That doe-eyed buggy that Google unveiled this week as its self-driving car may set the tech world on fire, but it's unlikely to spark the enthusiasm of auto designers or consumers.
Hail, the pod car. By shaping the car like a beach ball, Google turns automotive design on its ear. Other automakers have given a pod-like look to small cars, but the most extreme rarely ever left the clay model or auto show stage. Google plans to make 100 of its driverless cars, which don't have a steering wheel or pedals -- only a kill button.
The design points to a future in which the powerplant will dictate the shape of cars. Today's cars have largely reflected their gasoline engines. Cars traditionally known for their power and big V-8s have traditionally sported long hoods and short decks. Think Ford Mustang. In the past few years, automakers have both downsized the size of engines and figured out ways to make them smaller, including mounting them sideways. Hence, smaller front ends and more cab-forward designs that leave more space in the cabin where it really matters.Read Article