NIO, formerly known as NextEV, is aiming to begin sales of self-driving electric vehicles in the US market by 2020, according to a new press release from the company. The company’s autonomous vehicle platform will, going by the new press release, feature a voice-activated AI “digital companion” known as NOMI, which will apparently personalize your “driving experience” depending on activities and road conditions.
“We’re excited about having autonomous electric cars for US consumers in 2020,” stated Padmasree Warrior, US CEO. “Today we also unveiled our vision for the car of the future, focused on delivering unmatched user experience through leading edge, software defined hardware.
“In 2015, commuters in the US spent over 8 billion hours in their cars commuting. NIO’s autonomous electric cars will make your journey safe, productive, and enjoyable. Our cars will be your companion and will know your needs, they will be a welcoming living space that moves you. We look forward to producing the first of the next generation of cars for the US consumer. We know you will be delighted by NIO.”
The press release provides more: “NIO EVE, our vision car, showcases the future of autonomous driving. From daily commuting to road trips, from school runs to nights out, EVE constantly learns about its occupants and their preferences. It is a digital companion, a robot on wheels. At EVE’s heart lies NOMI, an artificial intelligence engine with an intuitive human interface, providing verbal and visual connections both within the vehicle and with the outside world. Nomi uses the vehicle’s active glass to provide an augmented vision for occupants and for new kinds of entertainment.”
“Doing away with conventional A and B pillars of the car and using optimized door cuts, the comfortable and inviting interior is accessed through a wide forward-sliding door. The fixed seats are belted and positioned to deliver flexibility and an enhanced feeling of openness. In the primary seating area, a discrete folding table creates work or play space, while a luxurious seat that reclines and allows for relaxation or even sleep. The forward two seats, accessed from the main interior, enjoy an enhanced panoramic view, with digital displays provided on the active glass when needed to support non-autonomous driving. EVE is designed from the inside out for autonomy.”
It is certainly a very fancy-looking and distinct interior — I’m more than a bit skeptical that such an interior will end up in a production vehicle, but who knows at this point?
For more information on NIO, see our recent coverage of the company’s EP9 supercar autonomously doing a high-speed lap at the COTA track.
The company’s self-driving tech development will be aided by new partnerships with NVIDIA, Mobileye, and NXP — announced in the press release quoted from above.
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