Hyundai Mobis, which is the South Korean industrial giant’s automotive supplier arm, is headed to the IAA in Munich next month with the M.Vision X concept that promises to fit right in with the Mobility theme of the new show. Designed as an autonomous vehicle meant for four passengers, the M.Vision X concept features windows that can transform into displays for the benefit of the passengers, perfect for watching videos. In fact, just about every horizontal surface is a screen, with the vehicle permitting passengers to constantly be entertained by something, offering 360 degrees of viewing surfaces.
If this sounds like a preview of our entertainment-obsessed future, where even windows become screens for our entertainment, then what is even the point of autonomous cars, one would say, if not to allow ourselves to watch cat videos on YouTube instead of driving?
That future looks contact-free as well—perhaps previewing a permanent pandemic state—judging by the concept’s use of gesture and voice controls.
“The core solution of M.Vision X is the vertical cockpit in the center of the interior, which looks like a square pillar,” the company notes. “On each of the four sides of the integrated center cockpit is a 28-inch display. This integrated center cockpit communicates with passengers in a contact-free fashion using the gesture recognition functions. As a result, passengers can control all driving-related functions, e.g. the autonomous driving mode, AI speakers and infotainment. There is also a sterilization function that uses UV lighting to automatically sterilize the vehicle once the passengers get out of the car. This new technology is also a feature of M.Vision X.”
The M.Vision X can seem either utopian or dystopian, depending on your view of pandemic-friendly touchless controls for everything. It also echoes the countless lounge-like vehicle concepts we’ve seen from South Korean and Japanese automakers, dating back maybe 20 years—long before any semi-autonomous vehicles were even in prototype stage. In that sense, the M.Vision X concept may prove to be more tangible and easy to picture than ever before, especially given that prototypes with Level 4 autonomy have been around for a few years now; we’ve even gone for a spin in a handful of them.
With Level 4 autonomy being carefully rolled out on a small scale, perhaps we’re approaching the point where autonomous, geofenced shuttles like this one are a couple of years away from seeing limited, but very real, use, with custom-designed bodies meant to serve as autonomous taxis. The M.Vision X concept certainly looks like a robotaxi that could be deployed soon on a wider scale, even as prototypes now approach limited use in some cities.
“We worked hard to sublimate the changes in life people have had to cope with in the post-Covid 19 era with new mobility technologies,” said Vice President Cheon Jae-Seung, head of the Fundamental and Advanced Lab of Hyundai Mobis. “The new mobility platform, as presented by Hyundai Mobis, contains the spirit of technical exploration, which also enables people to share their thoughts and feel the joy of everyday life.”
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