Features like navigation and infotainment systems are becoming increasingly important to consumers when looking for a car to buy, and automakers that make the best use of the newest technologies in these areas will having an ever-increasing advantage over their competitors. So to showcase where they believe these trends will be heading in the near future, automotive supplier Visteon has created a concept car, known as the e-Bee, filled with current and near-future tech.
The e-Bee is based on the Nissan Leaf, which seems like a logical choice as an electronics showcase, but there was even more to it than that. Visteon was also showing off a new climate control system that incorporates both the heating and air conditioning into one unit. This saves electricity, particularly in cold weather, thus improving the vehicle’s range while using the climate control. Much of the instrumentation has been replaced by screens, and touchscreens have also replaced the switchgear, infotainment and headlight controls. A screen even replaced the rearview mirror, offering a much wider field of view.
The car has the ability to sync with your various mobile devices as well, and can even read your calendar to determine whether you’re on your way to an appointment, and then automatically update the navigation system accordingly. The interior surfaces are made of recycled materials and manufactured by Visteon to save weight when compared to materials being used currently. Connectivity will be important, and as such, the e-Bee is designed to use open-source programs which can be updated regularly over the life of the vehicle. The car will be a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot, andwas built with the idea in mind that people would use it for ride sharing programs, and that these people would be able to get work done in the car.
These are some exciting ideas, although there are those would seek to further limit such communications equipment in cars as a safety measure. It remains to be seen whether it will be technological advancement or legislation which shapes the future of our cars’ interiors, but we like the e-Bee anyway. CNET reports that the car will be making an appearance at CES in early January, where we’ll likely get some hands-on time for ourselves.