Automotive

Nissan builds baffling, belly-surfing GTR-X 2050 concept

Nissan builds baffling, belly-...
Designer Jaebum "JB" Choi with the Nissan GTR-X concept car
Designer Jaebum "JB" Choi with the Nissan GTR-X concept car
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Designer Jaebum "JB" Choi with the Nissan GTR-X concept car
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Designer Jaebum "JB" Choi with the Nissan GTR-X concept car
Long and low
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Long and low
The GTR-X envisages a future where we zoom around head-first, on our bellies
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The GTR-X envisages a future where we zoom around head-first, on our bellies
The X shape signifies the prone human form within
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The X shape signifies the prone human form within
These wheels promise 360 degree maneuverability, somehow
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These wheels promise 360 degree maneuverability, somehow
Spoiler adds a bit of flair
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Spoiler adds a bit of flair
A low-down and low-drag design
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A low-down and low-drag design
Careful folks, that's an exposed "plazma energy core"
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Careful folks, that's an exposed "plazma energy core"
The roof lifts off for ingress and egress
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The roof lifts off for ingress and egress
The helmet and backpack provide a neural interface through to the energy core
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The helmet and backpack provide a neural interface through to the energy core
Nissan Design America built the 1:1 model of the GTR-X 2050 after Choi's internship there
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Nissan Design America built the 1:1 model of the GTR-X 2050 after Choi's internship there
We're not gonna lie, this is a weird-looking helmet
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We're not gonna lie, this is a weird-looking helmet
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Nissan's design team has built a full-scale model of Korean designer Jaebum "JB" Choi's concept of an autonomous supercar for the year 2050. Conceived as a mind-controlled, rolling exoskeleton, the GTR-X is one of the year's most unusual concepts.

When I think of what life might be like in 30 years, all I can imagine is an armada of fleshy pleasure robots mincing about, distracting rich people from the climate catastrophes outside their triple-glazed windows. JB Choi, on the other hand, feels we'll be zipping about the megacities of the future head-first in X-shaped, single-occupant autonomous electric 4-wheelers.

The GTR-X concept is built around the human form; you pop the top of the GTR-X and slip in, lying flat on your belly. This position allows for good low-drag aerodynamics, much like the early prototypes for the autonomous Roborace cars, but it's pretty ordinary for looking out the windscreen. So there's no windscreen. Somebody better tell the guys down at the intersection with their buckets and squeegees, they'll need a 30-year career change plan.

The helmet and backpack provide a neural interface through to the energy core
The helmet and backpack provide a neural interface through to the energy core

Instead, the driver straps on an oddly spherical VR helmet with a series of vaguely lewd protrusions that provide vision from cameras on the exterior of the car. That's not all; you also have to wear a race suit and a large backpack. The GTR-X doesn't have anything so last-century as a steering wheel; it's a self-driver, after all. Your interface with the car comes through a "brain to core transmitter" that directly converts your thoughts into digital form and sends them to a glowing blue "plazma energy core" where ... things happen, and you're offski.

Clearly, a few technological leaps will be needed to get us from here to there. Nissan will need to solve the problem of drivers spewing copiously into their VR helmets when the motion they're perceiving with their eyes is perpendicular to the motion they're experiencing in their bodies. It will need to figure out how to make Choi's "360-degree" wheels work. It will need to invent "plazma energy cores." It will need quantum leaps in autonomous vehicle and neural interface technologies, and it will need great strides forward in marketing technology to convince people the best way to get around is to suit-and-boot up, and whack on a goldfish bowl helmet that can fill up with chunder as they go whizzing about on their tummies.

Nissan will not, however, need to build a scale model, because it's already done that. So that's one key piece squared away.

A low-down and low-drag design
A low-down and low-drag design

The GTR-X is, of course, simply Choi's thesis submission as he graduates from California's ArtCenter College of Design. The Nissan connection came about through a two-month pre-COVID internship he undertook with Nissan Design America. Nissan saw promise and potential in his work, and built this 10-foot-long (3-m) 1:1 model both to encourage Choi in his future endeavors and to spark some conversation and imagination about what future transport could look like.

"JB is a super-talented, super-creative designer and his ideas about future supercars driven by brain-to-vehicle integration fit perfectly with Nissan’s advanced work in the B2V field," says Nissan Design America VP David Woodhouse. "His thesis was all about demonstrating the emotional connection technology can create, and the benefit that it can deliver for customers. It was super exciting for the NDA team to help JB give form to this idea as a 1:1 model."

We agree with the NDA team that Choi has a great sense of proportion, surfacing, aesthetics and imagination. We look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

Source: Nissan USA

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8 comments
8 comments
Username
it would be much more comfortable lying on one's back.
mediabeing
You know this is insane, right?
Sometimes a person simply needs to be told.
You've been hereby told.
No driver today would want to go face first in a high speed racer.
At first look, I thought this was going to be a remote link racer where the driver is in a room somewhere.
The first or second high speed wreck, with driver inside, will probably cause a big change in direction/design.
Good journey.
teeduke
What's that yucky blue stuff coming out of the driver's nether region?
xtendqi
Here's a quote from the article: "His thesis was all about demonstrating the emotional connection technology can create..." I just want to say that the connection I have with my 2012 BMW K1600 GTL is very personal! Her name is Qi, and I am still in love :)
WB
another pie in the sky so remote from reality it's a joke. I love Tesla who actually builds what they show.
Take these tires for example.. I mean do they think everyone looking at this thing is .....
Nobody
Maybe the kids would enjoy this but any rotund older person would consider it torture.
ReservoirPup
The looks are superb, but the substance is too much of a fiction. Just take this (http://en.velomobiel.nl/quattrovelo/) and build on it and you have a 2050 thing that’s already part of 2020.
Cymon Curcumin
It’s so hard (what with me living where I do) to imagine a place on earth where a car with zero clearance between the structure and the road would be practical. I thought that perfectly ideal roads only existed in the realms of Greek philosophy.