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

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST
Ford Escort Mk2 rally
News

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST

£65,000 Ford Escort rally car recreation gives fast Ford fans a Singer of their own to aspire to
8 Jan 2021
Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model
Ford

Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model

Ford’s gamer-created virtual race car makes the move from digital to reality as static concept car
18 Dec 2020
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed
Ford

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed

Hottest iteration of Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer 480bhp and Tesla Model Y-matching performance when sales begin next year
1 Dec 2020
Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one
Ford

Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one

We dive into the Ford commercial vehicle range from Transit to Ranger to explain how to find the best vehicle for your needs
5 Oct 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range
Mercedes EQA - front
Mercedes EQA

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range

The new Mercedes EQA is a premium rival for the Volkswagen ID.3 and Kia e-Niro, with a maximum claimed range of 302 miles
20 Jan 2021
BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums
bmw x5 m50d tracking front
News

BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums

Raw, uncapped insurance group rating data could be used by insurers to increase premiums on various high-end cars
19 Jan 2021
New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time
Skoda Fabia spy
Skoda Fabia

New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time

Latest Skoda Fabia supermini is due to arrive later this year – and our spy photographers have spotted a mule in sporty Monte Carlo trim
20 Jan 2021