Eileen Mandir

Where Do Cars Go At Night? — How will our kids be educated about autonomous mobility in the future?

Children's book on autonomous driving
A children's picture book on autonomous driving

How will self-driving cars change mobility as we know it? What will self-driving vehicles do when we sleep? How will our kids be educated about this?

»Where Do Cars Go at Night« is a children’s book of the future. In this future, we will have to teach our children what self-driving cars do at night. The book tells the story of self-driving car CARLA-15 and what she will be doing all night, while the rest of the world sleeps.

A future children

CARLA-15’s story shows how life will change once autonomous vehicles are an everyday reality. CARLA-15 is part of a shared-vehicle fleet that brings us from A to B during the daytime, but won’t need to “sit around and sleep” during the night. CARLA-15 explains how she will be able to help us with our daily tasks, while we are sleeping.

Leading experts agree: Self-driving cars will be part of everyday life soon

Transporting people from A to B will only be one of the services cars will help us with. Creating speculative scenarios of the future is one way to understand and discuss how self-driving cars might change mobility as we currently understand it. By telling CARLA-15’s story an otherwise abstract future becomes tangiable. A speculative future that is built on the following assumption: In 10 years it will be totally normal that cars drive around for us at night. Answering the question “Where Do Cars Go At Night?” will be just like explaining where the sun goes when it’s dark.

For many “normal” people self-driving vehicles are still a thing of the future.

Today, creating services that self-driving vehicles can assist us with is an expert-only topic. For many “normal” people self-driving vehicles are still a thing of the future. »Where Do Cars Go at Night« is supposed to illustrate what we can expect from this technology in a very simplified way: as a childrens picture book of the future.

To discuss this book with true experts, we decided to get in touch with Sven Beiker (former Executive Director of CARS at Stanford University and Mobility Consultant at McKinsey) and a bunch of kids (clearly experts on childhood entertainment). Take a look at what their respective opinions on self-driving vehicles were …

Why We Made a Children’s Book

Mobility is deeply woven into our everyday lives. Changes to this part of our daily routine will impact us in many ways. Without human drivers streets will be safer and traffic flow will increase. Land use might change as we change our travel behavior. All these topics and more are illustrated in the book for everybody to understand.

Use of parking garages will change

Use case CARLA-15 picking up a little boy

How self-driving vehicles will change mobility is starting to be common talk within the mobility sector. It’s just a matter of time until we all get to know the true promise of self-driving cars. Which is why we want to break down the discussion and bring it to a level that everybody - even the smallest - can relate to.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

We see this book as a common ground to discuss the complex futures of autonomous mobility with a wide range of audiences from experts to citizens of all ages.

Kids looking a book "Where Do Cars Go At Night?"

Once we held the first hard copy of »Where Do Cars Go at Night« in our hands, it was clear that we needed this book to be evaluated by real experts! A curious bunch of kids from the Johanniter Kindergarten in Erkrath, along with kids from the international school in Stuttgart, met up with us and shared their thoughts of self-driving vehicles.

Take a look inside the book

Cars dont need drivers anymore
Cars dont need parking garages anymore
Cars can relax at the energy station
Cars meet their friends at the workshop
Self-driving vehicles will replace a large part of the world's car fleet

Inspiration behind the book

During a design workshops at HfG Susanne Purucker brought up the question, what will self driving cars do at night? She answered this question with a concept version of »Where Do Cars Go at Night«. Together with Wolfgang Gruel we took this draft and worked out a story around CARLA-15, and her friends. While Shiori Clark was another great enrichment to the team creating the characteristic illustrations bringing the story to life.

Project host:
moovel lab
People involved @moovel lab:
Raphael Reimann, Tilman Häuser, Eileen Mandir
Shiori Clark, Susanne Purucker, J. Paul Neeley
Special Thanks To:
Sven Beiker (Lecturer at Stanford University & Mobility Consultant), Johanniter Kindertagesstätte (Kindergarteners), HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd (Partner University), Alex Penrose (Video), Thomas Thöne (Video), Alexandra (Kids Opinion Leader), Erica (Kids Opinion Leader)

Mention, award, publication and press