Each year, Swiss automotive think tank Rinspeed reveals an all-new forward-looking concept car at the annual Geneva Motor Show. Last year it showed a robotic autonomous concept called Budii, and in past years, it's revealed a six-wheeled range-extending electric minicar, a truly go-anywhere amphibious hybrid and a shape-shifting electric 1+2. In 2016, Rinspeed will switch venues and reveal a drone-docking autonomous car at the Consumer Electronics Show. The car is called Ʃtos, and like all those previous Rinspeed designs, it's as interesting and thought-provoking as it is weird and overdesigned.
While heads up displays are becoming more common in new vehicles, that still leaves most of us staring down at the dashboard for our driving information. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the list of add-on HUD options designed to fit any car is growing rapidly. Joining that list is Exploride – a 6-inch heads up display with a comprehensive set of features that can be accessed through simple voice and hand gestures.
For the late-night reveler, the new BMW 7 Series has a feature that makes the walk through the carpark a bit less frustrating. At the press of a key fob, the Welcome Light Carpet lighting system shines a striped pattern of light on the ground to guide motorists back to their car thanks to a system of microoptic lenses developed by the Fraunhofer Institute.
A long-awaited software update from Tesla is due to be rolled out this week, adding elements of autonomy to its all-electric vehicles. CEO Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla Version 7 software with Autopilot is set for a worldwide release this Thursday, featuring other upgrades and a fresh new look for its user interface.
Japanese automakers are all bringing their A games to their home auto show this year, and Toyota is an early favorite for an unofficial "best in show" award. It will premiere three all-new concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and each is pretty radical in its own way. There's a compact, entry level sports car, a futuristic fuel cell commuter and a retro cruiser with open mechanicals.
It might be relatively new to the road car arena, but McLaren has a long history of success on the racetrack. From the MP4/4s that Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna battled each other in to the Can Ams that raced around America in the 1960s, the McLaren brand is steeped in motorsports tradition. It's this Can-Am heritage that McLaren Special Operations is paying tribute to with a limited-run version of the 650S Spider.
Subaru has already trotted three Viziv (Vision for Innovation) designs out over the past two years – the original 2013 Viziv concept, the Viziv 2 and the Viziv GT video game race car. Now it's reusing that semi-portmanteau once again for the Viziv Future concept. All the Viziv concepts have been forward-looking, but none more so than the Future. The new concept car is infused with next-generation technologies and design solutions inside and out.
A PSA Peugeot Citroën driverless vehicle has journeyed 580 km (360 miles)
on the motorway from Paris to Bordeaux entirely in autonomous mode. Automatically
maintaining its speed to the road conditions and traffic, as well as
independently changing lanes to pass slower traffic, the Peugeot Citroën
completed the journey without incident and demonstrated the increasing
viability of driverless motor vehicles.
For a long time now, BMW has hung its hat on the fact its cars are the Ultimate Driving Machines. All of its vehicles – including the big SUVs and front-drive minivans – are billed sharp handling sports cars. That same mentality is writ large in the new X4 M40i, a "sporty" SUV with big wheels, uprated brakes and stiff suspension ... oh, and it will also hit 100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
The 2015 Tokyo Motor Show gets underway later this month and automakers are busying themselves revealing and previewing planned premieres. We've seen vehicles of various shapes and sizes from Honda, Nissan's idea of what the digital generation might want to drive and now a couple of intriguing concept cars from Suzuki, including a roomy minivan that clearly borrows some inspiration from the Volkswagen Bulli.