4 New Car Models Pushing The Boundaries Of Auto Design

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Sleeker lines, better battery capacity, lower emissions—these are the things that we think of when conversation turns to innovation in the automotive industry. Lurking behind these mainstream improvements, however, are tremendous leaps forward that will utterly change the way that we drive and ride. Here’s a peek at four upcoming car revolutions that will leave you wondering, “When can I get one?”

Honda NeuV

The Honda NeuV (pronounced “New V”) is less of a car and more of a rolling personal assistant. Built around Honda’s propriety HANA artificial intelligence, the NeuV will learn your preferred routes, frequent stops, and other personal traits so that it can tailor itself to your needs. If it notices that your heart rate is accelerated and your jaw is clenched (yes, it has facial recognition software), it will suggest some relaxing music or even advance order your favorite drink from the coffee shop on the way home. If you’re just an occasional driver of a friend or spouse’s NeuV, don’t worry—you’ll get your own very own user profile. But the NeuV keeps working even when you’re not around. The car’s AI will charge the electric battery only when it is most cost efficient; if that weren’t enough, if will sell stored energy back to the grid when rates are high, making it even more cost effective. And if you’re just sitting around at home or at work, the NeuV can autonomously drive out, pick up an Uber rider, take them to their destination, and bring a little pocket money back for you. With those kinds of simulated brains, it’s only a matter of time before the NeuV practically pays for itself.

Faraday Future FF91

With two rear-mounted motors cranking out 1,050 horsepower, Faraday’s experimental SUV-crossover can go zero-to-sixty in less than three seconds and travel nearly four hundred miles between charges.  But the vehicle’s forward-looking tech is the real draw. The FF91 features touch screens for all controls—not just radio, air conditioning, and other standard dashboard fare, but also the windows and seat adjustments, too. Your rearview mirror is replaced by a screen that incorporates side- and rear-mounted cameras to provide you with a full rearview, free of blind spots—good for you, and for the car when you relax and let it take over driving duties. Additional cameras will provide vehicle access based on facial recognition and interior climate control.

Mercedes Vision Van

It’s not sleek, it’s not sexy, but it is hyper-autonomous. It wasn’t designed for commuters—it was designed for those of us who’d rather not drive anywhere. No, it isn’t just another self-driving vehicle. This is a delivery blitzkrieg. The Vision Van features not only a fully automated cargo space as well as two rooftop docking pads for integrated delivery drones. While the driver is walking a package to your front door, the drones can carry out other four-pounds-or-less deliveries within a six-mile range. By the time they return, the next package will be ready and waiting for them. It’s UPS meets Amazon Prime, but with that undeniable Mercedes flair.

BMW HoloActive Touch Concept

Not a true production model, this BMW concept mockup nonetheless took CES-goers on a tour de force of the auto industry’s future. Gone is the ubiquitous clutter of buttons and knobs; instead, BMW offers a simple, serene dashboard while replacing the traditional physical interface with three-dimensional virtual controls. This works just like a touch screen, except there’s no actual screen; the graphics are all literally lighter than air. The HoloActive Touch system uses a projector to display holographic images while a camera tracks the driver/user’s motions as he or she interacts with the virtual dashboard. A subsonic speaker creates physical, haptic feedback when interfacing with the hologram, creating a palpable sensation of interaction whilst engaging the otherwise-intangible holograms. The redesign doesn’t stop at the dash, though; oriented around automated driving, BMW’s concept is more like a small apartment on wheels, with shelves for books and an LCD screen hanging down from overhead. These are just some of the most exciting places that technology is taking the automotive industry. While these cars and concepts are still under development, you can expect to see them rolling down your street in the near future