If car design is a reflection of our own personalities, then we have become a nation of bad tempered and aggressive drivers.
The trend to make aggressive looking cars does not appear to serve any rational purpose. While sports cars have always been styled to have a sense of purpose even when at a standstill, most cars on the road have no sporting credentials; they are designed to be as safe and economical as possible and they operate on the same speed-restricted, congested roads.
Consider how the appearance and character of cars has changed over the decades. Compare the wide eyed expression of the Frogeye Sprite with its modern day counterpart the Mazda MX-5.
Car design – more than simply how a car looks
It may be that aggressive-looking cars are more than a reflection of our temperaments as drivers, but a catalyst for angrier roads. The Google self-driving cars may have entirely discarded these unhelpful styling cues, but it is having to retain the driving habits they foster.
Google has admitted that if it wants its autonomous cars to be able to survive alongside aggressive human drivers on the open road, they need to be more assertive.
Engineers have tweaked the software that controls the cars to give them a slightly more aggressive edge. As a result, Google cars will creep forward at junctions to get through ahead of other drivers.
It seems like cars need to be more aggressively styled than their predecessor in order to stand out from the crowd. It’s an arms race that does nothing to reduce road danger. Why not make cars look happy? Even the most self-avowed petrol-head would admit that driving should be a somewhat happy, enjoyable experience. We’d all be better off if car design reflected that.
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