The era of battery-electric vehicles, driver-assistance features, and other emerging technologies have automakers thinking more about the cabin than ever. The packaging and possibilities allow for new freedoms in designing interiors, and DS Automobiles is previewing the vision that will influence the brand's future cars with a design study. It's called the M.i. 21, and it's more than just a concept.
DS calls the cabin a "design manifesto" because it "incorporates certain regulatory, industrial, and economic demands to be able to ensure faster production." The cabin features an assortment of technological and stylistic tricks, using light that's adaptive and connected to its environment, like the big circle lights in the doors.
Gallery: DS Automobiles M.i. 21
The automaker has also expanded the available space, eliminating the central tunnel and center console. The dashboard floats in front of the seats, pushed forward for even more room.
DS also tweaked the human-machine interface, noting that screens are ugly when turned off and add no aesthetic value. The M.i. 21 solves this dilemma by projecting information onto a strip that can turn opaque to display the information or transparent to reveal trim materials. Passengers control the system by voice or remote control on the center armrest. The only screens that DS couldn't adapt were the ones for the side-view cameras.
DS often keeps models like the M.i. 21 hidden "because it incorporates a lot of our future," said DS Automobiles Design Director Thierry Metroz. However, this piece will be on display to the public at the biannual Révélations craft and design exhibit at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris, which is already underway and runs through Sunday, June 11.
DS isn't the only automaker to focus on interiors and interfaces. Earlier this year, Audi previewed its design language for future models and changed how it will develop future models. The company will begin with the user interface and interior before designing the vehicle's exterior.
Cadillac also recently emphasized the importance of cabin design on future models, so things are changing in the industry with DS thinking about the next evolution of interiors. Big screens are blank black canvases of software that could benefit from some creativity.