concept

Ford’s new Silicon Valley lab isn’t all pie-in-the-sky

Ford’s new Silicon Valley lab isn’t all pie-in-the-sky

Self-driving cars are undoubtedly the most attention-grabbing project at Ford's new tech outpost in Palo Alto, but it's not all the team is working on, and other schemes are far closer to helping modern drivers. The Research and Innovation Center is also exploring how digital dashboards can be smarter, how smart home gadgets like Nest can play nicely with your car, and even how a little Project Ara style modularity could make Fords more future-proof. Read on for three of the more down-to-earth - and potentially closer to production cars at your nearest Ford dealer - projects underway.

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Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Traffic lights that are projected onto your windshield and change color according to the actual road conditions rather than a preset pattern could cut commute times by 40-percent, new research has claimed. The technology, dubbed Virtual Traffic Lights and already spun out into a startup by a team at Carnegie Mellon University, would rely on cars that can intercommunicate with each other and the road infrastructure, whispering their location and thus allowing real-time decisions about which lights should be green and which should be red. If implemented, it could not only save time behind the wheel, but cut stress and emissions it's suggested.

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Here’s how you might buy Google Project Ara

Here’s how you might buy Google Project Ara

Google is taking Project Ara to Puerto Rico, and the ATAP team has been sharing some of its ideas for how to pitch a modular phone to a confused audience. While the web giant may have focused on online sales in the past, even at one point trying to bypass carriers altogether with the Nexus project, for Ara there's a recognition that some explaining is going to be necessary. The answer, it seems, is both a mobile configurator app and a fleet of trucks that Google can take around the island, along with some interesting packaging options that play up on the modularity.

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Infiniti’s Q60 Concept is gorgeous, arrives in 2016

Infiniti’s Q60 Concept is gorgeous, arrives in 2016

Are you a lusty driver? If you are, Infiniti has just the ride for you. Their new Q60 concept is for those with a “lust for driving”, according to Infiniti’s Executive Director of Design, Alfonso Albaisa. He’s clearly enamored with it, describing it as “sultry”, and “ready to pounce”. That’s all wonderful praise, but here’s the issue: concept cars rarely see the road as we find them at these kinds of car shows. They end up as posters on a wall in an office, but not this time.

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Hyundai wants to reignite the Millennial truck love affair

Hyundai wants to reignite the Millennial truck love affair

It's the El Camino for the crossover generation, with Hyundai's moon buggy styled Santa Cruz concept sating what the company insists is a lingering appetite for pick-ups among Millennials. Truck sales among younger buyers may be fading, Hyundai said during its Detroit Auto Show event, but that's an opportunity not a hinderance, it insisted. The result is a "Crossover Truck Concept" that seats five and offers a fairly capacious load area, all in a footprint more commonly associated with a moderately sized sedan.

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VW’s Cross Coupe GTE is a big blue moody monster

VW’s Cross Coupe GTE is a big blue moody monster

After Volkswagen served up its vision of the dashboard of tomorrow at CES last week, the company has another high-tech concept car in the shape of the Cross Coupe GTE for Detroit. The German company's interpretation of homegrown design for American tastes, the concept takes a crossover body and then hunkers it down with a more aggressive stance, while under the hood there's a hybrid powertrain that pairs a V6 gas engine with two electric motors, for a total of 355 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

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Buick’s Avenir is lustworthy (& I can’t believe I just said that)

Buick’s Avenir is lustworthy (& I can’t believe I just said that)

A beautiful Buick? Wonders never cease: while GM's affordable-luxury marque may be better known for appealing to the golf set, its Avenir concept for the Detroit Auto Show is a legitimate stunner. The huge sedan is inspired by the sea, so Buick claims, with calming waves that coast along the side profile, but beyond the marketing hype it's simply a genuinely good-looking car. It's also clearly a modern Buick, with a huge grille, plenty of chrome that manages to not look out of place, and a particularly distinctive rear.

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VW Cross Coupe GTE concept: a new design for tomorrow’s SUV

VW Cross Coupe GTE concept: a new design for tomorrow’s SUV

At CES 2015, Volkswagen revealed its fancy Golf R Touch interface for future smart cars. Now at the Detroit Auto Show 2015, it will be showing off something less hi-tech but still forward-looking. The five-seater Cross Coupe GTE concept SUV, its latest plug-in hybrid, will be showcasing new features, new technologies, and new designs that the car maker will be putting into a more imminent model, a seven-seater mid-size SUV that it plans to reveal to the world near the end of 2016.

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2015 Buick Avenir concept straddles the past and the future

2015 Buick Avenir concept straddles the past and the future

GM really wants the Buick luxury brand to come on strong and at the Detroit Auto Show 2015, it will be doing so by putting its best foot forward with the new 2015 Buick Avenir concept sedan. But while the car does integrate many driver and passenger technologies like other concept cars, its biggest attention grabbing feature will most probably be its design, a design that tries to give a nod to the luxury car's lineage but also tries to break free from tradition.

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Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving car in-depth: AI & lasers

Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving car in-depth: AI & lasers

Mercedes-Benz teased something big - figuratively and literally - for CES 2015, and the F 015 Luxury in Motion autonomous car ticks both boxes. Latest in the German marque’s F line of prototypes and proofs-of-concept, the F 015 is a luxury lounge on wheels, as Mercedes flirts not only with how cars of tomorrow might pilot themselves, but what those inside will do with the extra time they’ve suddenly had handed to them. Strikingly long, with color-changing LED lights on the outside to show if the AI is in charge and four electrically pivoting seats inside, it’s Mercedes’ take on what transport could look like in 2030 and beyond.

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