Skip to Content
Smart cities

IKEA designs future autonomous cars that work as hotels, stores, and meeting rooms

The furniture store’s research lab has dreamed up seven ways we might use autonomous vehicles if we don’t actually have to focus on driving.
September 17, 2018

Once cars can finally drive themselves, we’ll have more time to enjoy the journey and do other, much more interesting stuff instead. At least that’s the concept behind some of the designs below, developed by retail giant IKEA’s “future living lab,” SPACE10, based in Copenhagen.

The design studio/research lab came up with designs for autonomous vehicles that would be extensions of our homes, offices, and local institutions. Some of its seven ideas, shown below, are almost practical. Who can’t imagine autonomously driven cafés or pop-up stores? In fact, they already exist in California—in the form of self-driving cars that have groceries stocked in their back seats.

Other concepts might need a bit more thought, particularly the ones that SPACE10 envisions delivering resources to underserved communities. It may be difficult, for example, for a self-driving health clinic to bring medical care to truly remote areas. Nevertheless, the designs are useful for sparking conversations about the ways autonomous vehicles could transform everyday life.

Rendering of Ikea's office on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

Why not turn your entire commute into one long meeting? SPACE10’s Office on Wheels would enable you to not just work on your way to work, but also hold group discussions in a mobile version of a conference room.

Rendering of Ikea's Cafe on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

This café would help people socialize while also getting where they need to go.

Rendering of Ikea's Farm on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

Why not have the farmers’ market come to you?

Rendering of Ikea's retail store on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

Or just a mini IKEA store?

space10 and f°am Studio

Could sleeping in your car seem appealing? SPACE10 imagines us going to bed in autonomous vehicles that would be as comfortable as standard hotel rooms.

Rendering of Ikea's play pod on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

This tour bus design has windows that display augmented-reality images so passengers can learn about their surroundings in a more vivid way.

Rendering of Ikea's health office on Wheels
space10 and f°am Studio

SPACE10 claims that using self-driving cars to transport medical professionals could make it easier for mobile clinics to visit underserved communities.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

Image of workers inspecting solar panels at a renewable energy plant
Image of workers inspecting solar panels at a renewable energy plant

Renewables are set to soar

The world will likely witness a wind and solar boom over the next five years, as costs decline and nations raise their climate ambitions.

light and shadow on floor
light and shadow on floor

How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation

The tech giants are paying millions of dollars to the operators of clickbait pages, bankrolling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world.

travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

We won’t know how bad omicron is for another month

Gene sequencing gave an early alert about the latest covid variant. But we'll only know if omicron is a problem by watching it spread.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.