Are you ready for a car that uses artificial intelligence to drive you around?
Get ready. Volkswagen says it may be just about a decade away.
The German automaker on Monday unveiled a futuristic driverless concept car that may qualify as one of the most far-out reveals in recent memory for the auto industry.
Featuring a holographic interface, no steering wheel and a climate-control system that adjusts the temperature based on occupant body temperature, the Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion debuted Monday at the Geneva Motor Show.
Let’s just say this one won’t be available for sale anytime soon.
But VW says it’s the I.D. Vizzion is “a vision of what may be possible by the year 2030.”
“The concept car drives, steers and navigates autonomously in traffic, enabling passengers to sit back and enjoy the ride,” VW said in a statement. “A virtual ‘host’ knows the personal preferences of the vehicle guests and it adapts to each of them individually.”
Using a special pair of augmented reality glasses, Microsoft’s Hololens, passengers interact with the vehicle.
With spoken command, the I.D. Vizzion promises to take you to your destination or adjust vehicle preferences.
VW said the vehicle would be equipped with artificial intelligence, known to many as “machine learning,” to “recognize, evaluate and interpret patterns” and improve its performance on the road.
It’s a vehicle that gets smarter.
Add VW to the list of auto companies that are promising cars that can drive themselves anywhere without the aid of digital mapping or human interaction. This is known in industry parlance as Level 5 — the hardest achievement.
Most automakers are pursuing some version of this. Tech companies, like former Google car project Waymo, are also doing so.
But as the world’s second-largest automaker by sales volume, VW’s move into autonomous vehicles will cause enormous ripples.
In the short term, the I.D. Vizzion reflects the latest element in VW’s bid to rehabilitate its image following a devastating global emissions crisis.
The company’s engineers and designers have generated considerable intrigue with the I.D. lineup, which includes the forthcoming I.D. compact car, the I.D. Buzz microbus and the I.D. Crozz sport-utility vehicle.
As electric vehicles, the I.D. models mark a concrete step away from VW’s heritage as a purveyor of diesel cars.
The I.D. Vizzion would get 413 miles of range on a battery, though that calculation is based on European standards and the U.S. range would likely be less.
The vehicle’s design is “extremely long” with short overhangs in front and back. It’s aimed at a comfortable passenger experience and efficient aerodynamics.
The car uses biometric facial scanning to recognize passengers and implement their seat and entertainment preferences. And the interior features glass windows that can be darkened electronically to become “nearly opaque,” VW said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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