Jaguar Future-Type concept - The Jaguar of 2040?
Jaguar looks towards a future of sharing and connectivity, but will it provide an authentically Jaguar experience?
It centres around the unusual concept that drivers of the future might not own a car themselves, but just one component that allows them to tailor a vehicle to their own requirements – in this case, taking the form of a steering wheel.
Well, it's a wheel in concept, but its shape might take some getting used to and whether you'll even use it for steering is dependent on how much of a journey would be completely autonomous, but effectively it works as a key through which all your automotive pursuits are directed.
And it has a name: Sayer. Jaguar calls it "connected, intelligent and removable", and predictably you'll spend as much time talking to it and asking Sayer to book you appointments as you will turning it.
Most of the time, Sayer lives in your home. A little like a wheel-shaped iPad, it grants you membership to an on-demand service club, which allows you either sole ownership of a car, or the option of sharing a car with others in your community. You can use Sayer to summon your vehicle – for example, using it to book the vehicle ahead of time if you need to get to a meeting, and connect you to the outside world (digitally rather than physically) while the car is driving.
In terms of the driving itself, the car can operate autonomously for as much or as little of the journey as you desire – Jaguar repeats the usual autonomous mantra that the car can drive itself on the more tedious legs of your trip and allow the driver to take over should you happen across a twisty bit of road.
We're less convinced about the company's promise it will offer a "dynamic, emotional experience" however – there still seems like a large degree of disconnection between what dynamic and emotional traits mean to people like us and what they mean to companies desperately scrabbling to remain relevant as tastes and trends change.
When was the last time you felt an emotional experience with your smartphone, for instance? You might care about the brand, be it Samsung, Apple or similar, but it's more of a means to an end than an emotional purchase – something you'll forget about as soon as something with more features comes along.
Jaguar shows no sign of losing track of the more tactile and genuinely emotional joys of driving just yet – be that the growl of a V8 or even the beauty and craftsmanship of an electric-converted E-type – but use of terms like dynamism and emotion for a wheeled smartphone seem rather inauthentic.