Crafted entirely out of carbon fiber, the IDS wears an evolution of Nissan’s current design language that stands out thanks to angular headlights surrounded by C-shaped LED daytime running lights, a U-shaped grille with a back-lit Nissan emblem, a carbon fiber splitter and a sculpted hood. The back end gets a roof-mounted spoiler, a blacked-out C-pillar, and boomerang-shaped tail lamps that are almost Juke-like.
The IDS puts an equal emphasis on form and function. Its belt line is accented by thin strips of blue LEDs installed to interact with the car’s surroundings in real time. For example, the LEDs shine white when the IDS gets close to a pedestrian or a cyclist in order to let them know that the car’s sensors, radars and cameras are aware of them. Similarly, an outward-facing screen on the dashboard displays friendly messages such as “after you” directed at pedestrians and other motorists.
The IDS previews the autonomous technology that Nissan hopes to bring to the market by 2020. It takes self-driving cars to the next level by letting the owner dial in his or her preferred driving style. The IDS can be programmed to accelerate, corner, and brake like a sports car, or it can be programmed to offer a more relaxed, slow-paced ride.
When the IDS is being driven, the cabin features a steering wheel with two handle-like pods, a simple-looking digital instrument cluster, and a heads-up display. When the driver wants to rest, the steering wheel and the instrument cluster retract into the dash, and a huge screen that stretches the entire width of the dashboard pops out to let the passengers access social media networks, applications such as Skype, emails, and more. The entertainment and navigation functions are also displayed on the screen.
The IDS is powered by an all-electric drivetrain that gets electricity from a relatively large 60-kWh battery pack. A purpose-designed smartphone application lets the owner tell the car to pull in and out of a parking spot by simply pressing a button, and allows the owner to turn wireless charging on and off from a distance.
Although it looks like a car sent to the Tokyo show straight from the 23rd century, the IDS is an accurate preview of what Nissan has in store for the future. The design will be toned down and applied to the next Leaf, which is expected to arrive in 2017, and the autonomous technology will be launched in key markets such as Japan and the United States in the medium-term future.
Video and photos courtesy of Nissan/YouTube