If you thought we were a few years away from driverless cars then think again. Sure, in South Africa perhaps the concept of getting in a car without a driver might seem like the impossible, given our challenges with road safety and taxi drivers that will prevent this tech from rolling out, but in Las Vegas during CES 2019, driverless cars were actually driving on the road in the form of Lyft and Uber.
While I did not get a chance to ride in any of these, I did manage to get a glimpse at all the awesome smart cars on display at the expo, and they are pretty intimidating. CES 2019 Smart Cars were more than just four wheels and we are going to take a look at all of them below.
Check out all the awesome cars in action in a video straight from the expo below:
The Audi Aicon is not really a new smart car as it was first announced back in 2017 but it was still cool to see at CES 2019. This concept car is everything you would expect from a futuristic design and has all the bells and whistles packed into it. On the outside, it has a sleek alien design with LED lights on the front and back Audi call “Swarm Lights”. The LED lights travel from the left-hand side all the way to the right-hand side of the car which means the entire front and back of the vehicle is one massive light display. Audi says that this feature is needed to warn pedestrians on the road and with enough lights, it is easier.
As for the driving, this Audi Aicon is completely driverless and there is no way to drive it with a steering wheel. On the inside, you will find two comfortable lounge chairs that swing around and lean back. The back seats are leather with enough room for a few people. Think of the inside as an entertainment area where you just chill, watch the scenery displayed on the screen and get to your destination without having to put your foot on the pedal.
The entire car is very “out there” but Audi is confident that in 2021 they will start rolling this driverless experience cars out to the world. There is no word on pricing but expect them to cost a good few million rands.
Mercedes Benz Vision Urbanetic
Now while Audi had its concept car on display, Mercedes Benz’s Vision Urbanetic was actually fully functional and was driving people around Las Vegas during CES 2019. This giant capsule-looking vehicle is a transport and taxi car which means, again, no driving for you. As a passenger, you just sit and enjoy the sites as this giant car takes you around the city.
The vehicle has a crazy design to it that kind of looks like an egg with some real alien inspiration. The back and front lights push out of the shell and slide back into it to create a smooth design form and the inside is very “Las Vegas” with a giant roulette screen on the top of it. The car is built with a modular design which means it can change its form to either be a transport vehicle or a taxi.
One of the best parts about it has to be the simplicity inside the car. It has a few benches to sit on but its roomy and high giving you enough space to stand up and walk around. It is a long way from being ready for the mainstream road but according to reports of people who managed to drive in it in Las Vegas, it was a dream come true.
Aisin I-Mobility Type-C
CES 2019 was packed full of cool cars but one of them I thought was pretty great was this i-Mobility Type-C car from a Chinese manufacturer, Aisin. On the outside you get these vessel vibes as it is sleek and modern but inside is where the magic is. The i-Mobility Type-C has a range of smart features that sound pretty great in concept. Starting off with the car seats. The vehicle has a lounge-like area that is able to turn into a kid’s chair too. If you put your child in the seat the car will detect him or her and mould the chair to the child’s body creating no need for an additional car seat.
Another cool feature is the car’s ability to detect your mood and change its ambience and lighting to better it. If you are sad, the car will play uplifting music and the lighting in the car will adjust to help cheer you up. It is definitely one interesting concept which could be something we all make use of in the future.
KIA Taxi READ.ME Fleet Concept
KIA’s R.E.A.D M.E concept is less car and more an idea right now but I am here for it. The brand’s vision of a smart car is more an experience that changes everything you do and see while in a vehicle. Once you enter one of KIA’s R.E.A.D M.E vehicles, the car will detect your mood and adjust everything inside to help promote it or alleviate the stress you are under.
The displays will adjust what they are showing, the aircon will change its fragrance, and the chairs will vibrate to give you a soothing ride to your destination. It is an ambitious idea but KIA is confident that the sensors in the vehicles will be accurate enough to deliver a unique experience for every mood and every ride you take in the vehicles.
What do you make of all these cars? Let us know in the comments below.