Design is playing an increasingly important role in the new mobility, including when it comes to boosting the acceptance of robots, drones, or autonomous vehicles. In its exhibition “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility”, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York presents current design projects that are all concerned with the future of mobility. Messe Frankfurt shared news on the event to show its strengthened commitment in the field of mobility & logistics and investing in an international range of trade fairs, events, and congresses.

One major element of the exhibition is an impressive sound experience by the engineering and design studio Arup called “Sound of the Future City,” which imagines what cities could sound like in the future when new technologies arrive in the public space. It is one of the many design projects on display that tackle the issue of future mobility in the city. The focus is on how people and goods will be transported in the coming years, what the vehicles of tomorrow will look like, and how city dwellers will want to live.

“The Road Ahead shows possible future prospects for our cities and should encourage the public to engage in citizen-focused dialogue,” said Caroline Baumann, Director of the Cooper Hewitt. “This offers an opportunity to pursue a new, user-centric vision for roads and infrastructure to create more liveable, inclusive and equal cities with services, car-sharing agencies and mass transportation solutions that minimize greenhouse gases and meet users’ needs.”

According to the Cooper Hewitt site, the exhibition presents 40 design projects inspired by the technologies that will change how people, goods, and services will be moved in the future. With the rapid convergence of data and design innovation, cities are becoming smarter and transport options are multiplying. The Road Ahead encourages visitors to creatively consider how droids, bots, drones, and other forms of transportation can make streetscapes safer, transportation more equitable, and cities more sustainable. Arup, MIT, Höweler + Yoon, Toyota, IDEO, and Waymo are among the research institutions, designers, and manufacturers whose works and ideas are featured in the exhibition, which also includes a college showcase highlighting innovative concepts from design’s next generation.

Among the notable displays are “Design Pulse: What is the Future of Mobility Design?,” for which leading figures in design, transportation, and technology share their perspectives on the future of mobility. Another is “Who Owns the City of the Future?,” relating autonomous vehicles, electric cars, and ride-sharing applications are disruptive innovations that hold unknown outcomes for society.

The exhibit is not all about the future, with the “Dream Car” display featuring concept cars designed by Pete Wozena for General Motors. It presents an elaborate automobile/aircraft fantasy, a popular 1950s motif in designs for dream cars as well as production models that seems to be making a comeback in the form of new designs for flying cars in the form of new eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) urban air-taxi vehicles. Dream cars were an important aspect of Motorama, an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Premier stylists at GM were recruited by Head Stylist Harley Earl to create these top-secret designs in the company’s Art and Color department, and dream car models excited audiences that eagerly were imagining what advances in engineering may bring.

“The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility” at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York runs until the end of March.