Chevy’s FNR: Self-Driving Wonder Car

By | 22 April, 2015

Autonomous, Electric, Wireless Charging — What’s Not to Like in GM’s Newest Concept Car?

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Shanghai — not Detroit — was the venue for the recent announcement by General Motors of their new concept vehicle, the Chevrolet FNR.

In a critical acknowledgement of China’s rising importance in the autonomous vehicle market, the new self-driving supercar is an American-Chinese joint production, developed by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center development team. The development effort included GM engineers in its Fountain Valley, California-based GFMI MetalCrafters lab and Chinese automaker SAIC Motors.

GM’s driverless entry is loaded with innovations, including electric motors built into each wheel, wireless charging, swivel seats that rotate 180 degrees (who needs to look out the windshield when the car is driving itself), and dual swing doors that would be the envy of Back to the Future‘s Marty McFly. About the only thing it lacks is a time travel feature — though in a car like this, you may well feel as if you have been transported to some future era.

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“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” [Dr. Emmett Brown, “Back to the Future” 1985]

According to GM’s official press release:

The Chevrolet-FNR is loaded with a range of intelligent technologies usually seen only in science fiction movies… [including]  sensors and roof-mounted radar that can map out the environment to enable driverless operation.

… The Chevy’s FNR boasts a futuristic capsule design. It has crystal laser headlights and taillights, dragonfly dual swing doors, magnetic hubless wheel electric motors and a wireless auto-charge system.

In the emerging industry debate over fully-autonomous versus almost-autonomous vehicles, FNR represents a strong push in the fully-autonomous direction. Envisioned as a product for the 2030 model year, FNR’s main impact today may be to fire up the imagination and free the pocketbooks of China’s younger generation as it builds new infrastructure for the world’s largest automotive market.

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