Autonomous driving key to new Citroën 19_19 Concept

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Citroën has unveiled its new 19_19 Concept vehicle, a suspended and transparent capsule featuring autonomous driving technologies.

The full-electric concept car has a range of 497 miles (800km), a ‘magic carpet ride’, and a suspended cabin with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension and smart active control. Its autonomous driving technologies include a proactive ‘Personal Assistant’ that interacts with everyone on board, offering a whole new experience of in-car travel, according to Citroën.

The Personal Assistant is built into the dashboard, taking control of the vehicle during autonomous driving and interacting with passengers via an intuitive and proactive system that anticipates the needs of each occupant, thus reducing the number of interactions required between passengers and the vehicle. Its design also means that the cabin is without touchscreens or buttons.

Capable of proposing alternatives to the initial route, the Personal Assistant can suggest detours to points of interest based on browsing history, nearby locations to take breaks, and popular restaurants in the surrounding area. The vehicle sound mapping enables messages issued by the car to be sent directly to the person concerned without disturbing the other occupants.

The Personal Assistant has two positions on the dashboard. When the driver is driving, it is in support mode, and sits on the lower section, under the dashboard. It remains active and proactive, but does not take control of driving. To comply with driver distraction rules and to ensure a completely safe drive, the driver does not have visual contact with the rear-projection area. In this mode, the projection area on the dashboard is reserved exclusively for the passengers, who can relax with a film.

In autonomous mode, the pedals and steering wheel retract, the driver’s seat moves backward to provide more leg room, and the Personal Assistant slides up the dashboard to take control. It then becomes the vehicle supervisor and frees up the projection area under the dashboard for all occupants – including the driver – whose role switches to that of a passenger, as the vehicle is now in autonomous mode.

A simple sentence will suffice to interact with the vehicle; select a playlist; activate a film, video game or app; adjust the cabin temperature and lighting; make a phone call; or send a message. The Personal Assistant system is equipped with voice recognition via natural language developed by SoundHound, a Silicon Valley startup and strategic partner of Groupe PSA. This technology – to be installed on new Groupe PSA models and future Citroën models – is based on ‘deep meaning understanding’ technology, the only technology able to respond instantly to several questions asked in a single sentence, as a human being would. Deep meaning understanding technology provides the fastest voice recognition in the world and perfectly understands natural speech in 40 languages.

Citroën created the 19_19 Concept to make driving easier in all road conditions. Equipped with advanced autonomous driving technologies, it can take over and manage vehicle control automatically, enabling drivers to get on with other, non-driving related occupations. When the driver takes back control – either due to the road infrastructure or because they simply want to enjoy the driving experience – the system is designed to make driving easier and bring drivers greater safety and peace-of-mind.

The 19_19 Concept takes control in certain driving phases, including on motorways or in traffic jams. Drivers can let themselves be driven entirely by the vehicle in complete safety. They can take back control whenever they like, for example to enjoy the at-the-wheel experience. They may be required to do so in certain more complex situations, such as in traffic through obstacle-filled city centers.

“In the year of its 100th anniversary, Citroën is projecting into the future two of the key attributes of the brand’s DNA, building on the success of its range today: bold design and 21st century comfort,” said Xavier Peugeot, head of Citroën product.


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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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