The technology in cars today is mind boggling. I can personally attest to this because I've recently purchased two new cars. The first is the 2016 Nissan Maxima SL and the other is the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder RL. Both cars were big upgrades from my 2013 Honda Accord and Civic. But what really stunned me was the advancements in technology in just 3 short years. Not only are we closer to cars driving themselves but the degree to which cars are now computers blew me away.
I mean who really needs to check the news of their favorite sports team while driving? Personally I see this as being fun and useful when my car is self driving but now? No thanks. In any event when it comes to car technology and the future of the industry you only need to look at the concept world for glimpses at what we might see down the road.
We've chosen 10 concept cars that give us a clear view of what we can expect.
What promises to be the "antidote for Acura's identity crisis" (according to Car and Driver), Acura's Precision concept car solidifies a unique twist on the sedan. With its almost supercar low stance and at 84 inches wide, the Precision pushes the boundaries of the standard four-door vehicle. The tech on this vehicle is also impressive. Acura's "digital human-machine interface" (HMI) basically customizes the car for whoever steps in by "recognizing" the person and loading personal features such as GPS, audio settings, and car performance. The release date in all probability will be in 2018, but no official date has been set at this time.
BMW is often seen as having the latest and greatest new little toys in their vehicles. And the concepts in the i-Vision are no exception. With it's 3-D instrument cluster display which boasts a 21 inch panorama display screen, one would think a person should be concerned about being distracted while driving. This is apparently not a problem, because BMW has included not only a Bump Assist (which will take a picture of anything that more than nudges the bumper of the car, which would hopefully provide a license plate number to follow up on), they have Assist driving, which real-time navigation, complete with accounting for weather and all traffic conditions, can help if it notices any danger.
If that is not enough, there is also the Auto mode which is mostly for long-stretch freeway driving. It allows the driver to take their eyes off of the monotonous road until they are needed again. The car will alert the driver a few seconds before they need to take up the reigns again. While we are not likely to see this car in and of itself, be sure that BMW will be adding these different features to their upcoming models as soon as possible.
Buick's Avista is a listed as a "contemporary grand tourer" according to the information noted on Chicago Auto Show. It has a twin-turbocharged V-6 that promises 400-horsepower to drive the rear wheels. The prototype 3.0-liter engine claims fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, stop/start technology, and is supposed to be matted with a new electronic precision shift eight-speed automatic gearbox. All that aside, this coupe's interior is nothing to sneeze at.
With touchscreen controls on its instrument panel display, advanced noise cancellation technology, ionic air purifiers and aromatherapy, this car also boasts "magnetic ride technology" that is supposed to offer more precise body motion control. Already noted on Buick's website is the fact that we definitely won't see the Avista on the road, but they do boast that this model should inspire new cars in the future.
Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept
With a concept hybrid propulsion system for the Cadillac's Urban Luxury Concept that includes a turbocharged 1.0L 3-cylinder engine employing electric assist technology, engine start-stop function, brake energy regeneration and a dry dual-clutch transmission, this combination could potentially provide a fuel economy of 56 mpg on the city streets and 65 mpg on the highway. What is really unique is the Orbit BabySmart Hub which is a baby car seat docking station built into the car itself, making this a great family wagon. No release date is scheduled for this car.
The Kia Telluride is an example of a "plug-in" car and also one that might be "healthy" for us. With it's debut back in January at the Detroit Auto Show, it teased viewers with its sleek design, huge sunroof, and ample interior spacing. Using Smart Sensors, this car monitors passengers bodies and with it actually activates the cars' LER (light emitted rejuvenation) which will emit a low level light therapy that can actually aid in a person's overall health.
Along with being beneficial to the body, the Telluride's Swipe Command technology might just make you feel like you entered a sci-fi movie. The car is said to respond to swipes and other various hand commands. Unfortunately, the release date for this beauty hasn't been set in stone yet, but you can choose to drool over its other features, such as its' 400 combined horsepower 3.5-liter V6 hybrid electric powertrain engine, advanced all-wheel drive, and cavernous seven passenger seating.
Peugeot Traveller i-Lab
Peugeot's Traveller i-Lab concept is a completely different sort of beast. While Wi-Fi is becoming almost commonplace in vehicles, this one ups the ante by allowing for inductive docks at all four of the passenger compartments seats, so everyone can keep their cellphones charged, and a 32-inch tablet with Bluetooth for the front passenger. This up-to-tech standards van is also able to support a Samsung Gear VR (virtual reality) headset. Labelled on their website, this VIP shuttle this van also includes GPS and voice recognition for the driver. This is another vehicle that is too new for a release date, but it definitely would be interesting to see some of it's features in their fleet models.
The Rinspeed ETOS is also said to be incredibly unique, and that's just with the starting point of having a drone of its very own. This car was specifically designed to show off fast changing technological advancements. This car does have autonomous capability, with technology that allows itself to adapt to the driver. It has the capability to learn to anticipate the driver's needs, after responding to manual inputs, such as hand gestures or the press of a button. Not only that, but its seat materials are tanned through an environmentally friendly process and they are glow in the dark. Again, since this car is just a showcase for the innovative ideas, it will not come to market anytime soon, but the features may become available in the near future.
The last of the concept cars brings us to Toyota's FV2, which was brought back to Chicago's 2016 Auto Show due to popular demand. Considering that it is not even on their website (as of this article) as a concept vehicle, it must have been brought back just to showcase some of the same ideas that were originally on it. Such as the idea of unifying the driver and the vehicle, this car is controlled by the driver's motion, rather than with a steering wheel. With an innovative emotional connection, the car will be able to respond to its driver based on their facial expressions, gestures, and recollection of past events. The specs were not available for this particular model, but the idea behind it is definitely unique.
Some interesting upgrades have been made to Volkswagen's Tiguan that definitely put this small SUV into the "cutting edge" of technology. With its 148 horse power, 184 lb./foot, 2.0 litre engine, it also has two electric motors that provide 54 horse power right up front, with 114 horse power coming up in the back. For those more interested in safety features, the Tiguan has front assist with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, an active hood for pedestrian protection, lane assist, and automatic post-collision braking. And that's just what's under the hood. Inside, there is the 9.2 inch HD touch screen that is also "gesture-controlled" (which is ready for apps such as Car-Net® App-Connect, Mirror Link™, Android Auto™, and Apple CarPlay®). As of January, there still has been no release date set, nor were there any to be noted on Volkswagen's website.
Volvo Concept Estate
Volvo's Concept Estate is the last one on our list. It is a slightly older concept, with cars that debuted back in 2014, but it definitely gives an idea of Volvo's plans for the future. Starting with IntelliSafe, they plan to help ensure that there will less accidents by 2020. This will be achieved with their Adaptive Cruise Control, which helps you to stay within your lanes while driving on the highway, Their 360° Surround View technology is designed to allow you to see all the obstacles around you. And finally, Driver Alert Control will alert you and prompt you to take a break when it senses that you are getting drowsy or inattentive on the road.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker