By Karla Thornhill Coleman, Auto Show Global
FCA US announced today at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas a new concept vehicle designed by their own in-house millennials for millennials and their future families. You know, that group of young adults between age 18-33 — tech savvy and environmentally conscious — who are highly self aware and known for their uniqueness and willingness to embrace everything “next.”
So do you have to be a millennial to understand what millennials desire in a future vehicle? Probably not, but FCA US wasn’t taking any chances.
These designers and engineers dreamed up the ultimate future family mode of transportation, They decided to kick on the time machine and turn up the social media game and give the Chrysler Portal concept the features millennials and their future selves will love. My favorite features are the internal and external cameras (which can be used to take personal or group selfies), the facial and voice biometrics and the personal zoned audio, so I can listen to Janet Jackson without headphones and not disturb the rest of my family, who’ve grown tired of my playlist.
And because this is a battery-operated (pure EV), autonomous vehicle with a suite of sensing technologies, the thought is that less time will be spent driving and watching the road during a commute, and more conversing, learning, and catching up with seamless wireless networks between vehicles, even the external environment. So the interior becomes even more important — with more flexibility between seating and cargo, techy features, social networking features and an open atmosphere — creating what FCA’s young millennial team is calling the “third space.”
“The Chrysler Portal concept is backed by significant research on the millennial generation. Millennials have clearly defined that they want a vehicle that will grow with them as they experience life changes,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “FCA is a leader in family transportation and it was essential that we fully explored the idea of what a vehicle could look like for this emerging generation.”
As the largest demographic and now one of the most influential, FCA is looking ahead to when this group of potential buyers will start making babies and having families — in the next 10 years or less. According to researchers, 75 percent of all children will have a millennial parent with 4 million more children than there are today. That a lot of young parents in need of the a family-mobile.
The Chrysler Portal concept is designed for a more electric-vehicle-friendly environment, featuring a DC Rapid Charger (350 kW) which recharges the battery pack with 150 miles of range in less than 20 minutes. The electric-powered Chrysler Portal concept is estimated to have more than 250 miles of range on a full charge.
The user experience is where the science fiction turns to reality. The Chrysler Portal concept has more than 20 technologies designed to engage, inform and connect the driver and passengers and other people around the world. Infotainment, sensor and soft systems are designed to provide a seamless user experience in vehicle-to-x, social communication, and upgradeable technology. .
Emergency vehicle awareness: Detects when an emergency vehicle is approaching and uses spatial awareness and 3-D graphics to illustrate to the driver the approaching vehicle’s direction and distance on the vehicle’s high-mount display screen.
Facial recognition and voice biometrics: Automatically recognizes and configures the driver and passenger’s preferred vehicle settings. Voice biometrics enables the driver and passengers to use voice commands to unlock and open doors upon approaching the vehicle.
Near Detection: When approaching the vehicle, the owner and accompanying family members are automatically detected via facial recognition cameras on the exterior.
Far Detection: The vehicle is able to recognize users via their personal mobile devices from up to 30 feet away. Upon approach to the vehicle, preferred settings are automatically configured and ready for use.
In-vehicle sharing: The Chrysler Portal concept’s occupants can share music, images, videos and favorite locations with all occupants via a community display screen and other brought-in devices.
Community display for group sharing: Positioned in the headliner, the community display is viewable to passengers in the second and third rows. The community display encourages engagement and collaboration by sharing media in a community playlist, coordinating orders at the drive-thru or even taking a selfie to capture a moment. Users are able to bring in and dock their personal devices in the vehicle. Once docked, passengers can swipe music, images or videos from their personal devices onto the community display for all to experience.
High-mount display with spatial awareness: The high-mount display features an Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) screen that showcases a 360-degree surround of the outside environment. Placed above the instrument panel, it helps keep all occupants aware of the road ahead. Maintaining visibility of the horizon helps to reduce the possibility of motion sickness while interacting with the 3-D graphics.
Group settings: If taking the Chrysler Portal concept on an excursion with family or friends, group settings can be created to enhance the road-trip experience. Predictive intelligence merges preferences from all occupants into community settings to assist in finding destinations, planning routes and playing media everyone can enjoy.
Passenger-to-passenger intercom: When mom’s driving and needs to communicate with her child seated in the third row, she can do so easily with the passenger-to-passenger intercom system that enables occupants to communicate directly with driver and vice-versa.
Interior camera for group photo: What’s a road trip without a selfie to commemorate the experience? Using the Chrysler Portal concept’s interior camera, all passengers can take a group photo that will then automatically sync to personal devices for sharing.
Smart home integration: Using internet connectivity, the Chrysler Portal can control smart home devices, such as cameras, exterior and interior lights, and sensors for monitoring the environment and triggering automation.
In-vehicle mobile commerce: Users are able to automatically pay for fuel, parking, food, etc. by linking their payment information to the vehicle in a secure manner. There is no need to carry cash or a credit card as the payment can be securely transacted from the vehicle with one confirmation.
Intelligent suggestions: Based on the users’ daily habits, traffic, calendar and personal preferences, the vehicle anticipates needs to provide personalized suggestions.
Personal zoned audio: Enhanced audio and personal sound zones enable each passenger to enjoy different content without the need for headphones, while reinforcing audio cues for the driver, such as the sound of an ambulance approaching from a particular direction.
Natural language voice interaction: Users are able to control vehicle functions by voice command, such as “open door,” “open trunk,” “turn on lights” and “share music with passengers.”
Gesture control: Users are able to employ gestures to activate vehicle controls, such as to open doors, pick up a phone call, control volume, control high-mount display, etc.
Chrysler Portal Concept Companion App: Users can download an app to a mobile device and have the ability to customize vehicle lighting, control vehicle and home.
Sensors: Upgradable hardware options for technologies, such as sensors and cameras, can add functionality when the technology is needed or wanted.
Software: Updatable and adaptable software can keep the vehicle current and relevant depending on the preference of the driver and passenger, and their desire to add on new content.
Docking systems: Up to eight docking stations, located in the instrument panel and seats and can be used for a charging and securing mobile phones, tablets, smart lighting, cameras, wearables and home devices.
So the most important question remains: Do you have to be a millennial to appreciate the effort?