The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is underway in Las Vegas and some manufacturers have taken the opportunity to unveil some concept cars.
BMW’s i8 ‘iVision’ Concept
The BMW i8 concept has debuted at CES 2016…without any doors. It is based on the i8 Concept Spider that was shown an the 2012 edition of the Beijing Motor Show, but the designers have removed the doors.
The convertible offers three driving modes – Pure Drive, Assist and Auto. In Pure Drive mode it is an open top sports car piloted by the driver. Where as in Assist mode the driver has control of the concept but with assistance from a host of driving aids. And thirdly, in Auto mode the concept drives itself allowing the occupants to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery.
The iVision Future interaction also demonstrates the next generation of gesture-controlled in-car technology that BMW announced at the end of 2015 called AirTouch. This feature empowers intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple gestures made with a flat hand. AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface. Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror. This enables drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display. Simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.
(Photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters)
Faraday Future who are based in California have revealed its first prototype high performance electric concept. The concept car is based around what Faraday Future calls a ‘variable platform architecture’. The concept is that the car is fully customisable to allow one platform to be used in a variety of different vehicle styles. The company can add almost any type of body to the car so in theory anything is possible from a sports car to a people carrier.
The Budd-e is based on Volkswagen’s new modular Electric Platform which is designed specifically for electric vehicles and has been designed as an advanced four-wheel drive. The Budd-e is 4597mm long, 1940mm wide and 1835mm high and is based around Volkswagen’s new MEB (modularen elektrisch baukasten, for modular electric drive kit) platform. The electric engines are located at the front and rear of the vehicle and as far to the front and rear as they can be, allowing for an enormous amount of internal space.
The Budd-e draws on the design of the earlier Bulli concept vehicle which was wheeled out at the 2011 Geneva show. It’s boxy interior has been updated with a corporate grille incorporating round headlights and C-shaped daytime driving lights which also feature on the e-Up and e-Golf.
This new model receives a contemporary looking dashboard and high definition display for the internet enabled infotainment functions. The Budd-e also provides a glimpse of the gesture-based conttol system and autonomous driving technology.
Rinspeed are a Swiss car company with a difference. They prefer to create wacky concepts instead of production cars. They prefer to call themselves a ‘powerhouse of ideas’ rather than a car manufacturer.
The Rinspeed Etos is a sports car based on the BMW i8 but adds several features including a landing pad for a drone.
Bosch Connected Car Concept
Bosch is turning connected cars into personal assistants. For drivers, having the internet in their car is more than just a convenient add-on. It can make driving safer and more efficient. Bosch hope to show how simple theirs systems are to use while keeping driver distractions to a minimum. “The way to minimise driver distraction is to provide the right information at the right time,” said the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner.
In the show car, the dashboard and central console have been transformed into an electronic display. The information shown on this giant display changes depending on the vehicle’s current surroundings. If a pedestrian approaches from the right, a lighting sequence is triggered to alert the driver. Drivers’ preferences as well as appointments in their diary are also taken into account. For example, if an appointment is cancelled, the car of the future will automatically indicate the route to the next appointment in the diary. Drivers will be able to activate the autopilot to free up even more time and make their journey more relaxed.
The vehicle’s touchscreen is a little different to the ordinary. It can generate different surface textures allowing elements to be felt on the display. The screen generates the feel of rough, smooth and patterned surfaces to indicate different buttons and functions. To make a selection, a button needs to be pressed more firmly. What makes this special is that the touchscreen looks no different from an ordinary display – and yet it gives users the impression that they are pressing real buttons.
Audi has presented a number of technology innovations at this year’s CES along with the e-tron Quattro concept car. The one-off vehicle was originally displayed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. This time it features a next-generation version of Audi’s virtual dashboard and OLED lighting technology.
The central MMI interface consists of two screens: a lower touchscreen that operates the climate control and an upper touchscreen that controls the navigation and audio systems.
Organic LEDs (OLEDs) are also coming to exterior lighting according to Audi. Specifically to rear lights, break lights and turn signals. Audi claims OLEDs’ advantages include their homogenous light quality, that they can be dimmed to any brightness, and that they don’t require a reflector. Eventually, matrix OLED units could supplement Audi’s matrix LED and laser headlights. The company also showed off a 3-D OLED taillight