Is this the future of motoring in Sunderland?

The driverless Mini
The driverless Mini
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A visionary artist says it’s a great honour to have one of his inventive creations go on display in his home city.

Dominic Wilcox, from the Elstob Farm Estate, near Silksworth, is celebrated in the art world for blurring the line between art and invention.

Dominic Wilcox

Dominic Wilcox

He’s had work displayed in some of the world’s greatest galleries, now his futuristic sleeper car is winging its way to Wearside.

The stained glass car, inspired by the ancient windows of Durham Cathedral, is the artist’s vision of a driverless Mini in the year 2059.

It’s previously been on display at Durham Cathedral, but will be on show in Sunderland for the first time when it comes to National Glass Centre in the New Year.

Dominic, a former St Aidan’s pupil, said: “It’s a great honour to have my Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car of the future shown in my home town. “Sunderland has such a wonderful history of glass making. The first stained glass windows in England were installed in St Peter’s church, only a stone’s throw from the National Glass Centre where my car will be shown.

“I look forward to hearing what people think of it. The future is exciting and Sunderland, with its car industry expertise, can lead the way in imagining the future of transport. Maybe one day we will all be travelling around Sunderland in a stained glass driverless car.”

Speaking about his inspiration for the invention, he added: “I thought about driverless cars and I picked the year 2059 – a hundred years after the original Mini came out in 1959. I imagined that in 2059, driverless cars would be commonplace.

“The technology will have developed so much that it will be safer to ride in a driverless vehicle than one driven by a human. There are no collisions on the digital M1 and this frees up car designers to not be so concerned about airbags and bumpers and safety features and simply make a living space on wheels.

“My car has no steering wheel, but it has a bed. You will simply tell the car where you want to go and you can go to sleep and the car will take you there.”

The car will be exhibited at National Glass Centre from January 7-31 as part of his Inventors! project commissioned by The Cultural Spring.

During Inventors! Dominic worked with hundreds of Wearside children to encourage them to think of their own creative inventions.

Local makers, expert trades people and manufacturers have helped realise these eccentric inventions that will feature in an Inventors! Exhibition.

•Dominic will host an artist talk at National Glass Centre on January 9 at 12.45pm. Entry is free.