Automotive

Chevy embraces the future with the FNR autonomous vehicle

Chevy embraces the future with...
Chevrolet reveals the FNR at Auto Shanghai 2015 (Photo: General Motors)
Chevrolet reveals the FNR at Auto Shanghai 2015 (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevrolet reveals the FNR at Auto Shanghai 2015 (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevrolet reveals the FNR at Auto Shanghai 2015 (Photo: General Motors)
The FNR melds traditional car design with futuristic, autonomous styling (Photo: General Motors)
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The FNR melds traditional car design with futuristic, autonomous styling (Photo: General Motors)
The FNR uses laser headlights and tail lights (Photo: General Motors)
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The FNR uses laser headlights and tail lights (Photo: General Motors)
Inside, the FNR features two rows of skeletal bucket seats and a rear bench (Photo: General Motors)
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Inside, the FNR features two rows of skeletal bucket seats and a rear bench (Photo: General Motors)
Electric wheel motors power the FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
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Electric wheel motors power the FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
Inside the FNR (Photo: General Motors)
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Inside the FNR (Photo: General Motors)
The FNR looks a bit more traditional from the front than other pod-like autonomous concept cars we've seen (Photo: General Motors)
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The FNR looks a bit more traditional from the front than other pod-like autonomous concept cars we've seen (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevy FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
Inside the FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
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Inside the FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
The Chevy FNR was prepared by a Shanghai-based team for the Shanghai auto show (Photo: General Motors)
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The Chevy FNR was prepared by a Shanghai-based team for the Shanghai auto show (Photo: General Motors)
The Chevy FNR looks into the future of automotive design (Photo: General Motors)
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The Chevy FNR looks into the future of automotive design (Photo: General Motors)
The FNR opens using a double swing dragonfly door system (Photo: General Motors)
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The FNR opens using a double swing dragonfly door system (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy doesn't mention any information about the front digital display, but we assume it could be used for a mix of driving data, navigation and entertainment (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevy doesn't mention any information about the front digital display, but we assume it could be used for a mix of driving data, navigation and entertainment (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevy FNR concept (Photo: General Motors)
The driver starts the car up by way of an iris recognition system (Photo: General Motors)
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The driver starts the car up by way of an iris recognition system (Photo: General Motors)
The front seats swivel around to face the rear, creating the intimate lounge-style setting that is popular in autonomous vehicle design (Photo: General Motors)
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The front seats swivel around to face the rear, creating the intimate lounge-style setting that is popular in autonomous vehicle design (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy FNR teaser (Photo: General Motors)
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Chevy FNR teaser (Photo: General Motors)
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
Chevy FNR concept
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Chevy FNR concept
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This is the year that automotive companies will tantalize eyes and minds with full visions of autonomous cars. Mercedes opened up the year with the intriguing F 015 design study, and Italdesign Giugiaro showed its own version of autonomy with the Geneva-debuted GEA. Chevrolet has an equally intriguing self-driving vision, and it calls it the FNR. The "futuristic capsule" is loaded with next-generation styling, technology and ideas.

The FNR ticks all the boxes of obligatory autonomous concept car design elements – the "Hey, no one has to really see out the windshield, so let's make a weird-looking rolling egg!" styling; the RV-style swivel front seats; the open, B-pillarless lounge-like cabin space; and the extra-large digital display. Check, check, check and check.

The Chevy FNR looks into the future of automotive design (Photo: General Motors)
The Chevy FNR looks into the future of automotive design (Photo: General Motors)

The FNR does stray from the norm established by past concepts like the F 015 and the Zoox Boz in a few ways, though. Its prominent glass dome is secured to structured fenders and a semi-traditional grille and headlamp layout, maintaining at least some semblance of a familiar automobile. It's much less a shapeless blob than other autonomous concepts. When you stare it in the face, it looks a tad angry and aggressive, like an autonomous car that's itching to speed a little over the limit to get you there a few seconds early.

The FNR also features a different rendition of B-pillarless design. Italdesign and Mercedes designers went the easiest route with suicide doors, while Chevy is a little more creative in bolting front butterfly wings and a rear-lifting hatch to the FNR body, a configuration it calls "dragonfly dual swing doors." The pop-open rear-end appears to provide comfy ingress to the rearmost bench. That bench separates the FNR from other autonomous designs more concerned with creating a spacious cabin for four people. It appears that the FNR has two seats on the bench, creating an interior large enough for a family of six.

The FNR opens using a double swing dragonfly door system (Photo: General Motors)
The FNR opens using a double swing dragonfly door system (Photo: General Motors)

The FNR is stuffed with next-generation technologies that are worth only passing mention because that's all Chevy gives them in its press release – the concept is really just an auto-show styling exercise, after all. The electric car is powered by magnetic hubless wheel motors and charged wirelessly. The driver starts the motor with an iris recognition system and can opt between manual and autonomous modes. A combination of sensors and a roof-mounted radar system analyzes the surroundings during autonomous driving, and a set of crystal laser head and tail lamps light the way.

The FNR was developed in Shanghai by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center to help put the "show" into the Auto Shanghai show. While the concept car won't be working its way into Chevy's lineup anytime soon, GM has announced plans to get autonomous technology to market within the next two years.

Source: General Motors

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2 comments
Alexander Lowe
I'll bet it's got centreless wheels. Car stylists cannot shake off the compulsion to design anything wheeled with the damned things. Are they really still 'cool'?
Bob Flint
Chevy and it's sleazy tease... had they even tried to put a human form into that angry torture chamber?
Nonsense at it's finest, at least Mercedes had head & leg room in both seating modes.
Of course it's center less wheels, just goes well with the senseless thinking, and complete lack of suspension travel, oh maybe I missed the part about the automatic ground effects and instantaneous shift to hover mode...