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Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars

Corning Gorilla Glass, the same stuff used on iPhones could make its way into your cars interior

Renowned automotive designer Frank Stephenson has tied up with Corning, a company behind some of the most innovative and state of the art glass technology in the industry today, to discuss what the future of interior design on cars might look like.

Overview

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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Renowned Automotive designer Frank Stephenson has mostly covered the exterior design of vehicles on his YouTube channel

If you’ve been an avid follower of Frank’s YouTube channel, you’ll know that he’s mostly touched upon a car’s exterior design. Well, that changes now, because, in his latest episode, the designer gives us an insight into what the cabins on cars or vehicles of the future might look like.

The Early Days

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If you go back 100 years, car interiors were pretty much non-existent. You had seats bolted on straight to the chassis of the vehicle

According to Frank, while a car’s exterior styling might first catch your attention, its the interior that is even more important, considering the amount of time you spend inside the vehicle. But it wasn’t always the case, because a century ago, early vehicles didn’t have anything like an interior as the seats were more like chairs that were bolted on straight to the chassis.

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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However, over the decades, automobile interiors have evolved to provide better comfort to occupants, with aspects like materials, aesthetics and ergonomics taken in to consideration

However, as car’s evolved over the years, it became even more important to provide occupants with a better experience within the interior. With time, several aspects of the interior like the materials used, aesthetics, safety, and ergonomics were considered. These days, a car’s interior can be dressed up with a host of surfaces with everything from wood, leather, to exotic materials like aluminum and carbon fiber.

Its time to re-imagine the car interior

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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With future cars having the ability to support Level 5 autonomous driving, Frank thinks that it’s time to reimagine the interior as some of the traditional tasks and functions that you’d typically perform might end up becoming automated.

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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In the past decade, screens have pretty much taken center stage within the interior of a car and the rapid pace of developing glass technology is going to push that envelope even further. Corning is one of the leading technical glass innovators within the industry, and Frank has made an attempt to visualize and design a futuristic interior based on the current technology available with them.

The opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and industry-leading solutions is something that every designer should be actively seeking out actually be grateful for. - Frank Stephenson

Franks take on the future of Automotive Interior Design

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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He imagine the passenger cell divided by a center tunnel with occupants surrounded by a wide array of displays

And with that, Frank set to break the mold and go beyond the threshold of current interior design on cars. In order to capture the most available amount of detail, Frank begins by sketching out his design, with the ¾ wide-angle perspective, viewed from the rear, that gives a great view of the entire passenger cell including the dashboard, and both the front and rear seats.

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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Also, expect augmented reality to be a big part of future cars, where information will be projected onto glass surfaces within the interior. Frank envisions a cool new piece of tech where rear passengers can just tap the window and information about an interesting monument or place will become instantly available, like a giant Google Glass. He imagines what looks like a truly cosseting interior with each individual seat surrounded by a strip of glass that houses individual information displays.

But Why Glass?

Frank Stephenson Re-imagines The Interior Of Next Generation Cars
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Another material that holds immense promise in transforming the interior of the future; Glass

Glass is a material that offers an immense amount of flexibility. Corning cold form technology for instance allows the glass to achieve an extreme amount of curvature, which allows the material to take some extreme forms and shapes. Frank comes up with an ingenious idea where glass could be used to mimic decorative materials like wood or aluminum, that are used on today’s interiors, and they eventually seamlessly transition into the real thing.

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While there are challenges with materials like glass due to ist reflectivity, Corning is working on a anti-glare technology to address this problem

However, one of the challenges with glass is the amount of reflections that it gives off. Thankfully, corning is working on some high-quality anti-glare technology in a bid to address the issue. It also passes all the safety tests, AutoGrade Corning Gorilla Glass does not break and passes head impact certification requirements.

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He has tied up with leading glass manufacturer Corning to come up with a design based on the current technology available at Corning’s disposal

Moving to the ceiling, automakers have relegated themselves to already using things like a sunroof, or an infinity glass panel like on the latest EV’s from Tesla or Lucid, but Frank goes a step further and says, what if you could project something like a solar system or stars, I mean, it is a blank canvas after all. Unlike Rolls Royce’s approach to having a zillion LEDs, you could have a different image on the ceiling of your car every day, to completely transform the ambiance of the cabin on the fly.

The End Result

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After putting the sketch through Photoshop, here’s Frank’s final take on what the interior on future cars might look like

With that, Frank moves on to shading and then moving it onto photoshop, where adding color brings this sketch to life. The end result can be best described as breathtaking. Even just looking at this one image lends an air of calm. It looks like a perfect place to unwind after a long day at work, where you’ll be put to ease almost instantly, surrounded by some truly fantastic materials like glass and fabric.

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You’re surrounded by displays. This stunning piece that wraps around the driver displays a full size map

The wide array of screens at your disposal, are designed to provide information as well as entertain. You’ll be cocooned and isolated from the outside world in your own little bubble. If this is what the future of car interiors looks like, bring it on because I for one am truly excited.


Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers stick shift over an Auto any day.  Read full bio
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