Kia Futuron autonomous, electric concept has scales and UFO design

Shown at the China International Import Expo

Kia Futuron Concept
Kia Futuron Concept
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Although the Kia Futuron Concept is styled and literally named to suggest a prospective automobile, it checks all the market trend boxes of right now. It's styled like a crossover coupe. It has all-wheel drive. It's electric. And it is said to have Level 4 autonomy. Oh yes, and it lights up, too. 

Unveiled at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE), the Futuron's name is technically two words put together, according to Kia: future and on. "On" is apparently meant to hint at "switched on," as in an electrical switch. Or just consider it Megatron's cousin.

The Futuron is about 191 inches long, 61 inches tall, and has a 118-inch wheelbase. For reference, a Kia Stinger is 190 inches long, 55 inches tall, and has a wheelbase of 114.4 inches. Kia says it used a 360-degree design that is inspired by UFOs and flying saucers. A central eye-drawing crease starts at the new interpretation of the "Tiger Nose," disappears in the front wheel arches, and picks up again at the door, where it continues along the body and circles around the rear. The glass canopy roof is diamond-shaped and offers a unique airy design that extends beyond the dashboard. Kia says it wants its future designs to be "confident, sporty and modern, yet also elegant." 

One of the key features of the Futuron is the evolutionary "Tiger Face." The headlights and front fascia of the car blend together, thanks to "Star Cloud" lighting. Kia says it pulls from the nebulae in space to create the geometric Matrix lighting. It also uses a "Dragon Skin" surface that mimics scaled armor on mythic Chinese dragons. A kinetic surface allows the car's scales to open and close to reveal daytime running lights or headlights, depending on the time of day.

Hypothetically, the Futuron is powered by four in-wheel electric motors, which are fed by a battery beneath the floor of the cabin. Four motors means electric all-wheel drive, which will deliver "lightning-fast responses to driver inputs." Furthermore, sensors, radar, lidar, and cameras make the Futuron capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, which allows the driver to be completely free of road attention or guidance, for the most part. The steering wheel even retracts.

Inside, the autonomous capabilities allow for a more flexible design. The Futuron has seats that can be switched between driving or zero-gravity reclining. Furthermore, a graphical user interface (GUI) "flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc" to create a digital cockpit that also includes the instrument cluster and dashboard infotainment display.

The interesting concept car will be on display at the CIIE in Shanghai from now until Nov. 10, 2019. 

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