Everyone has a different vision for what the future of driving will look like — some don’t expect we’ll even need cars or certainly won’t drive them ourselves.
Automakers at least still hope there are vehicles to be sold, leased, and shared in the future, and that’s why Toyota has teamed up with students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research to create a new mobility concept for the next generation of drivers.
Built over a period of two years, the uBox concept is how Clemson and Toyota imagine today’s youth will want to get from A to B with their friends. Generation Z (those born after 1995) apparently is into sharp, square designs, suicide doors, LED lights, and a curved glass room that is supported by “composite carbon fiber rails bonded with aluminum.”
Inside, almost everything is reconfigurable to the drivers tastes. The seats are mounted on sliding tracks, the air vents, trim, and cabin color scheme can all be customized, and new designs can be downloaded and reproduced using a 3D printer. The car also has a bunch of 110-volt outlets which can be used to power everything from tools to a laptop. Sure, it’s all a bit wild, but drivers expressing their individuality may be the way vehicles stay cool for the next several decades.
Powertrain details are light, but we do know the uBox is powered by an electric motor (because zero emissions and instant torque are all the rage these days).
This particular project is part of Toyota’s “Deep Orange” partnership (not to be confused with the uBox’s somewhat turquoise exterior). Deep Orange is designed to immerse students in every aspect of automotive development, including market research, design, engineering, and manufacturing.
Though the uBox may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Toyota’s efforts to engage the next generation of automotive enthusiasts definitely has my approval.