Based on the SYMBIOZ concept unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, the SYMBIOZ Demo concept was unveiled late in 2017 with the ability to drive autonomously on public motorways. It was the first rolling prototype built to be autonomous from the ground up.
The SYMBIOZ demo car road tests demonstrated in real-life conditions that the car is autonomous, electric and connected, resulting in a whole new on board experience and as much pleasure while driving as with hands off the steering wheel. In SYMBIOZ, the driver could automate driving and use travel time for other activities. With SYMBIOZ, travel becomes a multi-sensory, personalised experience, with a cabin reconfigured differently for each driving mode, and the car becomes part of driver’s and passenger’s own ecosystem.
The SYMBIOZ Demo provided advanced, Level 4 (‘mind-off’) autonomous driving and allowed its engineers and designers to address the many challenges and opportunities presented by autonomous driving. Level 4 autonomy frees up the driver from all dynamic driving tasks when the car’s automated driving system is switched on meaning it is no longer necessary for the driver to concentrate on the road ahead. The car is capable of moving into a safe position if it cannot deal with an unexpected incident ahead. On authorised highways or dual roads with a median strip, a Level 4 autonomous car like SYMBIOZ demo car can adjust the vehicle’s speed in accordance with the car in front, stay in its lane even when cornering, change lanes (i.e. to overtake another car or exit the highway) and function alone in traffic jams.
The SYMBIOZ Demo not only showcased Level 4 autonomy, but was also powered by two all-electric motors with a rear-wheel drive system to ensure power is fed to the road more efficiently to enhance driving pleasure. Its motors were capable of delivering maximum power of 500kW and 660Nm peak torque (360kW and 550Nm continuous) and acceleration from standstill to 100kph in 6 seconds. Its batteries could be charged from 0 to 80 percent of their capacity in less than 30 minutes.
It also showcased how connected a vehicle can be with its occupants, allowing the driver and passengers to access their digital lives and enjoy a wide range of services in harmony with the personal smartphone. Occupants could be identified by their smartphone regardless of where they are sitting, interacting with the car’s human-machine interface (HMI) to determine their seat settings, air conditioning settings and music preferences, among other functions. Occupants could even check what’s happening in their house thanks to a 360-degree camera view on the screen of the dashboard and adjust the heating settings or access other domestic appliances like a fridge.
Six core partners were used in order to create the SYMBIOZ Demo car according to their areas of expertise:
- LG developed of the human-machine interfaces
- Ubisoft provided on board virtual reality experience for autonomous driving mode
- Devialet developed a new user experience through advanced sound system
- Sanef worked on the way the car communicates with road network infrastructure
- TomTom contributed with its geo-positioning expertise
- IAV provided autonomous driving engineering expertise