Opinion

"Beauty is a big part of car design, but so is usability"

Steve Fowler has been in conversation with Moray Callum, VP of design at Ford, about the future of design for autonomous cars

If you want to know what the future holds in the car world, ask a designer; they're as much futurologists as stylists these days. And this week I had the pleasure of spending some time with one of the best, Ford's VP of design Moray Callum.

Callum spoke of his excitement at Ford's commitment to produce a car without a steering wheel by 2021 - a project he's heavily involved in. However, he's promised style won't be forgotten in Ford's push to be first with autonomous driving.

"Some people will always want to be seen in one car rather than another," Callum told me. "With autonomous cars, people won't want a Google car - they don't want to be seen in a science project."

All about autonomous driving

Even existing tech was proving to be a challenge for the modern car designer. "The user interface is part of our designers' jobs and we're already pummelling the public with information," said Callum. "If Henry Ford was alive today, he'd probably think cars are already autonomous!"

In-car tech means interior design is becoming more and more important. Callum describes it as being "like a marriage - you fall in love with the exterior, but you have to live with the interior".

And while interiors are taking more of his design team's time, so is Ford's burgeoning range of SUVs.

2016 New Car Awards: Design Award

"SUVs will become the predominant model in everyone's range," he said. "Customers' desire to have a high H-point will continue and designers need to look at different solutions." But he says it's a challenge to make an SUV look great.

As for the rest of the Ford range, expect greater differences in future as models are again tailored for different markets. "You'll see more of a step-change in Ford design post [the next] Fiesta," he said. That's great news and makes for an even more exciting Ford future.

What do you think the future holds for car design? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

New 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: performance specs released
Ford

New 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: performance specs released

More details revealed on the range-topping Ford Mustang Mach-E GT’s powertrain ahead of its scheduled UK launch in late 2021
25 Sep 2020
Team Fordzilla P1 virtual hypercar designed by gamers
Ford

Team Fordzilla P1 virtual hypercar designed by gamers

Ford recruited online racers to design their own virtual hypercar concept and the futuristic Team Fordzilla P1 is the result
26 Aug 2020
Jim Farley to replace Jim Hackett as Ford’s CEO and President
Ford

Jim Farley to replace Jim Hackett as Ford’s CEO and President

Hackett has retired from his leadership position after just three years at the helm and is succeeded by Farley, the brand’s acting COO
4 Aug 2020
‘It’s Ford’s turn to grab the headlines once again’
Ford

‘It’s Ford’s turn to grab the headlines once again’

With the cars such as the Mustang Mach-E and Bronco, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Ford is on a roll
22 Jul 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020