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商业 - 汽车

瞄准中国80后的自动驾驶汽车:揭秘雪佛兰上海车展最新概念车

Sue Callaway 2015年04月23日

今年上海车展上,雪佛兰揭开了自动驾驶概念车FNR的神秘面纱。它可以让我们一窥15年后的驾驶方式:车里的电动座椅可以读取乘坐者心率、血压和情绪,调节温度、速度和灯光。如果想在旅途中工作,只需在中控台的手势控制水晶球上一划,就能调出电子表格文档,投射到车顶上。

    在GFMI Metalcrafters公司的加州工厂里组装雪佛兰FNR概念车

    在一栋深藏于加州芳泉谷,毫不起眼的办公楼里,一群设计师、工程师和技师已秘密奋战了好几个月,这个项目可以让我们一窥15年后的驾驶方式。这个外形犹如机库的工作室属于GFMI Metalcrafters公司。多年来,这家公司已打造了多款在车展上闪亮登场的重磅概念车。在这间必须输入密码才能进入的工作室里,这些团队全身心地投入工作,组装了一辆远远超越时代的汽车。正因为太先进,它所需的一些技术和材料迄今还没有问世。

    这款名为雪佛兰FNR的车型,可能是雪佛兰迄今为止最不同寻常的概念车,也是其母公司通用汽车真正掷地有声的力作。这款全自动(即自动驾驶)电动车,是泛亚汽车技术中心研发的成果之一。这个中心是通用汽车和上汽集团的合资企业。这既是一款专为中国年轻人群市场开发的家用轿车,也是一个技术及娱乐解决方案。比起汽车来,这群消费者通常对智能手机更感兴趣。在周一开幕的2015年上海车展上,雪佛兰揭开了FNR(这三个字母意为“找寻新路”,是该品牌的口号)的神秘面纱。在其首次亮相前的准备阶段,《财富》杂志有幸率先一窥这款概念车的真容。

    雪佛兰希望FNR能吸引全球而不仅仅是中国的80后、90后。它将语音助手Siri、BFF技术和运动腕带Fitbit等多重功能集于一身。雪佛兰中国销售兼营销总监莎伦•西称:“无论身在何处,我们的时间总是紧巴巴的——通勤时间、工作时间及与家人相处的时间。这正是启发我们开发这款车的因素之一。”与当前自动驾驶汽车开发的潮流有所不同,雪佛兰预计FNR将属于大众市场。通用汽车预计,到2030年——这也是FNR假设的车型年——自动驾驶技术将能够赚钱,成本将大幅降低,并成为真正的家用车。通用的高管还认为,在像中国这样的发展中国家,自动驾驶汽车尤其有机会获得大发展,因为这类国家的城市和道路很快就将变得拥挤不堪,政府十分希望破解拥堵难题,同时还有大量基础设施有待建设。

    莎伦•西表示:“在中国,设计实在是太重要了,”而FNR的外形恰恰展现出一种充满未来感的肌肉车风范。位于巨大的无轮毂车轮中的电动机是动力来源(在充分开发完成后,这一特有的创新成果即可使用)。FNR凹凸有致的外壳由碳纤维一类材质构成,以减轻车重,特别设计的进气口让整个车身平添几分动感,也提高了空气动力学性能。两边各自打开的双铡刀车门远望犹如盛开的莲花。点睛之笔是:上千盏LED灯点缀全车,让它周身散发出明亮的蓝光,这是泛亚中心高级汽车设计师曹明(音译)和他的团队对上海名扬全球的夜景灯光秀的礼赞。

    另一方面,车内布局则给人这样一种感觉:如果用户自主选择的话,驾驶本身将会被抛在脑后。乘坐者可以舒服地躺在FNR的电动网状座椅上,尽情享受旅程。这种座椅可以读取心率、血压和情绪状况,还能调节温度、速度、灯光,那些想工作或闭目养神的乘坐者甚至可以选择合适的背景音乐。想调出地图,投射到超大车顶上,并处理一些电子表格?只需用手在中控台的手势控制水晶球上一划,就能变换显示内容。当然,这是假设车主完全置身车内才行。通用汽车全球产品开发执行副总裁马克•罗伊斯声称,FNR将“在你工作时为你处理琐事,或是自己开到经销商那里维修,为车主省事。”

    Tucked away in a nondescript commercial building in Fountain Valley, Calif., dozens of designers, engineers, and craftsmen have toiled secretively for months on a project that offers a glimpse of the way we may be driving 15 years from now. Their hangar-like workspace belongs to GFMI Metalcrafters, a company that for decades has built many of the most important concept cars to hit the auto show circuit. Laboring furiously in its password-protected workrooms, these teams have been assembling a car so far ahead of its time that some of the technologies and materials it requires don’t exist yet.

    Meet the Chevrolet-FNR, perhaps Chevy’s most unusual concept car to date, and a stake-in-the-ground statement from Chevy’s parent, General Motors.The FNR is a fully autonomous—that is, self-driving—electric vehicle, developed as part of PATAC, a joint venture of GM and Chinese automaker SAIC Motors. It’s a family-sedan-cum-techno-infotainment solution aimed squarely at China’s youth market, consumers who characteristically respond better to smartphones than sheet metal. Chevy unveiled the FNR (it stands for “Find New Roads,” the brand’s tagline) on Monday at the 2015 Shanghai motor show; Fortune got a sneak peak at the vehicle as it prepared for its debut.

    Chevy hopes that the FNR will hook millennials, not just in China but worldwide, with the promise of a vehicle that will be part Siri, part BFF, and part Fitbit. “Everywhere in the world our time is constrained—commute time, work time, family time,” says Sharon Nishi, head of sales and marketing for Chevy’s operations in China. “Those are some of the things that inspired this car.” And in a departure from current trends in autonomous-vehicle development, Chevy envisions the FNR as a vehicle for the mass market. GM projects that by 2030—the hypothetical model year for the FNR—self-driving technologies will be prolific enough to have become less costly, and therefore feasible for a real-world family car. And its executives think autonomous vehicles have a particularly good chance of proliferating in developing countries like China, where cities and roads are crowding quickly, governments are eager to resolve congestion, and much infrastructure is yet to be built.

    “Design is really important in China,” says Nishi—and appropriately enough, the FNR’s exterior projects futuristic muscle-car attitude. Motors housed in the rims of its massive, hubless wheels will power the car (once that particular innovation is fully developed). The FNR’s sculpted exterior panels are made from composites like carbon fiber to save weight, and designed with air intakes that add drama and aerodynamic flow to the overall shape. Double scissor doors open on each side like lotus blossoms. The crowning touch: Thousands of LED lights swathe the vehicle, illuminating it outside and in with a bright blue light, an ode to Shanghai’s famous evening light shows from PATAC advanced vehicle designer Cao Min and his team.

    The interior, on the other hand, promises that driving itself can be an afterthought, if the user chooses. The FNR would allow occupants to sit back and enjoy the ride in motorized webbed seats that can read everything from heart rate and blood pressure to mood—and adjust temperature, speed, lighting, and even musical selections for those who want to work or sleep. Care to swap out the map projected on the oversized canopy and work on some spreadsheets? Simply swipe your hand over the gesture-controlled crystal ball in the center console to reconfigure the display. Of course, that’s assuming you’re in the car at all. The FNR could “run errands for you while you’re at work, or take itself to the dealer for service so you don’t have to,” says Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development.

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