Automotive

A closer look at Hyundai's joystick-controlled Prophecy EV concept

A closer look at Hyundai's joy...
Hyundai's Prophecy EV concept: slick old-school styling and some out-there ideas
Hyundai's Prophecy EV concept: slick old-school styling and some out-there ideas
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The Hyundai Prophecy's curvy side lines
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The Hyundai Prophecy's curvy side lines
"Sensuous sportiness" is the aim here
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"Sensuous sportiness" is the aim here
The interior is not like any car you've seen before
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The interior is not like any car you've seen before
Big wheels: a must for any concept car
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Big wheels: a must for any concept car
Coach-style doors: another concept car favorite
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Coach-style doors: another concept car favorite
"Pixelated" taillights break up the smooth, curvy design
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"Pixelated" taillights break up the smooth, curvy design
Hyundai's Prophecy EV concept: slick old-school styling and some out-there ideas
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Hyundai's Prophecy EV concept: slick old-school styling and some out-there ideas
These, says Hyundai, are the joysticks you'll one day use in place of a steering wheel
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These, says Hyundai, are the joysticks you'll one day use in place of a steering wheel
It's certainly a snappy-looking concept
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It's certainly a snappy-looking concept
One joystick in the driver side door, the other in the center console. How they work together is a bit of a mystery
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One joystick in the driver side door, the other in the center console. How they work together is a bit of a mystery
View gallery - 10 images

We saw the renders last month, and now, since there are no auto shows to roll it out at, Hyundai has made an online debut for its rather charming Prophecy concept. Styled to echo the Art Deco era, it foresees a world where joysticks replace the steering wheel as your primary driver to car interface.

It's not so far-fetched; with the advent of cars that can park and drive themselves, however limited these functions may be, comes fully electronic control of the steering apparatus. Sure, there's a steering wheel there now, but it integrates with a complex steer-by-wire system in the same way that your accelerator pedal interfaces with a drive-by-wire system.

If the steering is electronic, then there's no particular reason why you need a steering wheel as opposed to any other form of input. Perhaps a set of joysticks might prove more intuitive – at least, to a new generation of drivers who haven't grown up with wheels.

The interior is not like any car you've seen before
The interior is not like any car you've seen before

In the Prophecy concept, there are left and right hand controls built into the door and center console. They allow for a very relaxed shoulder position as you drive. They don't obscure your dashboard the way a wheel does, leaving room for more information on the displays, and "90 percent of the car's functions" can be controlled through buttons on the joysticks, reducing your need to take your hands off.

How the joysticks would work? That's a bit of a mystery. Since there are two, you'd have to expect them to be somehow connected. Is there some sort of haptic feedback? Is the steering rate affected by speed? Do you push forward to accelerate and pull back to brake? Who knows? It's certainly interesting to think about how that little interface might work.

The dash is mounted on a swivel and has a teardrop cross-section much like an aircraft wing. Behind it, the infotainment screen stretches from one side of the car to the other. The Prophecy doesn't foretell a completely driverless world, but it certainly expects the car to be doing the work some of the time. Thus, entertainment is a priority.

It's certainly a snappy-looking concept
It's certainly a snappy-looking concept

So is comfort, with seats that can be adjusted manually, or through a Smart Posture Care System that asks for your height, seated height and weight, and adjusts your seats, mirrors and heads-up displays to what it thinks you need based on "medically verified information." Putting the Prophecy in "Relax" mode, assuming you're not driving, flips the wing-shaped dash up, reclines your seats and lets you kick back to enjoy a show.

You can't open the windows on this thing. Hyundai feels the only reason you'd do so is to get a breath of fresh air, which is redundant since the Prophecy has an air filtration system with particle sensors built in. The car will continue to filter air even when it's parked – and indeed even when the air within is deemed clean, effectively cleaning the outside air as well. Bit of a drop in the bucket if you park it in Beijing, but then it might help keep you breathing easy in your garage.

Hyundai Prophecy | Exterior Walkaround with Luc Donkerwolke

As for the exterior design, well, above you'll find a new video of Hyundai's Chief Design Officer Luc Donckerwolke talking you through his thinking. The chief inspirations are the cars of the 1920s and 30s - the Art Deco era of curvaceous, smooth forms. But since you can have too much of a good thing, says Donckerwolke, the design team broke up the smoothness with some seriously blocky pixelated taillights and headlights. Contrast in all things.

As for the powertrain and chassis, Hyundai merely says it'll be built on the company's Electric Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP. Thus, batteries will be in the floor, and the powertrain will be very compact, opening up lots of room in the cabin and flattening the floor as it runs up the middle of the car.

All in all, the Prophecy is a nice-looking car with some interesting ideas to chew on. It remains to be seen how many of these ideas make it through to production cars. See a presentation on the interior below.

Hyundai Prophecy | Interior Walkaround with Luc Donkerwolke

Source: Hyundai

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8 comments
Monroe Bryant
Can’t lower windows? McDonalds and Banks won’t like that. But probably by then there will be other ways to get take out food and $$.
DaveWesely
This is a classic case of fixing something that isn't broken.
Koolski
This is an absolutely gorgeous vehicle! I don't care for the pixelation in the interior though. I have driven for 35 years but also have driven vehicles and devices with joysticks for years so I'd love to try this type of steering control interface. I'm curious as to why the joystick is a circular design rather a traditional stick.
65tux
Looking at the dash representation of the joysticks, the left one indicates degrees, the right one percent. So I'm guessing left is for steering, right is for go/stop.
Bob809
WOW! Love it. This could well be the best 'futuristic' very possible car. I am not so sure about the pixel lighting effects, but then again (we could get used to them quickly) they could be useful for messaging other road users, politely or otherwise.
buzzclick
It's shape is very Porsche-like. The light show is a little over the top. The back of this car looks cool, but a rear end mishap is gonna be costly. In contrast, the front end is rather plain. The tartan pattern interior? Meh. The steering isn't actually a joystick, probably becuz it would be too easy to mistakenly veer off unintentionally if you spill some coffee on your lap. Calling it a Prophecy is a little pretentious. The headlamp design doesn't grab me. If they wanted to eliminate the steering wheel, they could have gone old-school and given us reins: Go forth sweet Korean chariot. Heeyah! lol The opera doors are a feature that sweetens a four-seat arrangement.
piperTom
If you want devices to clean the OUTSIDE air, there are better places to mount them than on your car.
wolfshades
I like everything about this car. Except for the tartan interior. That ugly designed truly created a speedbump to the enjoyment of this otherwise-futuristic vehicle.