At the Shanghai auto show, Chevrolet unveiled its FNR concept, an electric autonomous vehicle designed in China as an exploration of the future of personal transport.
Autonomous car development has been moving so rapidly that we are beyond the point of focusing on how this new technology will work, and now looking at how we will experience these vehicles. In January, Mercedes-Benz launched the F 015 research vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show, and now Chevrolet follows with a similar concept unveiled at the Shanghai auto show.
The exterior evokes the BMW i8, and shows strong concept car design including transparent side panels and excessively large wheels with very low-profile tires. Side mirrors are, of course, missing.
The front features a large cow-catcher air dam and an almost open-wheel design, seeming to allow air flow to the wheels, which use rim-mounted electric motors for propulsion. A smooth canopy arcs over the entire vehicle. Chevrolet’s press release notes that a radar on top of the car maps out the local environment for self-driving.
Laser headlights and taillights add to the high-tech exterior design, but Chevrolet has no specifications on range or power. The FNR looks primarily designed to explore how humans might travel in an autonomous vehicle. The four seats in the cabin can swivel to face each other, or one of the front passengers can take over as a driver. Display panels across the dashboard and in the sides of the car presumably give passengers access to infotainment features.
Chevrolet notes that the FNR would incorporate a “personal assistant” which would serve as a schedule and route planner. Instead of a key, the car would use an iris scanner for biometric identification.
Don’t expect the FNR to see production anytime soon, but we are likely to see similar concepts hit auto show floors over the next few years.