In what it is calling the “fifth generation” of family transportation – the Chrysler Portal concept debuted today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Eschewing a reveal at its home town auto show in Detroit, NAIAS that opens next week, the electric-powered Portal is estimated to have more than 250 miles of range on a full charge of its lithium ion battery pack.
Rapidly evolving sensing technologies enables a SAE Level Three semi-autonomous driving mode. This is so-called conditional automation that monitors the driving environment “with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately” when asked to intervene. Level Three only works in certain driving modes. Chrysler Portal is said to be designed to upgrade to Level Four autonomous driving – a higher level of automation, but still with limited driving modes.
“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, FCA North America.
In Chrysler’s view, millennials are tech savvy, environmentally aware and cost conscious. To balance those needs and to be an integral part of millennials’ lives, the Portal concept is designed to maximize interior space with a degree of flexibility between seating and cargo configurations. It also will enable users to “include and expand their social media communities with wireless integration between the vehicle and mobile devices.”
LED lighting is a key design element of a “mono-volume form that shrink wraps the battery-electric powertrain and interior packaging.” The Portal’s exterior design has – what else – portal-shaped side openings with sliding front and rear doors for easy loading and unloading of people and cargo. In other words minivan 2.0.
- Facial recognition and voice bio-metrics recognize the user and can customize individual or family settings to provide a drive experience based on preferred features, such as exterior interior lighting, favorite music, enhanced audio settings, favored destinations
- Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication enables the vehicle and infrastructure to “talk” to each other, such as intersection crash warning, traffic sign recognition and emergency vehicle approaching
- Personal Zoned Audio keeps the driver aware of surroundings by enhancing sound and direction of approaching emergency vehicles
- Vehicle integration of personal devices, such as phones, tablets, cameras and wearables
- Community sharing lets passengers share music, images, videos with other passengers
Millennials have become the largest demographic. In the next 10-plus years, most will be at a point in their life where they will begin to start or will have started a family; 75% of all children will have a millennial parent and there will be 4 million more children than today. The millennial generation is defined as people born between 1982 – 2001.
The four modes of family transportation have been defined by Chrysler as station wagons, minivans, SUVs and crossovers. Based on FCA internal research, “they will want a vehicle that is reflective of their personality, offers value and flexibility, integrates advanced technology and is socially responsible.”