McLaren’s MP4-X concept can harness the sun and read a driver’s mind

McLaren’s Formula One partnership with Honda isn’t exactly going the way either company expected. While both McLaren and Honda have pretty impressive F1 records (and have teamed up successfully before) the 2015 season has been dismal. Maybe that’s why McLaren is so eager to look ahead.

The McLaren MP4-X concept was designed as a “conceptual vision of for the future of motorsport technology,” according to the British firm. It looks like the love child of a current Formula One car, and the Batmobile.

The shape is much more streamlined than today’s F1 cars, with fully enclosed wheels and fewer of aerodynamic aids sticking out of the body. It also features a closed cockpit, something that’s actually being considered for use in future F1 racers. Formula One cars traditionally have open cockpits, but the deaths of driver Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson have led some to advocate a switch.

Beneath that jet fighter-like canopy, the cockpit is equipped with a head-up display that shows information like the positions of rival cars, flag and caution information, and the location of accidents. A 360-degree camera system helps eliminate blindspots.

The MP4-X even features technology that monitors electrical signals from the driver’s brain, and can use them to control certain functions. Anyone who’s seen the bizarre array of buttons and switches on an F1 steering wheel knows that some simplification of controls is probably a good idea. But, really, thought control?

Another nifty feature is the shape-shifting bodywork. Electrodes can shift pieces around under different conditions, helping to maximize downforce for grip in corners, or to cut drag for overtaking. As for the powertrain, McLaren says it uses a more extreme versions of the energy-recovery systems (ERS) used in today’s F1 cars. The MP4-X can harness solar energy, or draw energy from an inductive coupling built into the track.

While purely a concept, McLaren says all of the technologies highlighted in the MP4-X really exist, although they haven’t been fully developed. Maybe we’ll see some of them appear on the grid in the coming decades.

Movies & TV

Star Wars series 'The Mandalorian' adds 'Deadpool' actress Gina Carano

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Amazon HQ2(s), Indiegogo’s CEO, and Chris Bevans of Dyne

DT Daily's host Greg Nibler discussed headlines including Amazon's HQ2s and Twitter possibly getting an edit button. We also brought on the CEO of Indigogo and the creative director of Dyne.

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.

Honda will squeeze another model into its SUV lineup at the Los Angeles show

Honda will introduce a new SUV with a familiar nameplate at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. It envisioned the 2019 Passport as a five-seater alternative to the eight-seater Pilot. The two models will share a platform and many tech features.

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.