The CES is the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada. With electronics playing a huge role in modern day cars, many car manufacturers have been using the show as a platform to debut their in-car technologies and even concept cars. So, it’s no surprise that FCA chose CES 2017, which opened today, over the Detroit auto show next week to show off its new Chrysler Portal concept.
Essentially an MPV of the future, the all-electric, autonomous Portal is being positioned as a “third space” between home and office. If you’re wondering why anyone would need a third space, then you’re clearly not a millennial, who are ostensibly the target audience for the Portal minivan. While it looks like an unrealistic overload of technology to us, FCA reminds us that “for members of the millennial generation… technology is more than a tool – it’s an integral part of their lives.” The Portal is equipped with a plethora of futuristic tech including facial recognition and voice biometrics, all of which will purportedly provide a seamless and personalised experience. FCA’s User Experience (UX) team has collaborated with a team from Panasonic’s Automotive Advanced Engineering division to bring together emerging and future technologies into the concept, which they think will engage the next generation of vehicle users. FCA has also said that Panasonic will be “a long-time supplier partner”, which could suggest that technology showcased in the concept could see integration into FCA’s cars in the near future.
The design of the Portal concept is clearly futuristic, with doors that split open much the same way an elevator door opens. Inside, things looks even more space-age, with a display that spans nearly the entire length of the instrument panel, offering 3-D graphics interactivity. Its facial recognition tech tells the Portal who is in the vehicle and lets it automatically configure preferred settings, such as music, lighting, ambient and seating temperature etc. Using several microphones, it also let occupants employ voice control to interact with the vehicle and with one another.
Powering the concept is a 100-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which has a claimed range of 250 miles (402 kilometres), and can be recharged to as much as 150 miles (241 kilometres) of range in less than 20 minutes.