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A driverless Rolls-Royce means you can fire your chauffeur

Engadget Engadget 17/06/2016 Andrew Dalton
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While other electric or autonomous vehicle companies might be content to build a sensible, everydaymode of transport, noted luxury automaker Rolls-Royce is rejecting that notion entirely with its first driverless vehicle concept. In a decidedly lavish announcement, Rolls-Royce says its new Vision Next 100 car has been designed for "the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world."

"Our vision, in its purest form," the company wrote, "is to create the automotive equivalent of haute couture. This is the future of luxury mobility."

At more than 19 feet long (or, about 8 inches longer than a Chevrolet Suburban) luxury mobility definitely doesn't include street parking or speed bumps, but that's beside the point: "The very size of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 announces the importance of its precious cargo," Rolls-Royce explained. And it does so in appropriately over-the-top fashion. When the car arrives at its destination, driven by an unseen AI/chauffeur named Eleanor, the glass canopy pops up and the side door swings open as a red light illuminates, rolling out a virtual red carpet at the the passenger's feet.

"Thus, as in Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'," the company wrote without a hint of irony, "our guest is framed and ready to step gracefully into the limelight and greet their audience."

The interiors are similarly elaborate: without that famous Rolls 12-cylinder engine, the massive body is cavernous enough to hold massive Grand Tourer suitcases. Because car owners will no longer have a need for a personal driver, the front seat is replaced with a "beautifully textured, ivory-coloured luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed." In other words: you'll be sitting on a silk loveseat.

While the tech specs are scarce in Rolls' announcement (it is, after all just a concept for now), the Guardian reports the Vision Next 100 will hit the streets in the appropriately futuristic date of "sometime in the 2040s." Until then, you can experience the interiors for yourself in a sparkly, 360-degree YouTube video. The height of luxury.

Rolls-Royce

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