Human Horizons launches luxury electric SUV with full vehicle-to-everything communications
A new Chinese startup has made its debut, with a high-performance luxury SUV it's designing to operate as part of a much broader smart city transport system. The HiPhi 1 from Human Horizons will use more than 500 sensors and AI capabilities to communicate with vehicles, infrastructure and the internet.
Human Horizons chairman Ding Lei unveiled the HiPhi 1 in Shanghai last week, and on the surface it's a nice looking luxury six-seater in the vein of the Volkswagen I.D. Roomzz, the NIO ES8, or Tesla's Model X.
The very tidy-looking six-seater features "supercar-inspired" performance, four wheel steering, a luxury vegan leather interior, coach-style doors (including electric pop-up gullwings that make access to the back seats even easier than usual), and some of the biggest touchscreens we've ever seen in any car – concept or production.
Built on a "Body On Board" architecture – which we assume is a skateboard-type chassis with batteries in the floor – it's got intelligent thousand-LED headlights that project signals onto the ground for other road users, and will offer Level 3 autonomy on launch, with the view to moving to Level 4 once the technology is ready. You can use a key fob to enter, if you want to be old-fashioned, but it'll also let you in via facial recognition or phone integration.
But what really sets the HiPhi apart is the philosophy behind it. Human Horizons is looking way beyond the car toward a smart city transport network, and it sees its cars as "nodes" that need the ability to communicate with everything around them to work as a connected system. Thus, it's shipping the HiPhi 1 with more than 500 sensors designed to communicate with the internet, road-based infrastructure and other vehicles, and billing it as the world's "first production car with a 5G V2X- (vehicle to anything) enabled communication network."
The car will analyze all sorts of information about the traffic signals, public transport systems, other vehicles and your own driving behaviors, churning through a learning algorithm that self-improves over time. In theory, this will enable all sorts of smart capabilities, from aerodynamic close-follow convoys on the highway, to perfectly timed rendezvous with aircraft or mass transit devices, to instant re-routing when other vehicles or infrastructure report delays, road hazards or accidents, to little things like slowing down to make sure the light goes green before you reach an intersection.
Of course, much of this will come at a cost to privacy – but Chinese citizens are already well used to widespread state surveillance, behavior rating apps, and having their every financial transaction accessible to the government at all times. A small thing like having one's car tracked and potentially controlled by remote agents will be a drop in the bucket.
Check out a magnificently melodramatic video clip showcasing the HiPhi 1 below.
Source: Human Horizons