Car manufacturers electrify Frankfurt

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Frankfurt motor show 2017 highlights (The Car Expert)

As with the Geneva motor show earlier this year, the development of autonomous vehicles continued to throw up some fascinating concept cars.

Some manufacturers worked on the transition between manual and automatic driving, while others showed off concepts for a fully-automated future.

Audi Aicon predicts a first-class future

Audi’s Aicon (short for AI concept) envisages a completely self-driving future, with not a steering wheel or brake pedal in sight. Instead, passengers can relax in a cabin that has been inspired by first-class aeroplane cabins.

Cabin space is huge, thanks to an overall vehicle size longer than the Audi A8 flagship saloon. Passengers can stretch out in comfort while the car takes care of the driving. And since the car’s “brain” uses radar and laser systems to see where it’s going, there’s no need for traditional headlights. Instead of being used to see where you’re going, the Aicon’s elaborate LED units are used for people to see it coming.

Audi Icon Frankfurt The Car Expert

Renault makes your car a part of your home

The Renault Symbioz concept was very similar to the Audi Aicon, forecasting a fully-autonomous electric luxury vehicle for 2030 or thereabouts. But Renault has also been thinking about how such a vehicle can integrate with the rest of your life, for those times when it’s not delivering you from A to B.

Inspired by the design of living rooms, Renault sees the Symbioz being used as an extra room of your house, where you can either sit and chat with a friend (or whatever else you might want to do in the privacy of your back seat), or lock yourself away to do some work away from the disruption of the rest of the family.

The Symbioz would also sync with your diary to manage energy consumption for best efficiency. If you don’t have any trips planned, it will use the electricity in its battery to power your house. Then it will charge up overnight when electricity is cheap to be full of charge before you need it again. Of course, if you’re rubbish at keeping a diary or like being spontaneous in your driving, it might not be for you…

Renault Symbol Frankfurt show The Car Expert

A smart vision for future car use

Daimler’s city car brand, smart, has already announced plans to go fully-electric in coming years. At Frankfurt, smart showed off a concept car called the Vision EQ, a self-driving city car that will act like a driverless cab to pick up and drop off passengers as it goes along.

Frankfurt show The Car Expert Smart

There were no great surprises at Frankfurt, with every major new model having been already announced, previewed or teased in advance of press day. The major reveal of the show was the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE, and the only real surprise was that it was uglier than almost every media rendering had predicted…

For more of the cars that made the news without stealing the headlines, Andrew has put together a round-up of the best of the rest from the Frankfurt show.

Unsurprisingly, there were no great announcements about any new diesel engines or models. Industry figures continue to insist that diesel cars will play an important role for the foreseeable future, but the end point for diesel seems to be getting ever closer. A flurry of new electrified vehicles that will arrive over the next few years will only hasten its demise.

Next up is the Tokyo motor show, where we can expect to see what the major Japanese manufacturers have to offer in the way of concept cars and new metal.

Stuart Masson

Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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