Two images come to mind when I think of driver coaching. One is the green leaves that appear on the dashboards of Ford Fusion (and Mercury Milan) hybrids when drivers do the right thing consistently. The other is Bugs Bunny in the passenger seat wearing a sweatshirt and holding a whistle.
Visteon may have been thinking leaves more than wabbit when it included “driver coaching” among the attributes of the C-Beyond concept car it developed with help from Parisian industrial design firm Estech (www.estech-design.com). The car will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show after completing a grand tour of automakers in Europe, Japan, and China.
Visteon said the C-Beyond (built on a C-segment platform) has more than 40 innovative features in climate and interior systems, infotainment and connectivity, and exterior lighting. Among the ones that stood out for me are motion sensing lighting to help passengers find things at night, and vertical airflow with adaptive climate controls that adjust automatically to the number and location of occupants.
The vertical airflow feature eliminates the need for vents in the dashboard so dashboard space can be used more creatively. And occupant detection applications may be no big deal in a year or three but for now they still have a bit of a “wow” factor. This one may or may not be production-ready. Visteon says that some C-Beyond features are production-ready, and some are not.
The concept car is one more example of the fast pace of automotive electronics development. Automakers and suppliers are releasing, or at least talking about, one cool thing after another. There is innovation in almost every new vehicle, and electronic features present a lot of opportunity for differentiation. Time will tell which features will make it to the mainstream.
If you are going to Paris for the Motor Show, look for Estech in Hall 3, Stand 334. If you can’t make it, Visteon has put up a useful interactive presentation at http://www.visteon.com/innovate/c-beyond/dotmap.html.