Posts Tagged ‘automated driving’

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept Unveiled in Paris

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

We first looked at the quirky-but-sleek Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept a couple weeks ago when the premium Japanese automaker first previewed the new sports car. Now, with the Q80 Inspiration’s official debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, we have a bunch more pictures and more information to cover.

Paris Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Most importantly, Infiniti has officially confirmed that the Q80 Concept is an actual production priority, although it’s still a design study at its core. Infiniti’s VP Francois Bancon says that one of the most appealing aspects of manufacturing the Infiniti Q80 is that it would have no direct rivals. We have to agree with him on that; the mold-breaking design and face-melting performance are more than enough to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s start with the mold-breaking design:

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti says that the Q80 Inspiration was meant to deliver “feminine elegance and muscular menace in equal measure,” and they somehow pulled it off. The simple silver design almost seems to flow with the air around it, and it’s easy to imagine this car going really, really fast. The Q80 also has that luxurious floating glass roof made from lightweight acoustic glass, similar to the Toyota C-HR Concept we looked at last week.

With the Q80 Inspiration’s official debut, Infiniti has told us more about what to expect from the car’s interior. The Q80 is just as advanced inside as it is out, and you’ll find a host of futuristic technologies showcased inside the cabin.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept Doors Open

Most notable is the incorporation of Infiniti’s driver-activated autonomous driving system, which can be activated at the press of a button next to the steering wheel. When pressed, the Q80 will use a Heads-Up Display (HUD) projected onto the windshield to offer assistance and make both visual and audible suggestions to the driver. However, the final action is always taken by the man (or woman) behind the wheel.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the underlying theme for the Q80 Inspiration’s interior is interaction. So, in addition to the autonomous driving system, Infiniti also incorporated an on-board entertainment touch-screen for not only the driver, but every rear-passenger. Meanwhile, the cabin is plush with quilted leather seating, exquisite Alcantara and leather upholstery and crisp metal accents, all brought to life through the panoramic glass roof.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept interior

Finally, many of you will agree that the best part of the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration is its performance. This car may look refined on the outside, but it’s a savage under the hood, boasting a mean 550hp from a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 hybrid powertrain. Apparently, this hyper-performing sports hybrid is a precursor to a whole new family of engines that’ll be introduced “within the next two years.”

The good news with all this is that Infiniti definitely wants to produce a Q80 sports car. The bad news is that it’s at least three years off, and we may have to wait as far out as 2020. Still, we should hopefully see at least one more Q80 Concept between now and then, so keep your eyes peeled for the next iteration.


Toyota Says No to Driverless Cars; Unveils Mark X in JDM

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 12th, 2014

Nissan Autonomous Drive

This just in: the automaker that single-handedly pioneered advanced technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and commercial hybrid vehicles will NOT participate in the driverless future. That’s right – the world’s largest Japanese car maker, Toyota, will set their sights on safety while the rest of the industry focuses on driverless automation.

The announcement came last Thursday at the automaker’s Advanced Safety Seminar in Michigan. At this year’s event, Toyota’s Deputy Chief Safety Technology Officer, Seigo Kuzumaki, bluntly stated that, “Toyota’s main objective is safety, so it will not be developing a driverless car.”

While we could have probably ended today’s story right there, we figured you’d want to hear why Toyota isn’t interested in what many claim is the car of the future. It turns out that Toyota’s own market research hasn’t shown a strong desire from today’s drivers for an automated driverless car. Not only that, Mr. Kuzumaki also informed us that even if the technology for a driverless car were realistic (which he reiterated – it isn’t), the vast infrastructure needed to support fully automated driving is a very long ways away.

Instead of full computer automation, Toyota says they will use their resources to improve the connection between human and machine. At the safety seminar another Toyota representative, Kristen Tabar of Toyota’s Technical Center, said, “The human being is the ultimate in sensor fusion. We have the visual, audible advantage, all the different inputs to make the best judgment moving forward.”

So, don’t expect Toyota to join the ranks of Google, Volvo or Nissan on the hands-free road to driverless cars.

But don’t leave just yet – this isn’t the only piece of Toyota news we have for you today!

Since Toyota’s focus on safety is a straightforward and – let’s be honest – boring story, we’re rewarding you for getting this far with an extra piece of automotive eye candy.

This, friends, is the Toyota Mark X Yellow Label edition:

2015 Toyota Mark X Yellow Label

Beautiful, ain’t she?

The Mark X Yellow Label is a five-year refresh for the current generation of Toyota’s JDM sport sedan. In addition to the vibrant yellow paint job (which is optional), the limited edition Mark X will get a matching yellow or black interior with piano-black trim and pink gold accents. The sporty sedan also gets a number of equipment upgrades and custom Yellow Edition alloys.

2015 Toyota Mark X Yellow Label interior

Unfortunately, the eye-catching Mark X Yellow Label will never be sold anywhere but Japan and China. The closest thing to the Mark X in either North America or the EU is the Lexus IS.