Designs of the future at the Shanghai Auto Show

Credit: Reuters - Business (Amazon FireT
Published on April 18, 2019 - Duration: 02:33s

Designs of the future at the Shanghai Auto Show

The world's automakers are displaying their most exciting new designs at this year's Shanghai Auto Show and many are visions of how cars could look when they're powered by electricity and when they can drive themselves.

Ed Giles reports.

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Designs of the future at the Shanghai Auto Show

It's been billed as the place where the car becomes digital.

This year's Shanghai Auto Show, the biggest of its kind in China, has over 1000 exhibitors showing off their latest ideas.

There's mini-cars designed for a future of self-driving cities, like Audi's AI:me.

Sleek, electric roadsters, like the SC1 Vision concept EV-maker, Karma.

And sedans with batteries, like the Qs Inspiration, from Nissan's Infiniti.

As weird as some of them might look the quirky designs aren't only for show.

Many are visions of how the common car might change when it's powered by electricity and capable of driving itself.

Reuters Nori Shirouzou explains how brands are reimagining automobiles.

(Soundbite) (English) NORI SHIROUZOU, REUTERS SENIOR AUTO CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "With electrification, many things about the car are going to change.

For instance there's no engine, there's no transmission, these bulky things in the car are going to be gone which means that there's going to be a lot of space inside the car which becomes available for you.

Take a look at this car, for instance, if you take a look, there's a flat floor, there's a lot of space in the front, which means that you can cross your legs if you're the passenger.

And also in the back if you take a look, there's the bench seat - that is coming back." The Head of design for Infiniti, Karim Habib, says the return of bench seats - something more familiar to most drivers of 1950s vintage cars - is just the beginning.

(Soundbite) (English) KARIM HABIB, INFINITI HEAD OF DESIGN, SAYING: "The bench is back as we said.

One of the things you will see is the flat floor, the flat floor and a slightly more elevated vehicle has an amazing thing I find, you can enter the car in a different way, you don't have to put your foot above a volume here, you can slide into it, you can kind of comfortably sit into it... the seat in the center can become just as valuable as the seats on the other side." The idea of a car being able to drive itself with autonomous technology adds even more possibilities.

That's because designers can now consider a future where driving is accident-free.

(Soundbite) (English) NORI SHIROUZOU, REUTERS SENIOR AUTO CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "What you get is basically an accident-free car which means if you assume no accidents, there's no safety equipment in the car, so you can shape this car in a cube, or in a pod, or any shape, futuristic shape that is.

So that's also possible in the end." A future of digital driving, where your ride might start to feel less like the car of today and more like the living room of tomorrow.

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