(Tech Xplore)—Chew on this. Forget about turning for news about fresh features in your self-driving car of tomorrow. Jaguar wants to turn everything on its head. Car ownership, like car driving, is up for fresh air thinking.
What if you do not own a car, period, just the steering wheel, which can sit on your sofa instead of the garage? What if all you "own" is membership in a system where you call on cars to take you where you want to go?
Just imagine taking your steering wheel off the car and walking around with it. TechRadar: The car would have "an AI system and be carried with you as you move from car to car."
The company said that "Sayer is the first voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) steering wheel that will be able to carry out hundreds of tasks."
The car site said "Jaguar Land Rover is exploring the future of mobility" at Tech Fest and "the steering wheel could become the only part of the car that you own."
The Sayer wheel, said HotHardware, has a brushed metal finish and integrated displays.
TechRadar said this system looked like "a cross between a steering wheel and a computer screen." The company site called it "a beautifully sculpted piece of art." they named the wheel Sayer after designer, Malcolm Sayer, "who worked for the British marque between 1951 and 1970."
What can Sayer do for you other than serve as a terrific conversation piece?
"The AI would act as a personal assistant and would be able to connect you to an online service where you'd be able to get a car as and when you need one," said TechRadar. "All you'd have to do when you get into a new self-driving vehicle would be clip this personal steering wheel onto the dashboard and use it like a personal assistant."
The AI would largely serve as a concierge, remarked Jon Fingas, Engadget.
Will we see this any time soon? Well, think concept.
"The wheel will apparently be a significant feature on an upcoming Jaguar concept car called Future-Type," said TechRadar. The latter is to show what Jaguar expects mobility to look like in 2040 and beyond, said HotHardware.
Jaguar called it an "intelligent and connected" steering wheel concept that takes on the role as "trusted companion." It's a voice-activated wheel, capable of carrying out numerous tasks.
How a person would use Sayer:
"Sayer could signal your membership of our on-demand service club." The option is sole ownership or "sharing the car with others in your community." With this concept, "you don't own a single car, but instead call upon the vehicle of your choice where and when you need it."
So fundamentally, the wheel is the only part of the car you actually own. And with that wheel you manage scheduling and car pickups.
"Need to be at a meeting two hours away from home by 8am tomorrow? Simply ask Sayer from the comfort of your living room and it will work out when you get up, when a car needs to autonomously arrive at your door and even advise which parts of the journey you might enjoy driving yourself."
The question is what the Sayer wheel concept might do to influence car ownership in general. Would the auto industry be following in the footsteps of the technology marketplace, with its transition to subscription-based services.
Shane McGlaun, HotHardware: "In the future we all might be part of automotive services where rather than owning a car we simply pay a monthly fee to have access to an entire stable of cars."
Fingas offered his take, saying "we'd treat this as a thought exercise. It might never come to pass, but it could give engineers something to consider when they design the first wave of autonomous vehicles."