Nissan has rolled out the funky, high-tech Teatro for Dayz concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Designed to engage younger potential drivers that Nissan frames as "share natives," the car is packed with unlikely technologies like exterior LED displays and an interactive interior display system. This concept invites young drivers and passengers to mold their own in-vehicle experiences and share them with the ones they care about.
Nissan detailed the Teatro concept pretty thoroughly when it announced it a few weeks ago, but it's now provided a bit more explanation of the car's inspiration and design. Nissan imagines this type of car as a natural extension of the digitization going on around us, in which life has become completely interactive and connected instead of linear and personal.
Nissan's share natives get information not from top-down sources like newspapers and television but from the interactive, user-controlled Internet. Video games are no longer played alone or with a single friend on the neighboring couch seat, but with an online community of players around the world. Life is experienced not only firsthand, but through the eyes of others, through shared messages, photos and videos.
The mobile phone has fully untied all that interactivity and sharing from the home and grid, making it available virtually anywhere. So, too, does the Teatro for Dayz, blurring the lines between real-world and virtual travel. It's a vehicle "from which share natives can play, create, communicate and share experiences."
Nissan previously mentioned that the Teatro for Dayz is electric, but outside of that, it doesn't focus on any of the traditional automotive attributes of mechanicals, performance or interior comfort. Instead, the concept's focus is entirely on how it serves as a "clean canvas" for individual creativity and interactivity.
"Through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality," explains Satoshi Tai, Nissan's executive design director. "But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives."
Horsepower is what's moving the big box of technology to and fro, so it has a bit of relevance to those lives, but nothing about the design focuses their attention on that fact. The Teatro is a fairly shapeless box with short overhangs and a modest iteration of Nissan's V motion grille. The satin white silver paint sandwiched between gloss white follows the look of the smartphone. It's basically a white iPhone with aluminum casing.
The interior is even simpler, featuring four white seats, a steering wheel, pedals, a rectangular instrument panel, and black and white surfaces. No physical buttons or dials, no center console or glove compartment, no cupholders and no warming trim. Voice and motion controls serve in place of the missing physical controls. The digital instrument panel displays the usual gauges and navigation screen during driving but morphs into a blank white slab when parked.
for passenger creativity. In Nissan's vision of an integrated display system, occupants use the seats, headrests, door trim and instrument panel as a moving screen for their digital artistry. The all-over touchscreen system displays all the content that a mobile device can – apps, photos, websites, video calls, games and more.
"The interior can be visually altered according to one's mood, for playing games, and in the blink of an eye to surprise friends," says Tai. "What Teatro for Dayz is, how it's used, and what it could become are all up to the share native's imagination."
To traditional drivers, the Teatro for Dayz might seem a bit out there, and probably terrifying. A soulless powered four-wheeler that invites youthful "natives" to do exactly what we don't want them doing: pay attention to mobile technology instead of the road ahead. Nissan does stress that the "blank canvas" aspect is available when parked, but why buy a car if you only want to use it as a stationary digital art studio?
The concept makes a little more sense when viewed through the lens of autonomous commuting, a theme Nissan is also exploring in Tokyo with the IDS concept. If the car is doing all the driving, then occupants are free to do what they want. That might be reading a newspaper or browsing the Internet for you or me, but for the young, creative and social media-happy (or Nissan's vision of them), it's creating new interior and exterior designs, shooting content around the vehicle cabin, and sharing experiences with friends around the world.
We're not too sure if Nissan's concept will actually resonate with the youth it targets, but it at least sparks a conversation about how the automobile can adapt to better appeal to generations of youths that may continue to be disinterested in driving. Take part in that conversation by letting Nissan explain the Teatro a little further in the video below and sounding off in our comments section about what you think about its ideas.