Cadillac announced a pair of autonomous vehicle concepts that are a definite improvement over last year’s toaster-shaped thingamajig, but also seem designed to appeal to the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Rich people like cars and robots.)
The Cadillac InnerSpace (shout out, Dennis Quaid) is a fully autonomous luxury coupe with an electric drivetrain and vibes to spare. The concept will join others in the automaker’s Halo Concept Portfolio, which includes the aforementioned toaster-shaped vehicle and a single-seater electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
shout out Dennis Quaid
Here are some more pictures of this slice of deadliness. Also, the roof opens up? I guess that’s pretty cool if you’re a tall person trying to fold yourself into this slab-shaped vehicle.
Like any good autonomous concept worth its weight, the InnerSpace lacks traditional controls, like steering wheels and pedals. Instead, Cadillac is opting for an interior space that looks like the bridge of the starship Enterprise, with an imposing curved display that almost completely encompasses the passenger. Nothing says “unsupervised driving” like a screen instead of a windshield.
But while that may seem a little dangerous, Cadillac insists the interior was designed to promote “wellness” among its customers. “Electrification and autonomous driving will fundamentally change the role of vehicles and the experiences customers have with them,” said Bryan Nesbitt, GM’s executive director for Global Advanced Design and Global Architecture Studio, in a statement. “We’re exploring where that will go with these innovative concepts, envisioning mobility as an ally of wellness, giving customers the ultimate luxury, more personal time.”
It would be a mistake to dismiss this as just another concept
It would be a mistake to dismiss this as just another concept with no real chance of becoming a real production car. GM CEO Mary Barra used her keynote speech at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show to announce a plan to sell fully autonomous vehicles to customers starting in the middle of the decade.
Cadillac is likely to play a large role in that effort as the automaker’s luxury brand. AVs are expensive to produce, with the cost of sensors and computer hardware largely putting many test vehicles in the six-figure range. Who loves six-figure vehicles more than Cadillac customers? I wouldn’t be surprised if the first AV to go on sale will have GM’s luxury nameplate on the front.