas about the future of vehicle design.

No booking required, daytime events (listed below) are drop-in and free with your annual London Transport Museum admission.

Entertaining interiors
Date: 9 March
Time: 11am–1pm and 2–4pm
RCA designers will be on hand to explore how the inside of our cars and vehicles might change in the future. Visitors will have the chance to help design future mobility concepts, sharing their ideas on what might go on inside our vehicles of the future. 

What can be made ‘driverless’? 
Date: 16 March
Time: 11am–1pm and 2–4pm
RCA designers will be going beyond the obvious, exploring what else might become autonomous in the future. Autonomous delivery pods, waste recyclers, advertisements, vending machines, showers? They will be inviting visitors to tell them what should be turned autonomous in the future and asking for help to create new concepts. Visitors can get stuck in or just enjoy watching the designers at work. 

Cars for Kids
Date: 6 April
Time: 11am–1pm and 2–4pm
Will kids have their own cars? Will they need cars as big as adults? Will parents feel comfortable allowing their children to use driverless cars? In this event RCA designers will be having fun with visitors designing vehicles for people below the driving licence age. Come and share your views and help them design automation for the next generation.

Autonomous Architecture
Date: 13 April 2017
Time: 11am–1pm and 2–4pm
In this event RCA designers and architects will be looking at how our urban spaces will evolve and develop as a result of driverless vehicles. Will we need traffic lights? How will our roads change? Where will future vehicles park, be charged or repaired? Could they become an extension of your home or an alternative to hotel rooms? Pop into the studio to explore the future with them and get involved with their design process. 

DEBATE: Driverless Futures, Utopia or Dystopia?
Date: 20 April
Time: 4–6pm. Booking required. Click here to book a place.
Come and take part in a panel debate exploring the potential risks or rewards of a driverless world. Hear from the experts and help inform future investigations. From hopes; accessible and affordable vehicles, less stress, less pollution and safer streets? To fears; job losses, streets and cities filled with intimidating machines and isolated people?