Renault’s vision of the future is this autonomous floating pod

"The car of the future" can take numerous shapes depending on who you ask, but according to Renault, this could be it. This interesting-looking collection pod is the winner of the company's most recent design competition, and is named 'The Float' due to its magnetic levitation propulsion system.

The winning design was submitted by Yuchen Cai, a 23-year-old student from Shanghai graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design. Her entry looks like a bubble when it's on the move. Instead of using anything as archaic as wheels, it floats using maglev (magnetic levitation) technology, giving it the ability to move in any direction at any time.

It's totally swathed in glass, which can become opaque at the touch of a button giving passengers a degree of privacy. If you want more of a social space, though, the one-or-two-seater pods can connect to each other via a magnetic belt system. Swivelling chairs, sliding doors and an intercom system enables the space to be as exclusive or inclusive as passengers like.

Cai's design also includes a smartphone app, allowing users to rent a Float at their leisure, much in the same way one would hail an Uber or a taxi.

As the winner, Cai spent time at Renault's design studios in Paris, working with senior designers to put her vision into reality. A model of The Float will be on display at designjunction in Granary Square, London, between September 21-24.

Also present on the stand will be the other two finalist's designs, named Flo and Vue, as well as the Renault Trezor concept from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

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