Every year CES has future concepts and even working models of cars and vehicles that we could be seeing in the future and at this year’s event, it was no different. I take a look at some of the standout cars that look to make a change in the future of how we get around.
One of the most well-known car manufacturers has thrown their hat into the ring at CES with a smart vehicle that looks to change mobility and service of autonomous cars. The Toyota e-Palette is a reconfigurable autonomous pod that can provide services such as deliveries, pop up shops or even mobile homes. The e-Pallette measures 6m in length and 2m in height giving ample space to stand and move around inside. The exterior is made of large screens giving people inside to look out 360 degrees whilst the screens can be used as advertising or branding for those on the outside. It is fully electric as expected and loaded with sensors to achieve the autonomous nature seen in familiar Teslas. Toyota has already established partnerships with Amazon, Uber, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Didi Chuxing since the project’s onset. Toyota aims to have a concept model built and functioning on display at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It’s not clear if this will take off but with a solid car manufacturer and strong brands partnered there is huge potential for the e-Pallette
Byton is a relatively new car manufacturer from China and has its vision following that of Tesla. At CES Byton revealed its concept SUV. It looks like a modern sleek take on the Range Rover Evoke. It’s not the looks that make this car stand out, it’s the tech that’s been packed into it. The dash is a large 49-inch display that stretches the car width. The 4K UHD display incorporates a gesture control camera that will take hands-free input from driver and passengers to navigate and control the various functions built in. There is a multitude of functions from the Byton Life software platform, with the usual media and navigation. Added to that there is also output from all the cameras spotted around the vehicle displayed, access to streaming services and full compatibility with the owner’s smartphone. Byton also has the ability to connect to its smartwatch application and display all your body’s vitals on the dash as another function available to users. The smart tech isn’t just reserved for the display inside the car, the Byton has keyless entry via the use of facial recognition. Sensors built into the door pillars are able to determine and unlock the car on the owners facial mapping. Further to that, there is facial recognition built into the steering wheel to ensure you are allowed to drive the car and it from that point will the engine startup. It’s not just the drivers that get use of the facial recognition, passengers also get scanned and a profile is built upon which the Byton adjusts the seat and climate controls individually. Byton SUV Concept provides the bridge between a fully autonomous vehicle and what we currently drive on the roads. It will ship with level 3 autonomy meaning it will require a driver to be present behind the wheel, but the majority of the drive can be done by the car itself. Byton has claimed it will release an update after a year to the vehicles that will take it to level 4 autonomy meaning it will get you from A to B with any human input. Self-driving cars are coming and Byton is looking to be the crossover over point.
Fuel cell vehicles have been pushed by a few car manufacturers of which one is Hyundai. At CES 2018, Hyundai unveiled the Nexo, a next-gen fuel cell SUV. This will go up against current models out such as the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. Hyundai is banking on its longer fuel cell range and its new driver assistance tech to compete with other manufacturers. The Nexo uses Hyundais own platform which lets the powertrain and fuel tanks to be better incorporated into the car, leading to greater passenger space, efficiency, acceleration and aerodynamics
The Nexo comes with a range of 370 miles on a full tank and the advantage over electric is, it can refuel in 5 mins if the driver can locate a hydrogen filling station.
Driver assistance technologies range from, Remote smart parking assistance which will retrieve the vehicle at the touch of a button in an app, to lane following systems and Highway Driving assistant enabling the Nexo to travel at 90 mph centred in a lane without vehicle guidance up ahead. The Nexo states an alternative to electric with longer range and quicker refuelling whilst being eco-friendly.
Fisker rolled out its first electric car at CES under name Fisker EMotion. A supercar in the mould of a sedan. Fiskers hope is to lure customers away from the electric frontrunner Tesla. The EMotion can produce up to 775 horsepower from it multiple electric motors and has a range of over 300 miles of a single charge coming from its 140Kwh battery pack. The Fisker also comes with rapid charging enabling you to get back on the road in 15 mins. This is Fisker’s first foray into the manufacturing of car moving from its established automotive design foundation. As with modern car these days the Fisker will come with 4 levels of autonomous driving which will be dependant on the country and state it distributes in. Will this bold step by Fisker work or will it be dwarfed by the models already announced and in production by Tesla? Competition is healthy and it looks like this will continue to grow.
CES revealed that the future of the automotive industry is definitely autonomous driving, but what will be powering it still remains a question, will it be electric in the footsteps of Tesla or will hydrogen fuel cells take the lead. The future is definitely looking interesting and it looks like we on the cusp of major changes.
Tech Off MelOn!!