Chrysler Halcyon Concept’s Stargazing Mode Is the Perfect Application of Autonomous Tech

Chrysler Halcyon Concept’s Stargazing Mode Is the Perfect Application of Autonomous Tech

Some of the most common statements I see from car enthusiasts who are anti-autonomy are along the lines of “well I just want to drive myself,” which is totally valid. I love driving too! But there are so many situations where driving myself sucks. From stop-and-go traffic to monotonous commutes or long drives I’ve done it all,and sometimes I’m just plain tired and don’t want to. One of the worst situations is when the route I’m taking is wonderfully scenic, but because I have to keep my eyes on the road, I miss out on looking at the beautiful scenery. Chrysler’s new Halcyon concept has a solution in the form of its Stargazing and Tour Guide modes, which is exactly the kind of tech I think could change peoples’ minds on autonomous driving.

The Halcyon’s Level 4 automated system is literally named Drive Mode, and it enables drivers to fully disengage from the act of driving to watch a movie, play games or even sleep. Its pedals and steering wheel can retract, and the windshield and windows can even turn opaque. When you’re ready to drive yourself again, the wheel and pedals are deployed via voice recognition.


The Chrysler Halcyon Concept: The Details

A lot of new cars are starting to implement augmented-reality tech, typically in the head-up displays to project navigation arrows and other similar info, but the Halcyon takes the AR integration to another level. In Stargazing mode, the Halcyon’s front seats slide and lean back to give the occupants a view of the night sky through the expansive windshield and glass canopy. The AR system can highlight constellations in the sky, giving you information about them in real time as the car drives you down the road.

Then there’s the Tour Guide mode, where the car will use the AR to tell you about scenic vistas and other points of interest nearby. A Memory Landmark feature saves information and geotagged photos from locations that you’ve gone to before, so you can easily revisit or view them or share the pins with friends. Video calls can also be conducted using the AR display.

I think this is pretty genius. I would love to be able to go on a road trip with friends and be able to actually focus on the trip and scenery itself instead of the act of driving, and having augmented-reality tech that highlights the nature around us would make that even better. Level 4 autonomy is still years away, but similar features could be implemented in cars with Level 3 autonomy, which allows the driver to take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

Illustration: Chrysler

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