A badge or legacy and luxury.
Move over Siri; artificial intelligence has a new name: Eleanor.
Rolls-Royce unveiled its vision for a driverless future earlier this month in London: the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100. And what a pure work of genius it is. The vehicle measures just over 19 feet in length and is “powered by a zero emissions powertrain,” according to the press release. Passengers in the driverless vehicle, manifested in the form of the 103EX, can also enjoy the extra legroom offered by “the ample space created by the removal of the chauffeur,” the British luxury carmaker explained. Behold its ivory-colored “throne.”
The 103EX, billed as a a “grand sanctuary,” is one of four “Vision Vehicles” Rolls-Royce parent BMW announced back in March during its centennial celebration. Now BMW and Rolls-Royce are looking ahead to the next 100 years, during which driving could be relegated to nothing more than a pastime.
This autonomous vehicle was designed without a steering wheel or dashboard — no doubt a nod to making the sort of “grand arrival” current Rolls-Royce owners are accustomed to.
Moreover, the lower section of the car is “draped in a silk-like ‘Crystal Water’ color scheme, its surfacing achieving a lightness that belies the vehicle’s size. This is the epitome of automotive haute couture. From whatever angle the Vision Next 100 is viewed, it seems to float, whether at rest or in motion.
The Vision Next 100 comes with the “Voice of Eleanor,” a Siri-like virtual assistant and chauffeur, named after Eleanor Thornton, a British actress and model who died nearly a century ago and served as muse to the artist Charles Sykes, who sculpted the original Sprit of Ecstasy that became the Rolls icon more than 100 years ago.
According to Rolls-Royce, “Eleanor becomes their virtual assistant and chauffeur, freeing them of all effort and encumbrance. Imbued with her own artificial intelligence, she works intuitively to advise her owners on itineraries, schedules and options before they leave their residence.”
To convey that stately feel and the “importance” of Vision Vehicles occupants, Rolls-Royce designed the 103EX to be about as big as a carriage. The car is more than five feet tall, so some individuals won’t even have to stoop to enter it. Rolls-Royce also carved out additional storage space between between the cabin and the front wheels: The compartment opens automatically whenever a motorist disembarks from the vehicle.
The vehicle’s otherworldly dazzling design includes 28-inch wheels and a silky wool sofa interior, not to mention an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch-screen, Macassar wood paneling and deep-pile ivory wool carpeting.
As for a power source, Rolls-Royce acknowledges that the 12-cylinder engines that have powered its huge cars in recent years are “most unlikely to exist in the future.” Adding a dose of mystery, Rolls added, “One can only surmise how this Rolls-Royce will be powered.” But it did say the Vision Next 100 generates zero emissions.
The company has not announced when the vehicle is set to hit the streets, or how much it is expected to cost.