Vertical car concept is designed for narrow lanes and cramped spaces

The majority of concept designs that we see for future automobiles seem to revolve around self-driving vehicles cruising along wide and nearly empty highways. Given our present reality, however, the future might not be as idyllic as those images try to conjure up, at least in terms of traffic volume. There is a higher probability that there will be even more cars in the future, self-driving or otherwise, and people will be competing for even less space on roads. This concept, in contrast, bucks the trend and imagines a car that not only has to be driven manually, it is also tall and narrow enough that clearance doesn’t become a problem, allowing it to deftly navigate through traffic and tight spaces, today and tomorrow.

Designer: Rishav Kumar

The Project OVAL concept is actually made of two parts, both embracing the idea of a more vertically oriented design. On the one hand, there is a vertical oval for the steering wheel which, along with matching the general shape of the vehicle itself, also saves space inside the cabin. The steering mechanism is attached to the side of the car, almost as if it’s floating, since the vehicle practically has no front, let alone a dashboard for the steering wheel to connect to.

The car, on the other hand, is a rather unique spin on a two-person vehicle that prioritizes the economy of space over anything else. There is practically nothing in front of the driver and side passenger save for that oval steering wheel and two pedals. There is space behind the seats for baggage and, presumably everything else that makes the car run. Save for the pillars, the sides and roof of the vehicle are transparent, as is the front, giving passengers a panoramic view of the world around them.

This ultra-minimalist car is designed to easily navigate narrow city roads which will presumably be even more packed in the future. The slim and narrow body is also a boon for parking spaces which are already a rare commodity today. By also removing everything in front of the passengers, the car also gives more freedom of movement and comfort, even though it might feel a bit cramped as far as the width goes.

Project OVAL doesn’t preclude some self-driving mechanism, especially given how there’s no instrumentation panel to inform drivers of the car’s current state. It is entirely possible that the front glass will have a transparent display that makes all that visible as well, creating a rather dramatic futuristic visual. An autonomous system will definitely help save even more space if you remove the steering wheel and pedals, but such manual controls might be even more necessary if highways become even more congested in the future.