The self-driving ‘cubicle on wheels’ for solo urban commuters

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      Not everyone is seeking a social ride when summoning a self-driving car. For solitude-craving urban commuters, one designer has reimagined autonomous vehicles as a modern take on the office cubicle.

      The self-driving 'cubicle on wheels' for solo urban commuters

      The H-BOX concept by Chloe Gao envisions boxy two-seater pods that cocoon solo passengers in their own little worlds during that morning trudge to work or evenings spent escaping the office.

      The self-driving 'cubicle on wheels' for solo urban commuters

      While most self-driving car designs seem geared towards transforming vehicles into shared social spaces, Gao’s futuristic cubicles-on-wheels cater to a growing contingent who value independent “me time”, particularly among Gen Z.

      The self-driving 'cubicle on wheels' for solo urban commuters

      “Some people…might prefer some ‘me time’ instead,” explains Gao of her monastic urban runabouts, describing her target audience as those who relish “independence and personal immersion” even while traveling.

      The self-driving 'cubicle on wheels' for solo urban commuters

      The concept sees the two seats positioned at the rear of the cabin, dividing occupants, with the “driver’s” seat able to slide forward to a futuristic steering well for manual control when needed.

      But it’s the seats themselves that are the H-BOX’s pièce de résistance. Enclosing passengers on nearly all sides except the front, the chairs create a semi-private, cubicle-like space shielded from one’s travel companion.

      The self-driving 'cubicle on wheels' for solo urban commuters

      Sacrificing comfort for seclusion, the upright seats forego typical reclining auto-designs. But Gao notes the backrest could tilt back “for that same reclining effect” during longer journeys.

      While hardly the plushest commute, the cocooning spaces allow urban soloists to travel in monastic stillness, free from the dreaded spectre of small talk. An interior wraparound display offers all the comforts of modern in-car infotainment.

      Gao’s eccentric cubicles-on-wheels underline how self-driving vehicles may eventually need to cater to varied traveller needs beyond just freeing the “driver” from motoring duties.

      For lone urban warriors seeking solace on their commute, it offers a self-contained space where they can savour some precious silence – even in a car full of people.

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