We all love to daydream about how technologically advanced the future might be, but Citroen has gone one better by actually constructing its vision of what it thinks cars might look like one day.
Last month, Citroen unveiled their ambitious new 19_19 Concept car to mark its 100th anniversary – and they weren’t kidding when they described it as unconventional.
The vehicle is essentially a vision for the future of intercity travel and it’s fair to say the 19_19 Concept looks like something you might see on The Avengers or I, Robot.
Citroen themselves have called it an autonomous “living room on wheels” that takes its cues heavily from aviation design, and that’s certainly evident in some of the main features.
For starters, the streamlined body is bubble-shaped like a helicopter and almost completely encased in glass, without the traditional support pillars and bumpers. That’s because the 19_19 Concept was made to be autonomous, so technically wouldn’t need things like bumpers to protect drivers from crashes. Eventually, Citroen hopes, we won’t be having them.
The next thing that hits you in the face about this car is its enormous wheels. They’re 30 inches, to be exact, and have been designed with Goodyear to absorb every potential impact like a sponge, as well as containing an array of sensors to communicate about the condition of the road (pothole, probably).
This, teamed with the fact that the cabin is supported by Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension, is supposed to make the body feel as though it is levitating and to eliminate bumps for what Citroen describes as a “magic carpet ride” experience.
Another quite deliciously bonkers aspect of the 19_19 Concept is that Citroen continues the living room on wheels theme inside the vehicle with each of the seats offering a different postural position.
For example, the front seat looks like a chaise longue or something you might find on a business class flight deck, while the passengers can choose from an ottoman or an armchair.
Since this might easily mean drivers forget they’re supposed to be driving, the car is also thankfully equipped with an artificial-intelligence-powered personal assistant that can control it in a fully autonomous mode.
The 19_19 Concept was designed as the long-range companion to the Ami city car premiered earlier this year and so has a fully electric powertrain to reduce its carbon footprint, which can go for up to 600km on a 20-minute charge.
“With 19_19 Concept, we sought to rewrite the automotive rule book with a high-impact vehicle featuring a strong and powerful design,” said Citroen’s head of design Pierre Leclercq, calling it “an aerodynamic and technological comfort bubble floating above the road”.
Of course, the 19_19 Concept remains just that: a concept vehicle that’s really a manifesto for what Citroen wants to do. After all, we still need inconvenient things like bumpers because there aren’t fully driverless cars yet (and we keep crashing). But it has offered a tantalising glimpse into a future that could become very real sooner than we might imagine.
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