Dominic Wilcox in his Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car. (all photos by Sylvain Deleu)
In September 2014 I was asked by MINI the car people and Dezeen.com the design blog to create my ‘vision for the future of mobility’. I thought about driverless, automated vehicles and how they are an inevitable part of our future world. I needed to focus my mind on a year so I chose 2059, 100 years after the launch of the original Mini car. I proposed the idea that in 2059, driverless cars will be common place, in fact there will be motorways on which only driverless cars are allowed. This will mean that they are extremely safe and will have zero collisions. It will become far safer to ride in a computer controlled car than a human driven car. This means that car designers will be free to concentrate on creating a ‘living space on wheels’. No longer bound by modern day bumpers, airbags and other safety requirements etc.
I decided to demonstrate this vision of a safe future by making a stained glass car with only a bed inside. Glass being extremely fragile and sleeping being the most vulnerable time we have. I was inspired by a trip to Durham Cathedral in the North East of England where I am from. In my car, the passenger will be transported to their chosen destination while they rest or sleep. Once they arrive they will wake up covered in coloured glass reflections.
To make the car I needed to design and build the chassis frame/base. Here I worked closely with Middlesex University Product Design Department lead by Wyn Griffiths, technical tutor Neil Melton and recent star graduates Chris Brennan and Harry Bradshaw. They were a huge help working out the wood structure that would support the glass and making it. Once this frame was made I took it to ‘Lead and Light’ a stained glass workshop in Camden, London. I took a 5 day course in stained glass making and started work cutting and soldering the glass onto the car. I was advised by stained glass expert Lynette Wrigley and assisted by Massimo Cappella.
The making of the base and frame took about 5 weeks and the glass also about 5 weeks. It was very much a case of working it out as we went along. The car was revealed during the London Design Festival at an exhibition called Design Junction. It has received a huge amount of interest from press and media and is currently travelling from exhibition to exhibition in the UK.
I also made a fictional website where you could order your driverless taxi to pick you up and take you where you wish. www.taxirobot.co.uk