The imagination of automated automobility puts into question the control of
the vehicle by a masculine driver and potentially disturbs feelings of safety,
power, security, and freedom. Given that systems of automobility and communication
technology are already gendered and racialized in particular ways,
this article explores how recent “premediated” depictions of automated car
technologies reconfigure and reproduce the historically gendered and raced
representations, meanings, and practices of (auto)mobility. This inquiry employs
a media ecological approach within the qualitative analysis of two concept
car previews by Nissan and Volvo. Rather than a degendering of the driver,
we suggest a multiplication of gendered and racialized technologies of mobility
via several forms of hypermediation. We also explore how the autonomous
car continues to evoke utopian spatial metaphors of the car as sanctuary and
communicative environment while allaying fears of dystopian metaphors of
the vehicle as traffic trap, virtual glass house, and algorithmic target.
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