Peugeot has revealed a new concept car which offers a glimpse into the company’s vision for how its future vehicles will switch between manual and autonomous driving.
The Peugeot Instinct concept has been unveiled at the Mobile World Congress In Spain, the vehicle showcases Peugeot’s thinking in how the driver and vehicle can be integrated to offer several options for automated driving support.
Rather than simply offering a simple choice between manual control and fully-autonomous driving, the Peugeot Instinct uses data from a smartwatch, phone or diary to adapt the vehicle settings to match the driver’s mood and lifestyle.
Peugeot claims that the technology can learn the driver’s lifestyle and preconfigure settings such as driving mode, audio and ambient lighting, seating and interface settings to adapt to the driver’s routine. As an example, the Instinct could read data from the driver’s smartwatch and configure its settings to ‘Autonomous Soft’ mode to give the driver a relaxing ride home after a trip to the gym. By synching the driver’s diary with the vehicle navigation system, the car could send a prompt to the driver to suggest setting off for an appointment earlier than scheduled if it registers heavy traffic along the planned route.
In the two the fully-autonomous driving modes (‘Autonomous Soft’ or ‘Autonomous Sharp’), the driver can recline his or her seat to watch TV or even lie it flat to rest, although Euro NCAP may have something to say about how this could affect the vehicle’s crash test performance.
Beyond reclining the seats, the Peugeot Instinct concept also offers an adaptable cabin environment. In autonomous mode, the steering wheel and accelerator pedal fold away to provide additional space (so presumably the driver’s airbag would be mounted elsewhere). A control switch called the i-Device allows the driver to switch the car back to manual mode on the fly, for example to overtake another vehicle or pull off the road into a service station.
The Peugeot Instinct is a stylish estate design, powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain producing 300hp. Described as a shooting brake (it’s not, as it has four doors), the Instinct is low and wide and a clear evolution of current Peugeot design. Ignoring the usual concept car themes of massive wheels and ground-scraping sills, the Instinct has a stylish combination of edges and curves which would translate well into a production vehicle.
The Instinct concept is currently on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and is likely to appear at the Geneva motor show next week.