Chevrolet’s futuristic self-driving FNR Concept seen at 2015 Shanghai Auto Show

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 23, 2015

Chevrolet’s futuristic concept car -- the FNR concept – certainly turned heads at the 2015 Shanghai auto show with its technical capabilities. This vehicle, which has an acronym that stands for “Find New Roads”, is being targeted at the younger generation in China. The automaker has recently announced that it hopes to reach 1 million auto sales in China by 2020.

Global Chevy chief Alan Batey said that to achieve this goal, the company plans to launch 10 new models for this country “in the next few years,” which includes a plan to expand its SUV range. The “dragonfly” dual-swing doors of the FNR concept held the attention of onlookers at the Shanghai show. It is a pod-like, sci-fi inspired autonomous electric vehicle.

The concept was jointly developed by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center and Chinese partner SAIC Motor. This concept is meant to explore the extent that autonomous technology has grown. The FNR is equipped with magnetic, in-wheel electric motors that may be charged wirelessly. Driverless operation is possible with the use of sensors and a radar placed on the roof to map the route.

This concept may be driven manually or in self-driving mode. In the latter mode, the front seats may be turned 180 degrees to be face-to-face with the rear seats. Batey presented the car to the media and other people in the industry last Sunday during a garish gala. He said that the driver’s biometrics is monitored by sensors.

The car switches to autonomous mode if fatigue is detected in the driver. Batey added that the car is a reaffirmation of how committed Chevrolet is in offering electric vehicles that are a match to its customers’ lifestyles. GM is said to be studying the technological prowess that the FNR has achieved and that it is only the beginning of the automaker’s efforts to “meet the transportation efforts of the future.”

There was much fanfare during Sunday’s event as Shanghai General Motors also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Chevrolet’s presence in China. It was very festive with performances by opera singers, break dancers, and an Irish river dance group.

The customer base that Chevy has formed in China is much younger than Americans. Approximately 60% of its Chinese customers are younger than 36.

Meanwhile in the U.S., about 15% of buyers of the Spark and Sonic small cars (which are targeted at the youth) are younger than 36. In 2014, Chevy posted sales of 767,484 units in China, up by 7%. This made it rank No. 7 among all the other brands.

Press Release

Chevrolet FNR Concept

The Chevrolet FNR is an autonomous electric concept vehicle that offers a glimpse at mobility of the future. It was developed in Shanghai by GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture.

Engineering, design and electrification teams drew on their past experience developing electric concept vehicles. Their aim was to create a unique, intelligent vehicle for tomorrow's younger consumers by utilizing innovative car networking technology.

The Chevrolet FNR boasts a futuristic capsule design. It has crystal laser headlights and taillights, dragonfly dual swing doors, magnetic hubless wheel electric motors and a wireless auto-charge system.

The Chevrolet FNR is loaded with a range of intelligent technologies usually seen only in science fiction movies. They include sensors and roof-mounted radar that can map out the environment to enable driverless operation, Chevy Intelligent Assistant and iris recognition start. The Chevrolet FNR can also serve as a "personal assistant" to map out the best route to the driver's preferred destination.

In self-driving mode, the vehicle's front seats can swivel 180 degrees to face the rear seats, creating a more intimate setting. The driver can switch to manual mode through the gesture control feature.

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