Automakers design concept cars to explore how transportation could change with advents in technology. For some, the crazier the idea, the better.
For some automakers, the crazier the concept car, the better.
Concept cars might seem like a strange part of the auto industry. The cars are often nowhere near practical and simply bizarre.
But automakers use concept cars to show how they think the auto industry will change with advents in battery tech, self-driving software, and artificial intelligence. They may not be road-ready anytime soon, but they act as a litmus test to explore changes to come.
Scroll down to see the most futuristic concept cars already unveiled in 2017:
1. Airbus got creative with its latest concept car: an electric two-seater that can be airlifted by a drone. Called the Pop.Up System, the car has a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).
The Pop.Up can easily unhook from its chassis for a drone can pick it up with ease. The autonomous drone is powered by eight rotors.
There’s no word on if we’ll ever see the Pop.Up become a reality, but it does speak to Airbus’ plan to build Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles for urban transit.
2. Volkswagen unveiled a self-driving concept car that’s more of a personal robotic assistant at the Geneva Motor Show this year. Called Sedric, the car’s artificial intelligence will allow it to find its own parking spot, drop kids off at an extracurricular activity, and pick up packages
1. Sedric has a high-tech windshield with giant OLED eyes, black swing doors, and no driver controls. It comes with an external button so owners can hail it at a whim.
3. Toyota’s i-TRIL concept made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The two-seater is meant as an alternative to motorcycles and public transit for those looking to zip around in something smaller.
The concept features Toyota’s Active Lean technology that adjusts the vehicle’s wheels automatically to improve maneuverability. It has an aspiring range of 200 kilometers (124 miles.)
4. Fiat Chrysler unveiled a concept car geared for high-tech millennials at CES this year. The car isn’t all that eye-catching purely from an aesthetic perspective. It’s large, boxy, and heavy looking…
…But the car is really meant to showcase the tech millennials are looking for inside a car, FCA said. It’s electric with 250 miles of range and gets just over 50% of its charge back in under 20 minutes with a DC Fast Charger.
It also comes with lidar and sensors to handle Level 3 autonomous driving, meaning it can handle urban environments, but still requires human oversight.
5. As for an even crazier concept car, Rinspeed showed off its Oasis car at CES. The vehicle has an actual garden, complete with Bonsai trees and radishes.
The garden is tucked right behind the windshield.
Inside, the car has a massive touchscreen display from Harman that comes with voice and gesture control. The concept can also alert you of upcoming obstacles with a heads-up display on the windshield.
Rinspeed envisions the vehicle being used on a ride-sharing setting, where a person can select which passenger to ride with through a Tinder-like app.
You can read more about the car here.
6. Honda first showed teaser images of its NeuV concept car in December, but it officially made its debut at CES.
Honda said the car is self-driving and electric, but didn’t share any detail specifications on those fronts.
The concept comes with artificial intelligence that can “read human emotions” to improve the driving experience.
You can read more about the car here.
7. Volkswagen unveiled a high-tech version of its classic microbus. The electric, revamped Hippiemobile can drive 270 miles on a single charge.
Volkswagen said the vehicle is equipped with lidar, radar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors, making it fully autonomous.
The concept also comes with other innovative features, like a tablet you can remove from the console and use outside. The driver can also open the car by approaching it with his or her smartphone.
You can read more about the microbus concept here.
8. Toyota showed off a concept car at CES that wants to be your best friend (sort of like Honda’s NeuV). The vehicle has an AI assistant named Yui that’s designed to engage you in tasks, like a conversation, so you stay aware while driving.
The concept doesn’t have any touchscreens, but comes with a heads-up display.
It also comes with other fun touches, like scissor doors and headlights that can wink at you.
You can read more about Toyota’s concept car here.
9. BMW’s latest concept car is solely meant to display the automaker’s vision for car interiors of the future. The idea is with fully self-driving cars, you can have spacious and homey interiors.
There’s even room for a bookshelf!
The concept also comes with a massive display for sitting back and relaxing when your car drives for you.
You can read more about the concept here.
10. Nissan showed off its VMotion concept at the Detroit Auto Show. It has a stunning, geometrical design.
Check out those scissor doors!
The vehicle showcases Nissan’s ProPilot system that allows vehicles to drive autonomously on highways at speeds up to 62 mph.
Inside, there’s a massive, horizontal display that consolidates the driver’s instrument and infotainment center.
You can take a closer look at the VMotion here.
11. Citroen unveiled its C-Aircross concept SUV earlier in February. Citroen said it purposefully went for a “modern” body style with curved lines and strong splashes of color.
It comes with a full-color heads-up display and a single spoke steering wheel.
Cameras replace the two sideview mirrors to stream surrounding views directly on the rearview mirror. The concept also comes with a panoramic sunroof.
12. Volkswagen unveiled a concept of its large SUV the Atlas in February. The concept comes with a cargo box that can expand into a 17.7 cubic-foot container.
12. Volkswagen unveiled a concept of its large SUV the Atlas in February. The concept comes with a cargo box that can expand into a 17.7 cubic-foot container. (VW)