In each issue of Frame magazine, five designers and creators are commissioned to conceptualize an object, tool or space in response to a topical issue. As Google, Tesla, Ford and Apple test self-driving vehicles, SpaceX founder Elon Musk envisions underground highways and Uber dreams up a network of flying cars, the theme of ‘The Challenge’ in Frame 118 is tomorrow’s modes of transportation. Satoshi Yoshiizumi of Takt Project proposes a height-adjustable car, which offers new perspectives and experiences to driver and passengers.
You feel that something has been lost in the development of self-driving cars?
SATOSHI YOSHIIZUMI (Takt Project): Indeed. We seem to have forgotten that the point of a vehicle is to move. I want to focus on mobility by making travel a richer, more enjoyable experience.
We at Takt Project propose a vehicle whose body is variable in height. The position of the line of sight goes from a ‘usual’ height of about 1 m all the way to 10 m. In terms of size, I imagine the capacity to be similar to that of a passenger car that holds four to five people.
What inspired the focus on height?
I believe that the level at which we see the world around us has a huge impact on all our senses. When a child stands up for the first time, it is amazed to have an open field of view. By the time we grow up, our body height is fixed, and our line of sight doesn’t change much for the rest of our lives. I believe that even a slight alteration in that line can have a significant impact on how we perceive our surroundings.
How does your concept apply to people on the move?
Think about the luge, a racing toboggan that speeds downhill with one or two athletes lying face up on its surface. They see everything rushing by from an extremely low vantage point. Different sightlines can provide a new vehicular experience, even – and perhaps especially – for today’s increasingly hi-tech cars.
What role will technology play in your vehicle?
I think AR and MR technology can enable the display of information about the scenery outside. I envision features that will accentuate that scenery on the car’s reflective surface.
Do you think your height-adjustable car will appeal mainly to tourists or locals?
Both. I would certainly like it to be used by travellers, but commuters form another logical target group. By viewing a familiar environment from a new height as you drive, you will see your mundane day-to-day life in a fresh way. You may notice a scenic spot that used to be hidden by a building, and by raising the height of the car, you can see far into the distance.