It’s a little known fact that Honda makes more than just cars, with its expertise extending to motorcycles, aircraft, power equipment and robots. The Japanese automaker has now broadened its vision for robots.
At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Expo, Honda unveiled a series of robotic concepts termed 3E — represents ‘Empower,’ ‘Experience’ and ‘Empathy’ — that serve public, workplace and consumer purposes and can operate autonomously.
The Empathy robot is a creepy-looking bugger called 3E-A18, and it’s optimized for supporting people in their daily lives, such as serving as a guide at airports or shopping malls. Honda says the 3E-A18’s soft-touch skin “invites people to touch or hug” it.
Second up is the 3E-C18 — the Experience robot. It can supposedly learn by observing peoples’ action and features a cart-like design optimized for carrying spaces, as well as a canopy combined with a compact-sized vehicle body base with a driving function.
Last but not least are the 3E-B18 and 3E-D18, the Empower robots. The former is a chair-type mobility concept designed to help support people with baggage carts or strollers, while the latter is an autonomous off-road vehicle with AI designed to support people in a broad range of work activities.
The robots utilize Honda’s Mobile Power Pack World concept, a swappable battery system with detachable power modules that can be charged using renewable energy and then placed into a robot or vehicle for power on the go.
Honda R&D chief Yoshiyuki Matsumoto stated:
“We have entered an era when robotics will become increasingly visible and essential in our everyday lives and have the ability to unlock human potential.”
While Honda hasn’t confirmed if any of the concepts will be produced, is there any particular one you want to see?
Stunning Genesis Essentia Concept Previews Genesis’ Future Design
In case you still don’t know what Genesis is, it is Hyundai’s ambitious standalone luxury brand. At the 2018 New York Auto Show, Genesis showed off a stunning new electric grand tourer show car that previews its future design direction.
The Essentia is one of the best-looking concepts I have seen in a while, and that’s likely because it was designed by Luc Donckerwolke, a former design head at Lamborghini and Bentley that was poached in 2015 to run design for Genesis, and overseen by Bugatti Chiron designer Sasha Selipanov. The fact that it doesn’t look overly conceptual and was heavily inspired by the beautiful 1964 Ferrari 275 Lusso are other reasons.
It embodies a grand tourer, featuring classic GT proportions like a sleek and low profile, a long deck, and muscular rear haunches. A glass bubble roof extends down past the cowl and over where a hood would be. Instead of an engine — this is an electric car with we’re talking about, so there is’t one — elements of a pushrod suspension peek through the glass cover.
Butterfly doors raise up to reveal a remarkably uncluttered interior with a large curved-glass interface that spans the width of the dashboard. The center console features only four levers for gear selection and climate control, and one round dial for auxiliary functions.
The Essentia has a carbon fiber monocoque, making it light enough for its mutli-motor electric powertrain to propel it from zero to 60 mph in three seconds… if it were real. Designers laid the batteries in an “I” pattern along where the transmission and driveshaft would be, rather than under the passenger compartment like in current electric vehicles.
It’s a shame that the Essentia is just a concept and only elements of its striking design will inspire future Genesis cars. It’s definitely as interesting, bold and handsome as anything we’ve seen from Europe and Japan in recent years.
Just imagine a Genesis Coupe looking like it…
New Lincoln Aviator Arrives As Stunning Pug-in Hybrid SUV
With the new Lincoln Navigator now the benchmark in the full-size premium SUV segment, Lincoln hopes to do the same for medium luxury SUVs with a new Aviator. The previously discontinued SUV returns from the grave as a stunning plug-in hybrid.
The Lincoln Aviator Concept was a show-stopper at the 2028 New York Auto Show, impressing journalists and the public alike with its bold yet classy exterior styling and exquisite interior. To my eye, it is better executed than the latest Navigator.
Fortunately, Lincoln says the production version will look almost identical to the concept, with the biggest difference likely being toned-down mirrors and a few other small changes. Needless to say, it will have problem standing out from the crowd.
Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse, stated:
“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined. You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”
The simple yet elegant interior is airy thanks to relatively thin pillars. It will be available with multiple power outlets and the firm’s latest and greatest technologies, including Perfect Position seats that have a message function and can be adjusted in a multitude of ways; Co-Pilot360; wireless phone charging; standard Wi-Fi; and a pillar-mounted keypad. Truly keyless operation via smartphone allows owners to lock and unlock, open the trunk, start and drive the vehicle using an app on their phone.
What lies under the sheetmetal is just as impressive as the stunning exterior and interior. Like the Dodge Durango, the Aviator is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform that should make it more capable than traditional front-wheel drive crossovers. It will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that pairs an electric drive system and a twin-turbo gasoline engine, possibly Ford’s 2.7- or 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
Possibly the car that will make Lincoln relevant again, the new Lincoln Aviator is expected to arrive sometime in 2019. Have Lincoln’s designers done a good job? Did they do enough?
Infiniti Previews Its Future Design And Technology With Q Inspiration Concept
At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti took the wraps off a concept vehicle that it says previews its future.
Not only does the so-called Q Inspiration Concept preview Infiniti’s new design direction, but it also ushers in a new era of technology for its vehicles.
It features the company’s next-generation ProPILOT system, which supposedly “liberates the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations.” However, because it can be overridden at any time, it doesn’t completely cut the driver out of the equation.
Power is provided by by Infiniti’s new Variable Compression (VC) turbo four that is said to continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. The VC also powers the new QX50 crossover, where it produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in the
Jumping to styling, the Q Inspiration Concept is a four-door sedan with coupe-like profile that’s sleeker, more sculpted and more flowing than any of Infiniti’s current models, even Q60 coupe. Rear-hinged rear doors give excellent access to a futuristic interior.
Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President, stated:
“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”
Although the Q Inspiration Concept is only a design study and isn’t destined for production, there is a chance it will influence the next-generation Q70 sedan or even a spiritual successor the Q45 flagship sedan.
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