TECH predictions for 2021: before 2020, a getaway car would have only been known as an escape vehicle for bank robberies, art heists, thievery and such. but in a post-pandemic world, we all want to get away — from the once lively, now sadly uninviting cities we inhabit, from the homes we’ve been tirelessly stuck inside, from the overwhelm of adapting to the ‘new normal’, from the news…


the urge to escape has never been so universally strong, and freedom of movement has never seemed so significant. in this moment, the getaway car takes on an entirely new role. although car sales fell 47% in the US, and 80% in europe in april, mobility behavior has changed drastically, and cars can become an essential vehicle in enhancing overall wellbeing. mckinsey & company reports that a third of consumers value constant access to a private vehicle more now than before COVID-19, especially among younger buyers.


meanwhile, suffering from enforced closures and in jeopardy of permanent abandonment, those able in the movie theater industry turned back the hands of time to reinvent the suburban american night out — the drive-in movie experience. in ‘how the american drive-in staged a comeback’, bloomberg reports how ‘the drive-in theater found a new role in the summer of 2020, as a COVID-safe site for collective entertainment. during the coronavirus pandemic, the promise of a shared entertainment experience from the comfort of a controlled, socially distant environment has fueled a drive-in resurgence — and movies are only part of the offering. in april, DOC’s drive-in theatre in buda, texas, welcomed 85 cars for a socially distanced wedding live-streamed on the theater’s two screens. churches resumed drive-in services, reviving a practice rooted in the 1950s. in cities around the world, idled shopping malls and empty parking lots hosted ad-hoc screens for pop-up community movies, while existing drive-ins expanded their offerings to include concerts, art shows and stand-up comedy performances.’


amid the pandemic-induced anxiety of shared spaces, public settings, and communal forms of mass transportation, cars are secluded, they’re private, personal, yours. with a major shift from airplane and train travel to private vehicle visible across all regions, how can car companies capitalize on escapist mania?

TECH predictions 2021
the electric MINI Vision Urbanaut adapts to fit your moment of journey
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adaptability, flexibility, and freedom seem like a strong starting point. in a glimpse of the future for car design in an all-new form, MINI unveiled the Vision Urbanaut in november. the interior design of the electric vehicle, reminiscent of a living room, pushes the boundaries of interior space and versatility on a minimal footprint in combination with a purist mono-volume exterior design. it showcases a wide range of usage that extends the car beyond driving to focus on where these journeys take you. the vehicle is also intended to adapt to your personal needs, creating an urban oasis, a place to relax, work or even spend quality time with your friends and family.


meanwhile, the newly-reintroduced california 6.1 beach by volkswagen commercial vehicles has already hit the road, brought back into circulation in october following an increased interest in campervan holidays during the pandemic. volkswagen engages with the demand for personal space and seclusion with wanderlust-fueled messaging like, ‘your home anywhere you like’ and ‘your new favourite hotel. wherever you go.’ its entire interior is designed ‘to spontaneously go on journeys and break-out its awning at your chosen place to camp.’ it’s spacious, portable, private and importantly equipped for self-sufficiency.

designboom TECH predictions 2021: the getaway car gets redefined, while urban micro-mobility booms
the california 6.1 beach by volkswagen, ‘your home anywhere you like’



in cities, public transportation and ridesharing services took an incredibly hard hit during the pandemic. in new york, where around five million people took the subway every day, the mass transit authority (MTA) experienced a 90 percent decrease in subway and bus ridership by april. city-dwellers fearful of the incapacity to social distance on a subway or bus, or those anxious about sharing a space with their uber driver had strong motivations to lean towards micro-mobility options, like scooters and e-bikes. cleantech reports that ‘COVID-19 has proven that micromobility is an essential component of a safe and sustainable urban transportation system – cities are rewriting rules, developing supportive policies and allocating more public space to bikes and scooters. the crowded buses and subways of public transportation, and even ridesharing services, are being swapped for open-air and socially distanced modes of travel.’


in june, electric scooter and bike rental serive lime released a first-of-its-kind report titled ‘rethinking travel in the era of COVID-19’, examining trends in transportation preferences as cities around the world work to reopen. ‘our findings show how people are rethinking their rides and increasing their use of micromobility options, including using shared scooters and purchasing bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters,’ the report posits. ‘in seattle, new york and london, which do not have existing scooter share programs, the future for micromobility is also bright: 75% of respondents say they intend to ride scooters in the future. in fact, 1 out of 3 respondents (35%) say they will use it weekly or daily, implying it will likely become a regular commuting habit.


for those seeking portable urban mobility, designboom’s feature of the soft and inflatable personal electric scooter ‘poimo’ was one of our TOP 10 designs of the year. developed by a project team at the university of tokyo, and research organization mercari R4D, the device aims to redefine electric personal mobility by combining it with soft robotics. the scooter is so compact that it can be folded into an average-sized backpack.

poimo, an inflatable electric scooter that fits inside your backpack
poimo, an inflatable electric scooter that fits inside your backpack
more on designboom here



so whether you’re scooting, or sprawling out in the living room-sized interior of your car, consider 2021 the year to redefine the way you get around — once you leave the house, that is…