► Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 concept unveiled
► Advanced materials, zero-emissions drivetrain
► Part of the BMW Vision Next 100 project
No, you're not looking at a film prop from a long-forgotten mid-2000s sci-fi film. Instead, this new concept – dubbed Vision Next 100 – represents Rolls-Royce's vision of the 'future of luxury mobility'.
Are you sure this isn't from 2002's Minority Report?
Very certain – unless there's been an accident with a photocopier and a time machine. The newly revealed concept, codenamed 103EX, is designed to showcase what may lay ahead for the company in the next 100 years.
Why 100 years?
BMW celebrates its centenary this year, so the BMW Group – of which Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a part – has rolled out the 'Vision Next 100' project to investigate at the future of its brands' products. BMW itself, and Mini, have also built concepts with the same title as part of the centenary-related developments.
So what's so special about this? Looks aside, that is...
It's an all-electric, carbonfibre-based autonomous coupe, with 28-inch wheels – ones that are assembled from 65 individual pieces of aluminium, at that.
You won't have to hire a chauffeur, either, or – heavens forbid – actually attempt to drive it yourself. Rolls-Royce surmises that the concept would be controlled by an AI called 'Eleanor', after the model on whom the Spirit of Ecstasy was based.
This AI would function as an assistant and driver, studying owner's schedules and ensuring the car was ready – and in the right place – as and when necessary. The AI can be conversed with, and other information relayed via the large OLED-based screen.
One other particularly interesting element of the concept is what Rolls calls 'The Personal Vision'...
It has interior mirrors, then?
Not that kind of personal vision. One of the reasons Rolls-Royce has produced this concept is to demonstrate how, in the future, it believes coachbuilding will continue to thrive.
That's because the company envisions advanced manufacturing, design and prototyping methods allowing customers to become much more involved in the styling and detailing of the car. This would result in a much more personal and individual product.
This, in part, will be made far easier through the use of more flexible zero local emissions powertrains, which are easier to integrate and position within the vehicle.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: 'The arrival of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 boldly points to a bright future for our marque where our patrons’ individual demands for complete and authentic personalisation will be met through an exquisite fusion of technology, design and hallmark Rolls-Royce craftsmanship.'
What other tricks does it have up its sleeve?
The concept sports what's referred to as 'The Grand Arrival'. Basically, it's a 'look at me' mode. When the car comes to a halt at its destination, the Spirit of Ecstasy and grille illuminate, followed by a creeping underbody glow, then the glass canopy tilts upwards – it's hinged on the offside of the vehicle. This allows you to stand, under cover, to make your exit from the vehicle more graceful.
Next, the single coach door opens automatically while a step emerges from the running board. As a finishing touch, a red glow emanates from underneath the step. So, at least you won't have to haul any carpet around.
Based on the concept's looks alone, however, we're not sure you'd need to do anything to draw any more attention. Given how motoring, technology and manufacturing are developing, however, it's understandable why Rolls-Royce is looking at ways to ensure its vehicles remain noteworthy and desirable in the future.
Read more Rolls-Royce news here