Temporary displays

web driverless exhib

Driverless Futures: Utopia or Dystopia?

3 March to 23 April 2017

The first driverless vehicles are expected to be publically available from 2020. From 3 March – 23 April, the Royal College of Art will present an interactive design display as part of London Transport Museum’s Designology exhibition, that will explore the world of driverless vehicles as part of the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment).

The dawn of autonomous vehicles presents the most significant change in transport since the transition from horse-drawn carriages to motorised vehicles. As driverless technology develops, it is estimated that driverless vehicles will be prolific in our cities from 2050. This exhibition will dig deep into the impact these developments will have on our everyday lives, and will highlight real-life hopes and fears as well as ideas from Vehicle Designers at the RCA.

Driverless Futures will look at peoples, aspirations about driverless vehicles as well as their concerns by using the narrative of four fictional characters and scenarios based on real journeys. Thinking beyond traditional car-like vehicles to include systems, services and even architectural spaces, these future lifestyles might include an orderable bus service that takes commuters door-to-door and allows them to take a yoga class while travelling, or hirable drones that carry shopping bags home. Whether these changes will herald the end of busy commutes and personal freedom, or the loss of independence and the decline of healthy lifestyles, Driverless Futures will consider possible perspectives.

The designs and findings are drawn from new research that the RCA has developed through public workshops with over 100 participants, incorporating thousands of resultant hopes and fears for future cities.

Visitors to the display will be encouraged to put forward their own ideas for the future and thereby inform future investigations – from hopes, relating to accessible and affordable driverless vehicles with less stress, less pollution and safer streets, to fears, of streets and cities filled with intimidating machines and isolated people.


London Transport Museum is inviting visitors to a series of workshops as part of its current Designology exhibition programme. Designers and Researchers from the RCA will be in the Studio meeting visitors and showcasing their work.