Here’s an American electric maker who is aiming to be the next Tesla, perhaps even surpass it. They unveiled an impressive concept at the CES in 2016 in alliance with Chinese tech giant, LeEco but this year they’ve come out with a production version of its electric car called the FF91. Only 300 “Alliance Edition” launch units will be available, with first deliveries expected in 2018. Not just any other electric car, the FF 91 churns out more than a whopping 1000 bhp from its electric motors. Not just the power the range too is very long going at over 600 kms. This tops the best of Tesla sedans that stop at 480 kms. And to top it all Faraday’s FF 91 set a new 0-100 kmph record of just 2.39 seconds in a trial. The company simply says “It outruns gravity”. The price is still not revealed but according to the startup it wants to deliver the value of an ultra-luxury car at the price of a premium sedan.
BMW ‘Inside Future’ Concept
The BMW HoloActive Touch system made its debut at the show. This innovative interface between the driver and vehicle acts like a virtual touch screen; its free-floating display is operated using finger gestures and confirms the commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback. The HoloActive touch brings together the advantages of BMW features like Head-Up Display, gesture control and direct touch screen operation, and adds extra features to create a unique form of user interface. The functions can be controlled without any physical contact with materials, but the technology still enables the visible and tangible driver-vehicle interaction familiar from conventional touch screens. A camera detects the driver’s hand movements within this ergonomically user-friendly area, and registers the position of their fingertips, in particular. As soon as a fingertip makes contact with one of these virtual control surfaces, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is activated.
They’re calling it the Siri on wheels; Meet Yui, an artificial intelligent agent that gets to know you, and personalizes the vehicle’s settings to your preferences. It’s a part of the Concept-i vehicle which was revealed at the CES. While other car makers are focusing on technical capabilities of autonomous vehicles, Toyota wants to focus on the relationship between the occupants and the car. The system learns its driver’s preferences and lifestyle, and even pays attention to his emotions. While we’re still some time away from fully autonomous cars, as perfection s what Toyota is aiming for. This means for the time being occupants need to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the roads.
Toyota’s Japanese rival Honda is also showing something that focuses on artificial intelligence. The boxy shape is not out there to impress you with this design but this is a concept that looks at practicality and gives the humans emotions all the importance. Honda says the car has an ‘emotional’ engine which lets the car generate own emotions. Imagine a car that can read the feelings of its occupants and accordingly adjust music, interior lighting and other things to reflect their mood. And a car that understands the pains of your daily commute. Though not completely self driven the NeuV one does boast of some autonomous driving features.
Now this is an unusual company that doesn’t make production cars but still keeps coming up with unique concepts. Swiss design firm Rinspeed is displaying its latest work, the Oasis at the ongoing CES. The pod-like Oasis is a self-driven car that is powered by in-wheel electric motors, and all of its wheels have steering mechanisms. This gives the term turning radius a whole new meaning as the car can turn within its own length. This would come in really handy in the urban chaos. Making it more practical manual driving remains possible; a steering wheel is unfolded from the dashboard, and critical information is supplied to the driver. According to the company the Oasis can be used for daily commutes, both as solo and ride-sharing services in the near future.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars