Today in sentences we thought we’d never type, this Kyocera concept car features both a see-through dashboard, vibration speakers embedded in the headrests, and a lab-grown opal embedded in the center console. That’s the Moeye Concept in a nutshell: a deeply, delightfully weird conceptualization of futuristic personal transportation from a Japanese company associated with electronics, but not so much cars. But instead of adopting futuristic lines and sci-fi styling tropes, the Moeye’s profile recalls postwar French cars like the Citroen DS and 2CV, with a hint of Jaguar XK around the front fenders and maybe even a little Bugatti Atlantic somewhere in there. There are even knock-off style hubs laid over some very intricate and interesting wire-spoke-esque wheels.
Kyocera’s not trying to break into car design, but the move is savvy—this Moeye concept stands out much more than the phone-booth-like mobility pods that are by now a cliche in this space. The mashup of timeless—or at least not of our time—design and moonshot user interface tech seems like something out of a Studio Ghibli anime, but some of the less whimsical elements look useful.
The Moeye’s virtually transparent dash—Kyocera calls it “optical camouflage”—is the sort of thing companies like Jaguar Land Rover have been playing around with for a while now, in which projected camera imagery enhances outward visibility by “eliminating” blind spots created by the car itself. And it’s a good idea. Meanwhile, the lab-grown opal embedded in various places in the cabin is less likely to catch on, but endearing nonetheless.
We do hope that “Mobisuke,” a projected virtual assistant that provides occupants with navigation instructions and so forth, doesn’t catch on. It reminds us of the much-despised Microsoft Clippit Office Assistant, which in the mid-2000s drove Office users mad with unsolicited offers of help. Maybe Mobisuke will be better-behaved than Clippy.
Car enthusiasts like us often worry that a more automated, tech-integrated transportation future will also suck some of the joy out of transportation, but if autonomous shared mobility vehicles like this one adopt fun and expressive personas, it seems like a less bleak future.
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