With dedicated automotive tradeshows like the IAA in Frankfurt seeing manufacturers opt out for the first time ever, it’s clear that automakers are looking for a fresh arena in which to showcase their latest vehicles. With the technology industry moving at a rapid pace and vehicles finally catching up to these trends, CES has become the perfect showcase for new in-car tech. This year, we saw futuristic concepts from Toyota, Ford, Kia, Hyundai and more. Here are the ones which caught our eye:
Mercedes-AMG “Project One”
With all the autonomous and green vehicles taking the plaudits at CES this year, Mercedes-AMG went against the grain and proudly demonstrated the Project One, a high-performance show car which looked to take Formula 1 tested technology to the road. This hybrid can produce over 1000bhp and reach speeds of over 350km/h, combining race-track performance with the handling required for standard road driving. The Project One is set to have a production run of 275 units, priced at $2.7m.
Arguably the most ‘out-there’ concept we saw at CES. Toyota have announced plans to create an ‘on demand retail experience’ in the way of an autonomous minibus-style vehicle which acts as a mobile shop for consumers. The idea of a roaming shop is certainly a fresh one, even amongst the 100’s of self-driving concepts out there, and is a part of Toyota’s move from a strictly automotive manufacturer to something more akin to a “multifaceted mobility company”. President Akio Toyota has expressed the wish to showcase the e-Palette at the 2020 Olympics in Japan and confirmed that Amazon, Uber and Pizza Hut will be involved in its conception. Not limiting themselves to retail, Toyota have badged the vehicle as a “flexible platform that be adapted to a range of services: ridesharing, medical services, or entertainment”.
Lyft Autonomous Taxi
On-demand transportation company Lyft made waves this year at CES with their autonomous taxi vehicle which was tested up and down the strip across the course of the week, giving people the chance to experience a nearly driverless experience for the first time. The vehicle featured a tablet for passengers to confirm their destination and a driver who was at the steering wheel to begin the drive and to take over in case of emergencies. During the journey, the passenger could see a visualisation of the various hazards and obstacles that the car was detecting with its array of sensors. Although fully autonomous roads are far from a reality, once the infrastructure is in place, companies like Lyft will be poised and ready with their cutting-edge technology.
Away from the largely autonomous-focused MO of other vehicles at the show, small start-up Byton instead their unique vision of the future, based in smart technology. Their concept notably features a full dash length screen or ‘Shared Experience Display’ and is centred on giving the driver a seamless link between their time outside the vehicle and their time inside it. The idea of the Connected Car, that is, a vehicle which integrates with our lives in the same way our smartphones and tablets do, has been tackled by many manufacturers in the 2010’s but this Byton concept takes a massive step forward to making this a fully-fledged reality.
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