Ok fine, the Byton SUV concept unveiled at CES is still definitely a car. But what's most interesting about this concept is that Byton really seems to get the fact that soon, cars won't be about driving anymore.
With a host of ex-BMW staffers on board, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Byton has shelved any aspirations of taking the crown of the ultimate driving machine, choosing instead to focus on the in-car experience. The most prominent feature is an eye-catching (read "massive") 49-inch screen running right across the dashboard. Add in more screens, seats which swivel to allow for better viewing, and the offer of seamless integration with your digital life and we have a car that isn't really about driving anymore - and that's without mentioning the Byton concept's autonomous mode (since you ask, it's level 3 - for now...)
It's more expensive than Tesla's Model 3 and it'll be 2019 before you can buy one (although you might still have a shorter wait than for a Model 3...) and Byton admits there are questions to answer about charging infrastructure. But it's exciting to see a manufacturer prioritising the digital in-car experience. Anyone who has ever tried to pair a smartphone with a car really will appreciate the importance of a vehicle which knows who you are when you get in, and automatically switches to your preferred settings.
When we don't need to drive cars anymore, providing a first-rate digital experience is going to be the new differentiator. Time will tell if Byton can take on more established automakers, but based on this concept the future looks good.
With a 49-inch screen spanning the dash from one door to the other, the first car-of-the-future unveil at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas didn’t disappoint when it came to that all-important measure: tech bling. Chinese car startup Byton unveiled an SUV it's all but shoving into the future, checking off keywords like electric, autonomous, connected, shared, enriching, transformative, luxurious, entertaining, intuitive, and efficient—several times over.