Driving at night without headlights might sound extremely undesirable at the moment, but in the future, it might be the norm.
Luc Donckerwolke, head of design for Hyundai luxury offshoot Genesis, believes that headlights will soon be unnecessary. Talking to a group of Australian journalists, Donckerwolke said autonomy might negate the need for headlights in the future, since the cars won't need to "see" the road ahead.
In fact, that reasoning is why the latest Genesis concept, the GV80 fuel-cell crossover, only has tiny little peepers up front. "All Genesis [cars] will have those quad lights eventually, but as you see we are reducing the size because we are anticipating the fact that, slowly, cars won't need lights anymore," Donckerwolke told Motoring.com.au.
"You will have scanners, lasers and you will have radars, but you won't need lights anymore, apart from, let's say, the decorative lights to show identity," Donckerwolke continued. Don't expect this change to come on rapidly, as we're still decades away from ubiquitous autonomy, but it's interesting food for thought.
While that might be true, it will be no less jarring to most drivers, who have grown up with the requirement for headlights. Sitting in a car, with advanced hardware and software controlling the vehicle, barreling down roads in pitch black seems like it will take some getting used to. Humans crave control, and being able to see the road -- even if you aren't doing any driving -- is part of that.
Then again, some drivers are actually getting ready for that future right now. The next time you see someone driving down a dark road with no headlights -- an increasingly common problem, brought on by the advent of automatic headlight settings and bright running lights -- think of them not as idiots, but as experiential pioneers, preparing for our inevitably darker motoring future.
...Just kidding. You can still think of them as idiots.