Cubicle-like urban car concept envisions commuting havens of the future

Everyone travels, whether alone or with others, for work, school, or even leisure. Not everyone, however, enjoys traveling in the same way, especially those who prefer some quiet, solitary time during commutes. Unfortunately, most of the self-driving vehicle concepts seem to focus on turning cars into social spaces, practically removing boundaries between passengers. That’s probably fine for families and friends on their way to a vacation destination, but some people going to and from the office might prefer a bit of quiet downtime on the road. In contrast, this forward-looking design offers an alternative experience, one that envelopes the passenger in their own private space, and it seems to take inspiration from one of the most isolating designs man has ever made: the office cubicle.

Designer: Chloe Gao

The idea of self-driving cars is for people to spare themselves the drudgery and exhaustion of driving so that they can spend more time on more important things. For some people, that might be making connections with other people in the vehicle, but others might prefer some “me time” instead. It’s for these people, especially the “Gen Z” group who value independence and personal immersion, that this urban commuting concept was designed.

As its name suggests, the H-BOX concept turns the car into a box-like machine, and the two-seater model the chairs set to the back of the cabin. Unlike most self-driving automobile concepts, however, this seems to still pay heed to the need for manual control from time to time, so the “driver’s seat” can slide forward to take hold of the futuristic steering well if needed. That further widens the separation between the two seats, which might be a preferred configuration for two people who really want to be immersed in their own little corners.

What makes the H-BOX distinctive, however, are the seats themselves. Where most designs would feature reclining seats that seem to offer the ultimate comfort, these surround the passenger from almost all sides except the front. In other words, it boxes them in, shielding them from the other person in the vehicle while still giving them a clear view of their surroundings. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like the most comfortable design, though it wouldn’t be impossible to have the seat move forward and the backrest lean backward for that same reclining effect.

Then again, the purpose of this self-driving vehicle is to quickly get commuters to their destinations with minimum fuss and perhaps minimum interactions. At the same time, however, the interior of the vehicle still offers a convenient and advanced experience complete with a display that wraps around the interior of the cabin. It does seem to cater to a very niche audience, a generation that might no longer even be around by the time self-driving cars fully take root, but it could offer a more solitary experience for people who prefer to travel in peace and quiet.