Icona Nucleus Concept is a slick, fully autonomous living lounge on wheels

Article by Christian A., on March 5, 2018

Known for its Icona Vulcano supercar concept, Italian design firm Icona is unveiling a new study that embodies its vision for the future of mobility, as first defined by the Icona Neo Concept in 2015. The latest study – the new Icona Nucleus Concept – is being unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show as a fully autonomous living room in wheels.

When the Icona Neo Concept was unveiled years ago, it signaled the design company’s vision for an electrically powered four-seat vehicle for busy people at busy metropolitan areas. Now, Icona is taking this electrically charged vision to a whole new level by creating a concept vehicle that is fully autonomous (Level 5 driving autonomy) – the Nucleus.

Furthermore, the Nucleus isn't just an ordinary vehicle as users don’t take it for a drive, but for a ride. Riders could just imagine a luxurious lounge or living room with the necessary features and convenient details, but with four wheels. A user just needs to step into the Icona Nucleus, sit back and relax. After several minutes or hours, its riders are already at their destination – minus the hustle and stress brought by driving.

In creating the new Nucleus, Icona decided that technology should not be seen but be felt. Thus, the design company employ a “less is more approach,” thereby giving the Nucleus a fluid and sculptural body that allows for greater levels of aerodynamics and ergonomics.

Its body is wrapped in a package that measures 5.25 meters in length, 2.12 meters in width, and 1.75 meters in height, as it rides on 26-inch wheels. It features a slick aerodynamic design with wheel arch aerodynamic blade extensions and full underbody diffuser. With this design, the Nucleus boasts of a CX of below 0.25, which means that the concept isn't just rolling-resistance, but also energy efficient.

According to Icona, the new Nucleus concept represents the synthesis of a human-centered mindset and the futurism. Since the Icona Nucleus doesn’t have a driver, a steering wheel and a dashboard, it takes the concept of mobile living spaces to a whole new level.

Because of its fully autonomous nature, users don’t need to focus on the road anymore, but on their destination. The design company noted that it visualizes a fully autonomous self-driving car to be more of use than the current family car. On the other hand, the Nucleus provides a glimpse into a new generation of vehicles that aspire to be socially responsible by respecting not only the natural environment, but also the human environment.

Icona envisions the Nucleus to replace several cars, while spending more time on the road and less on parking spaces. In addition, its interior design allows for several possibilities, reflecting the concept’s versatile nature.

Instead of using side glass in the traditional sense, it employs semi-transparent body color panels that allow users to see out from the vehicle while those outside cannot see the interior, which means a great deal of privacy during a ride. Offering a space up to six people, the Nucleus features movable seats that can be transformed into a couch. With its asymmetrical approach and different seat designs and configurations, the Nucleus offers more freedom and flexibility during a ride.

Press Release

Icona Nucleus Concept Is An Autonomous Living Room

The Italian design company Icona announced its debut at the 88th Geneva International Motor show, unveiling a worldwide premiere: the autonomous driving concept vehicle Icona Nucleus.

The concept Nucleus represents the synthesis of futurism and a human-centered mindset. It takes the Icona Neo Concept one step further by reconsidering the very way that we use a vehicle. Neo introduced us to tomorrow, Nucleus will introduce us to after-tomorrow. The Icona Nucleus embodies Icona’s vision for the future of mobility. First seen in 2015, the Icona Neo concept demonstrated a very tangible tomorrow for the electric vehicle. With its fully autonomous driving level five, the Nucleus jumps two generations ahead. Inside the vehicle, the absence of a driver does not only mean the absence of a steering wheel and a dashboard, but the opportunity for a new understanding of mobile living spaces, where the focus is no longer the road but the destination.

Technology should be felt but not seen and so a “less is more approach” has been used, resulting in a fluid and sculptural body that combines the needs of both aerodynamics and ergonomics. Beyond its technological innovation, Nucleus also shows us the future for the next generation of cars. A generation that aspires to be socially responsible through respect not only for the natural environment but also for the human environment. Mobility in after-tomorrow will be very different from today, with a large number of shared, selfdriving, electric vehicles which will serve as individual or small group shuttles between mass 2 mobility infrastructure and large hub destinations. Yet, the future will remain multi-faceted and cars will continue to express our individuality as much as our clothing does (and as our mobile phones used to until the iPhone). With a fully autonomous self-driving car, we can make so much more use of it than the current family car: it will take you to the airport, come back to pick up the kids from school then later take the grandparents to a doctor’s appointment.

The car will spend much less time parked, and will be much more usefully employed on the road. One car will replace several cars, and by nature will be an excellent place to be: its use and versatility will be directly reflected in the multiple possibilities of its interior design. Essential exterior design “A seamless gliding first class form of transportation” says Samuel Chuffart, Global Design Director of Icona. The mono-volume exterior is unlike any vehicle you have ever seen. The shape looks purposeful and beautiful. The profile and surfacing look as though the vehicle was shaped to move efficiently and quietly through the air. Being fully autonomous, there is no side glass in the traditional sense, rather semi-transparent bodycolor panels that allow the occupants to see out from the vehicle but remain shrouded for privacy while traveling.

The upper glass from windscreen to the complete roof is asymmetrical, divided into fully transparent and semi-transparent glass, giving a distinct visual cue that this vehicle is something truly different. The Icona Nucleus looks like a self-moving executive lounge, characterized by a long curvy side line which emphasizes the cell nature of the vehicle. Like a protective bubble, the Nucleus protects and embraces its passengers, at the same time offering a stunning view to the outside, thanks to an extremely wide glass surface which constitutes the majority of the upper body. The glass is partly transparent and partly semi-transparent, and the two portions are marked by a diagonal line which crosses the roof from front right to back left. In effect, the body is asymmetrical, with just one door on the right side and therefore two very different sides. With a length of 5.25 meters and a width of 2.12 meters, the Nucleus stands at 1.75 meters high on 26 inches wheels. Its slick aerodynamic design with full underbody diffuser and wheel arch aerodynamic blade extensions bring the CX to just under 0.25, a very good number that definitely helps its rolling resistance and energy consumption. Luxury lounge-like interior.

Now that all occupants are passengers, their interaction and the individuality of their personal space become a priority. The Nucleus can easily accommodate six people. Seats can be moved with flexibility, even transforming into a couch. One large seat in the front and one in the back make it as comfortable and cozy as a luxury living room. If you are heading to a five star hotel, sitting in the Nucleus will make it seem as if you are already in your room. A small table and all necessary spaces and 3 connections for a laptop are available, so that even the shortest trip can be effectively used for business or leisure. Nucleus reconsiders the way we access and live in our car, pushing the boundaries of interior space-driven design with an airplane-inspired interior simplified to its most pure form. No longer should we be compelled to sit in a line, with the windscreen and the road ahead as our only focus. With an asymmetrical approach and different seat designs and configurations, spending time together inside Nucleus means more freedom and flexibility; people enjoying their time together and configuring the space according to their mood and preferences that day.

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