Friday, 27 October 2017

UX and UI will play a huge role in the success of the autonomous vehicle industry. In the future, who-or what-would you rather have show up at your door with a delivery for you: a friendly albeit tip-seeking delivery person, or a self driving truck?

By: Hunter Jensen
UX and UI will play a huge role in the success of the autonomous vehicle industry.
In the future, who-or what-would you rather have show up at your door with a delivery for you: a friendly albeit tip-seeking delivery person, or a self driving truck?
Sure, the friendly delivery man brings your food to your door, but the Google self-driving minivan doesn't need small talk or a tip. The food it delivers could be less expensive, too, since the pizza parlor will be able to eliminate the cost of delivery people (and their benefits).
Despite your grandmother's insistence that small talk is the basis of human decency, societal trends are increasingly dictated by young people, who like saving money almost as much as they dislike interacting with people. 
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been in the works for a while, but aren't quite street legal yet. In the near future, however, businesses should bet on autonomous vehicles to take over a variety of delivery and driving services currently performed by humans.
Autonomous vehicles are poised to reframe how we think about the delivery and in-home service industries. The transition from tipping a delivery person to grabbing your own pizza out of a self-driving minivan will raise the bar for IoT app developers, as it's their job to make the self-serve experience a seamless one.

How AVs Will Change Home Service to Self-Service
Autonomous vehicles remove the need for a human to deliver equipment or products to your home, which begs the question: do we still need a person to perform the service at all?
Some services require an expert craftsperson (not just anyone can repair your electrical outlets), but others-delivering pizza or vacuuming your pool-don't require special skills. With autonomous vehicles transporting the pool vacuum to your door, it would be quite easy for you to take it off the truck and put the automated vacuum in your pool.
The rise of autonomous vehicles will transform the current home service model, as companies question whether they really need to pay someone to drive (read: ride) to your home and perform a relatively straightforward task you could do yourself with an app.
Companies that can't do away with service people entirely can at least offer a self-service option for those consumers who have small requests or want to save money. When you don't have to pay wages and benefits to a service person, you can offer services at a lower price.
Think of how many people prefer using self-checkout at the grocery store, possibly so they can avoid interacting with a cashier. Now, imagine if your groceries also cost less when you choose self-checkout because you don't contribute to the clerk's wages.
To remove the human employee from the equation, companies will need apps that enable consumers to serve themselves. App developers will become essential to transitioning from the human-driven car to the self-serve, autonomous vehicle economy.
Autonomous Vehicles Put the User in the Driver's Seat
The new AV-driven self-service model will mean the user will be more involved in the process, whether placing a food order through an app, inserting paper into the shredder correctly, or operating carpet cleaning equipment.
Advances in robotics will likely also change how people interact with these services. For example, instead of inserting the paper into the shredder yourself, robots built for the purpose could do it for you.
For all this to occur, IoT app development will require a high standard for user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). If people don't find it easy to adjust to the new self-service model, they won't accept it. To help companies succeed, the challenge falls on IoT developers to design apps that make the help quick, intuitive, and convenient.
Developers need to start thinking about this today if they are going to participate in the revolution of tomorrow. The number of IoT app developers needed to accomplish this will grow over time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts demand for software developers to increase by 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.
Tech companies and auto manufacturers currently refining autonomous vehicles will be looking for innovations from app developers as soon as they can. In order to take a driver's seat in the oncoming autonomous vehicles revolution, IoT developers should be discussing, researching, and developing prototypes as soon as possible.
If you can meet autonomous vehicles with an expertly designed app as it comes out of the gate, you'll establish yourself as a leader in the industry for companies looking to implement apps with their own autonomous vehicles.
How to Develop for Self-Service in the Autonomous Vehicles Marketplace
Service app developers must consider two audiences: services companies and the patrons of those companies. But you should design for only one audience: the consumer. Although you'll need to sell your idea to the service company itself, your IoT service app must meet the needs of the company's customers.
As the actual end users, if the app doesn't make things easier or more convenient for customers, they'll find another service provider.
Because the self-service autonomous vehicles economy will require a shift in mindset for customers, it's imperative that IoT developers start by considering the pain points that will arise for users. Think of what questions those consumers will ask, like: "How do I use this equipment?" "Who (and how) can I ask if I have a question?" "I plugged it in, but it's not working. What do I do now?"
Without a service person on the job, consumers will need to navigate the service or delivery themselves. They may have only your app to guide them, so focus on UI design and ease-of-use.
Make the UI as intuitive and clean as possible. Study and incorporate UX features that make it faster and easier to get services completed or goods into the home. Incorporate easy methods for customers to get in touch with services teams and ask for help.
Put yourself in the consumers' shoes as they take pizza from the autonomous vehicles, receives their bags of groceries, or loads precious belongings onto a truck. What is the consumer's primary goal? By the time the pizza arrives, the aim is to grab the food and get back inside fast. The app that asks you to fill out two simple fields to complete your order will likely prove more popular than one with 10 fields to fill out.
The consumer requesting an autonomous moving truck won't prioritize time nearly as much as caution. An app with more form fills, well-written instructions, and access to in-app chat with a customer service representative can reassure customers that their belongings are in good hands (or rather, wheels).
As developers, we know there are endless bells and whistles we could integrate into our apps. But if they don't solve a customer's problem or enrich his or her life in some way, they don't belong.
Security Could be the Toughest Obstacle
Today, package thieves follow UPS trucks around and take boxes right from people's front doors. It's not hard to envision an updated version of this when autonomous vehicles roam the street. Integrating security assurances into UI will help early adopters feel comfortable taking the exciting leap into the AV economy.
Service companies will need apps that confirm their autonomous vehicles have reached the correct party before they release the goods or unlock the unit. This identification could be touch-based, phone-based, or a numerical code. The app's UI should make it clear to consumers that this slight inconvenience keeps them and their information safe.
While it can certainly ruin a holiday, occasional package thievery doesn't compare with a hacker accessing thousands of personal records from a restaurant by infiltrating its autonomous delivery car. autonomous vehicles driving to consumer homes will collect addresses and most likely credit card numbers. Multifactor authentication and partitioning information will become all the more necessary in app development.
Code for Ubiquitous Compatibility
It will take sophisticated software to run the autonomous, so IoT app developers must prioritize compatibility between their technology, the car's software, and other apps. Today's consumers expect smooth connectivity between their IoT devices and their favorite apps. They also expect the process to be clear and easy, or they will abandon it with a swipe of the finger.
IoT connectivity means developers must test on all devices. Service companies will need apps that are fully compatible with both Android and iOS phones and with the software that runs the autonomous vehicles.
Streamlining these separate facets promise to be a complex challenge for ambitious developers. The straightforward and clean UI "face" over this extensive backend development will be the developer's masterpiece.
Plan to Continually Upgrade
Operating via the ultimate IoT device (the autonomous vehicle), service app software will be open-ended and forever amenable to upgrades. Because your app won't need to be physically loaded into the car before the vehicle is shipped, creation of autonomous vehicles and the app can occur in tandem.
The thrilling novelty of IoT apps for service autonomous vehicles also means that version 1.0 may not be glitch-free. Developers can send upgrades and patches over the app's lifespan, just as game developers have done for years.
The freedom to continually upgrade and repair is both a blessing and a curse. Service app upgrades must keep pace with mobile and AV software updates. While something of an outside third party, service apps will be part of the comprehensive AV ecosystem and must interact well with both the vehicle software and other apps automakers will use to enhance the car.
Helping Users Help Themselves
Can you remember the last time you visited a full-service gas station and sat in your car while an employee filled your tank? While your grandmother may have preferred to visit Ned, who chatted with her as he filled the car, the majority of society flocked to the self-serve model in the 1970s as it saved both consumers and gas stations time and money.
The same irresistible benefits will draw companies and consumers to self-service in the AV economy. It's become second nature to self-serve at the gas station. Soon, it will be second nature to use a self-service model when ordering groceries, bathing your dog, or cleaning your swimming pool.
Simply open an app, press a few intuitive buttons, and wait for the AV to arrive with the product you requested or the service equipment you need.
Developers will be pivotal in determining whether consumers accept self-service models for many of their daily tasks. Getting customers to trust Google's minivan pizza delivery over the pleasant delivery boy will take some effort. Still, the drive for ever-increasing convenience, advanced technology and financial savings tends to outweigh traditional reticence.

The more complicated the world gets, the more we rely on consumer-oriented user interfaces, enabling all users to take advantage of the amazing benefits the Internet of Things promises.

article from: Auto News

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Canada, A Leader in AI is Now Shifting Focus to Autonomous Vehicles Having built an impressive lead in artificial intelligence, Canada is keen to do the same in autonomous vehicles -- specifically the lidar


by: Natalie Wong, Bloomberg 

Having built an impressive lead in artificial intelligence, Canada is keen to do the same in autonomous vehicles -- specifically the lidar (laser radar) technology that lets the vehicles see where they're going.
The nation's main contender is LeddarTech Inc. The Quebec City-based company makes solid-state technology it says is better and cheaper than earlier versions of lidar and sells it to parts makers, which in turn bake it into their hardware. LeddarTech has attracted big-name industry backers including Delphi Automotive, Germany's Osram Licht and Fiat Chrysler's parts division, which last month participated in a $101 million fundraising round.
There's a race on to get self-driving cars on the road over the next four years and lidar is a key component in making that possible. The market for the technology will grow tenfold to $2.5 billion by 2027, according to Akhilesh Kona, a senior analyst at IHS Markit, and become much bigger as cars become increasingly autonomous.
'Pot of gold'
LeddarTech has plenty of well-financed rivals. Among them: Velodyne Lidar Inc., which has the backing of Ford Motor Co. and China's Baidu Inc., and Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, which is trying to develop its own lidar. "Competition exists simply because the opportunity is so great," says LeddarTech CEO Charles Boulanger. Those that survive will be rewarded with a "major pot of gold."
Driverless cars "see" the world around them using data from cameras, radar and lidar, which bounces laser light off objects to assess shape and location. High-speed processors crunch the data to provide 360-degree detection of lanes, traffic, pedestrians, signs, stoplights and anything else in the vehicle's path. That enables it to decide, in real time, where to go.
Today's mechanical version of lidar is clunky (it has been compared with spinning buckets of fried chicken) and fastened to the roof of a vehicle. With its moving parts, the technology is vulnerable to wear, tear and vibration. It also lacks sufficient range and is too expensive -- from a few thousand dollars to as much as $70,000 -- to make mass production feasible.
Lidar companies are now shifting to solid-state technology -- no moving parts -- which is less susceptible to mechanical failure and changing weather conditions. Velodyne, which helped pioneer mechanical lidar, introduced a solid-state version of its technology this summer. The costs are already starting to fall; Silicon Valley startup Quanergy Systems Inc. says it's manufacturing a product for about $250 and expects to bring that cost below $100 in three to four years.
Government help
LeddarTech was spun out of the National Optics Institute, a government-funded research facility in Quebec City. Back in the 1980s, the dean of Laval University at the time persuaded the federal and provincial governments that optics and photonics were the future of tech. Not long after, a small research team began developing lidar in conjunction with a research agency at the Department of National Defense, which wanted technology that could detect biological warfare agents.
About 10 years ago, LeddarTech researchers started working on solid-state lidar for autonomous cars -- long before many of its competitors. While its technology still costs a few hundred dollars, the company says it produces images that are 25 times sharper than rival lidar, meaning a driverless car can more precisely maintain awareness of nearby pedestrians, vehicles and other objects. LeddarTech's only local competition is another Quebec-based startup called Phantom Intelligence, which secured an investment from Korean auto parts maker Sungwoo Hitech Co. Ltd. this summer.
Can LeddarTech duplicate Canada's breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, which have shown up in Facebook's facial recognition algorithms, Google's Photos app and even Japanese robots? IHS Markit's Kona says the company has a good chance of being a real contender because its platform can be easily adapted to a range of technologies and suppliers. "LeddarTech can be a winning model," he said in an interview.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Polestar: How Volvo's EV performance brand will take on Tesla and AMG

Clarification: This story originally said that customers couldn't outright buy a Polestar, but the company now says that it's not ruling that out. The focus, however, seems to be on online ordering and the subscription program.

by: Jordan Golson
SHANGHAI, China - Three years ago, Volvo's renaissance began with the release of the new XC90 SUV. It was made possible by a multi-billion dollar infusion of cash by Geely, the Chinese company that acquired Volvo from Ford. That's was followed by the S90 sedan, V90 wagon, and, most recently, the volume-selling Volvo XC60. More cars, including the new XC40 compact SUV, are on the way - but there is still much left to be written of the Volvo story.

The next chapter starts tonight, here in Shanghai, with Volvo's transformation of Polestar - its longtime sporty nameplate - into a standalone brand focused on sporty cars with advanced electrified powertrains as well as a full-throated embrace of purchasing cars via a subscription-model. Polestar is also something of a statement about where Volvo thinks the entire auto industry is headed.

Three cars are being announced today. First is the aptly-named Polestar 1, limited-production, plug-in hybrid, 600-horsepower grand tourer based on Volvo's Scalable Platform Architecture, the same as Volvo's new-generation 60- and 90-series cars. Production will begin in mid-2019, and will be followed by a fully-electric, midsize sedan Polestar 2 before the end of 2019. Finally, Polestar 3 will be a larger SUV-type EV.

But perhaps more interesting than the cars, which are still a few years off, is the sales process. Polestar's vehicles will all be ordered online - and while it originally sounded like you couldn't buy one in the traditional way, at least not officially, Polestar is apparently willing to take offers. But instead, the company seems focused on offering two- and three-year all-inclusive subscriptions for its vehicles. Insurance, maintenance, and depreciation are built into a (not yet disclosed) monthly fee.

The entire Polestar process can be done online, from scheduling test drives to customization and ordering - though there will also be "Polestar Spaces" around the world, offering potential customers a place to go and ask questions of Polestar employees and test drive the vehicles. Notably, they will not be located within existing Volvo showrooms. It all sounds very Tesla-esque.

We've seen similar subscription-type offerings from a number of brands including Cadillac and Porsche, but Polestar seems to be the first company that will forgo both traditional dealerships and the ability to typically "purchase" cars. Polestar says that once the initial subscription period is up, the car will be returned by the customer and sent out again on a cheaper pre-owned subscription.

The company says it is trying to eliminate the hassle from the car buying and ownership process. Scheduled maintenance will be handled concierge-style, with the car picked up from the customer when it's convenient. A number of other services will be offered for an additional fee, including the temporary rental of other Volvo vehicles both domestically and internationally, car wash and valet services, or the temporary installation of a roof box or ski-rack.

Polestar vehicle maintenance will be performed at "select Volvo retailers," so they aren't left entirely out of the picture. But, thanks to the concierge pickup and drop-off services, Polestar subscribers won't ever need to step foot in a dealership if they don't want to.

Like with the Tesla Model 3, Polestar plans to offer a phone-as-key mode, allowing the concierge service (or anyone one might wish to loan the car to) easy access to the car without the owner needing to be present.

For a half-decade, Polestar has been to Volvo what AMG is to Mercedes, or M to BMW. Several Volvo models, including the S60 sedan and V60 wagon have fully-fledged Polestar customizations, with few parts of the car left untouched in a quest for increased performance. The latest 90-series of cars, including the XC90 and V90 have more limited Polestar customizations available, including the reprogramming of engine ECUs and tweaked badging and more aggressive looks. Volvo Polestar Engineered Products will continue to exist.

Polestar was a Swedish customization and racing shop when it first partnered with Volvo in the mid-90's, but things got a lot more interesting in 2015 when Volvo acquired Polestar's performance operations outright, leaving the race team - which competes in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship under the Cyan Racing banner - separate. Now Polestar is becoming its own wholly owned Volvo subsidiary, following in the footsteps of Mercedes which released the AMG-branded GT sports car a couple years ago.
The new Polestar Production Center is under construction in Chengdu, China. With an expected completion date of mid-2018, Polestar is capitalized with a 640 million euro joint venture between Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holdings. Polestar will operate as a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group.

The Chengdu Production Center will also include the first Polestar Space, where potential customers can test the Polestar vehicles on a private test track, including taking the cars "to extremes not possible on public roads." More Polestar Spaces are expected to open beginning in early 2019.

In many ways, Polestar is a shot across the bow directly at Tesla. Though its first cars won't get to customers before early 2019 at the earliest, the order book for the Polestar 1 opens today - and there are decent odds that if you were to order a Polestar 1 and a Tesla Model 3 today, you might even get them around the same time.

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photos from: Polestar

Friday, 13 October 2017

Semi Hands-Free Cadillac Hands-free autonomous driving is no longer the stuff of Silicon Valley dreams and bug-eyed research vehicles. With Cadillac's long-awaited Super Cruise feature, which launches this month in the 2018 CT6, drivers will be able to buy a car that can drive itself on many highways.

by: John R. Quain

Hands-free autonomous driving is no longer the stuff of Silicon Valley dreams and bug-eyed research vehicles. With Cadillac's long-awaited Super Cruise feature, which launches this month in the 2018 CT6, drivers will be able to buy a car that can drive itself on many highways. Unlike existing semi-autonomous driver-assistance systems from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volvo, you don't have to keep a hand on the wheel or retake control of the car after a few seconds. Super Cruise is designed to drive the car by itself for hours on end without driver intervention. 
Of course, there are limitations. General Motors describes Super Cruise as a Level 2 autonomous system, one in which the system can handle steering, acceleration, and braking while operational. While it doesn't require a frequent hand on the wheel, it does require human monitoring.
So far it works on the 130,000 miles of highways in the United States and Canada that Cadillac has specially mapped (including those that a caravan of CT6s are currently using in a cross-country journey showcasing the technology). Super Cruise works only on divided highways that have no intersections, and it cannot perform sophisticated maneuvers such as changing lanes. It will not work above 85 mph or in a snowstorm, and it can behave like a peeved parent. If you start horsing around behind the wheel-turning away too much to interact with your passenger or watch a movie-it will stop the car.

A steering-wheel light bar and cluster icons indicate the status of Super Cruise and will prompt the driver to return attention to the road ahead if the system detects he or she has turned away from the road too long.
Nevertheless, after a test ride in a 2018 CT6 outfitted with the new option, it is clear Super Cruise represents a milestone in the race toward autonomy. And more important for Cadillac, it's an optional feature buyers are not going to want to do without. Super Cruise arrives in showrooms this month and will be a $5000 option on the Premium Luxury model, which starts at $66,290, and standard on the $85,290 Platinum model.
Even after logging many hours in experimental autonomous cars and tens of thousands of miles using driver-assistance systems, it was still disquieting to push the Super Cruise button and let go of the controls for the first time. But within minutes, I felt confident enough to allow the CT6 to negotiate narrow lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike as we squeezed between multiple tractor-trailers and concrete barriers at 65 mph. There was none of the anxiety-inducing ping-ponging within lanes that the likes of BMW and Tesla systems can produce. GM's Super Cruise kept the car on the straight and narrow, and its unwavering steering instilled confidence.
It accomplishes this using cameras and radar, but without expensive onboard lidar sensors. Instead, GM has utilized lidar beforehand to make high-resolution 3D maps that act as a proxy for onboard lidar and contain detailed information on elevation changes, guardrails, and bridge abutments.
A steering-wheel light bar and cluster icons indicate the status of Super Cruise and will prompt the driver to return attention to the road ahead if the system detects he or she has turned away from the road too long.

The driver-attention system uses a small camera located on the top of the steering column and works with infrared lights to determine where the driver is looking whenever Super Cruise is in operation.
Still, there are plenty of situations on the highway that Super Cruise cannot handle. It cannot account for new construction (although it dealt with minor stretches of road work on my test drive without handing back control), and it will not anticipate maneuvers by human drivers. At one point, a car merging on my right had to slow down to enter the highway; Super Cruise drove like a true New Yorker, refusing to budge one bit to let the fellow in.
To ensure you're always aware of what's going on, Super Cruise uses an attention-detection system to ensure the human behind the wheel can retake control in the event a handoff is requested. Infrared sensors in the steering wheel and a video camera in the top of the steering column keep tabs on the driver's eye movements and head position. Misbehave or block the camera and the car goes through various warning levels. If the driver continues to be unresponsive, it will ultimately bring the vehicle to a halt within the lane of travel, an aspect of Super Cruise that has already raised safety concerns from federal regulators.
In the realm of firsts, Audi is touting its forthcoming Traffic Jam Pilot package for the 2019 A8 as the first "conditional automated driving" system, one that lets drivers give up control to a self-driving machine and turn their attention to things like onboard entertainment. Audi calls it the first true Level 3 system. Drivers don't need to monitor operations.
When it comes to comparisons, though, it should be noted the two systems have fundamentally different use cases. Traffic Jam Pilot is targeted toward commuters who want to avoid the drudgery of stop-and-go traffic, and it works at speeds lower than 37 mph, while Super Cruise is optimized for highway travel.
Perhaps more important for motorists itching to get their hands on the latest tech, the Audi A8 with this option has yet to appear in showrooms-and the Cadillac CT6 is here now.

article from:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

TESLA to Switch From NVIDIA to INTEL'S Chipset for its Infotainment Systems Tesla Motors is going to reportedly replace Nvidia's processing modules with new ones from Intel for its infotainment systems.


 Michael Karkafiris
Tesla Motors is going to reportedly replace Nvidia's processing modules with new ones from Intel for its infotainment systems.

The Tesla Model 3, as well as the new versions of the Model S and Model X, will feature the new Intel chip, according to inside sources with knowledge of the matter,  Bloomberg reports.

With modern cars relying more and more heavily on electronics, the automotive industry is increasingly important for chipmakers; Nvidia saw its stock price surging more than sixfold in the last two years, partly because of its business with auto makers.

Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, also wants a piece of the action as it looks to lower its dependence on personal computers and start supplying more of its chipsets to car makers.

The main goal for the chip companies is of course to provide the hardware that allows cars to become fully autonomous. Tesla might be one of the smallest car companies in the market, having sold just over 76,000 vehicles in its last financial year, but the EV company's position at the forefront of new technologies makes them one of the most attractive partners to work with. 

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Sneak Peak of Porche's 2018 Panamera Turbo SE-Hybrid Sport Turismo Porsche packed a lot of performance and technology (and letters) into the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. At the same time, it put a lot of practicality into other Panameras with the Sport Turismo treatment, giving them a wagon-y rear end and more storage space.


Porsche packed a lot of performance and technology (and letters) into the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. At the same time, it put a lot of practicality into other Panameras with the Sport Turismo treatment, giving them a wagon-y rear end and more storage space. Now, Porsche has gone and combined the two, unveiling the 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, which is perhaps the poshest and most fun way to bring home a load of groceries.

The Sport Turismo's powertrain is the same as the four-door version, pairing a twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor to produce 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. It'll do the 0-60 sprint in just 3.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 192 miles per hour. Ceramic composite brakes are standard, along with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport with torque vectoring, three-chamber air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels. The Sport Chrono Package is also standard.
The Sport Turismo has a raised roofline, providing more headroom and rear storage space. At the rear of the roof, it features a three-stage adaptive spoiler that can produce up to 110 pounds of additional downforce (or optimize aerodynamics for efficiency, depending on the driving situation). Inside the car, it has three rear seats that can fold down for a maximum of 45.7 cubic feet of storage space, or optionally a posh pair of reclining rear buckets. The car is also equipped with Porsche's digital cockpit, Porsche InnoDrive driver assistance technology. Rear-axle steering is an optional feature.

Porsche is now taking orders for the 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, which is priced at a starting MSRP of $189,450 including destination. Deliveries begin in the spring of 2018.

image credits: Porche
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Could These Floating Pods Be The Future Of Transportation? The car as we know it is set to change dramatically in the coming decades thanks to electric powertrains, autonomous driving and ride-hailing, ride-sharing services and other connected technologies.

The car as we know it is set to change dramatically in the coming decades thanks to electric powertrains, autonomous driving and ride-hailing, ride-sharing services and other connected technologies.

In an effort to spawn the imaginations of budding automotive designers, Renault and the London-based Central Saint Martins art school held a competition for MA Industrial Design students to imagine the car of the future.

In total, 15 students created detailed designs of how they expect the car of the future to look. After deliberations between two of Renault's senior design team, Anthony Lo and Fran├žois Leboine, and three industry designers, Yuchen Cai was announced as the winner for her vision dubbed 'The Float'.

The Float has been dreamed up as a way to connect new mobility with people and consists of a spherical pod. Instead of wheels, the pod uses magnetic levitation technology and has been made with transparent glass across the exterior to give it a futuristic vibe.

Another interesting thing about Cai's design is that pods accommodate either one or two people and multiple pods can be attached together via a magnetic belt running around the exterior. Inside, the pods have swivel seats and large sliding doors, allowing for easy ingress and egress.

As part of her prize for winning, Cai spent two weeks at Renault's design studios in Paris to fine tune her idea.

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