On the first day of CES, Honda’s new self-driving electric concept car for commuters impressed the Stylus team.
The NeuV (New Electric Urban Vehicle) earns money for its owner by autonomously picking up and dropping off other people nearby when not in use – a smart idea, considering privately owned cars sit idle 96% of the time.
It can also monitor electricity rates to charge at the optimal time and automatically sell energy back to the electric grid during periods of high demand. “We designed NeuV to become more valuable to the owner by optimising and monetising the vehicle’s down time,” said Mike Tsay, principal designer for Honda R&D Americas.
The vehicle has a built-in “emotion engine” powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which acts as a caring assistant. Called HANA (Honda Automated Network Assistant), the technology can detect the driver’s emotional state, and make choices and recommendations based on their previous decisions. For example, the system could suggest music or offer to take over in autonomous mode if the driver is stressed.
Compact and smooth-edged, the NeuV has two seats and a storage area in the back, complete with an electric skateboard for ‘last-mile’ transit. The dashboard is replaced by a single touch-panel interface – a feature “inspired by a grand piano and allowing for streamlined interaction with the car”, Nick Renner, a designer of the vehicle’s interior, told Stylus.
For more on the latest advances in automotive tech, don’t miss our CES 2017 coverage, publishing January 18.