Concepts from Cadillac focus on the journey

Industry

Cadillac’s vision for the future is a reputation based on the experience of the journey rather than the vehicle itself.

“We were designing cars, but now we design experiences,” Frank Saucedo, director of General Motors’ Advanced Design Studio in California, told Automotive News. “The technology is making this [customer] experience basically effortless.”

Cadillac showcased the latest addition to its Cadillac Halo Concept Portfolio during CES this week with the InnerSpace, a two-passenger autonomous, electric luxury concept vehicle that features nearly full views through a panoramic glass roof and part of the body sides and a massive LED display for augmented reality engagement, entertainment or wellness recovery.

Cadillac also teased the OpenSpace, a vehicle that gives passengers a place to stay while traveling. It plans to share more details on the OpenSpace this year.

The InnerSpace and OpenSpace build on two concepts Cadillac introduced at CES last year: the PersonalSpace, a vertical takeoff and landing one-seater designed to move above ground traffic, and the SocialSpace, an autonomous vehicle designed for up to six passengers to socialize and relax.

Saucedo calls the four concepts “technology beacons” for GM.

“Each one of these vehicles gives you a scenario for different types of experiences,” he said. “It’s another way for us to define the luxury experience.”

GM’s proprietary Ultium battery technology and Ultifi software platform power the concept vehicles, Saucedo said. The battery modules in the InnerSpace are distributed throughout the vehicle, allowing designers to optimize cabin space.

Ultifi would enable the personalization and wellness components, he said.

“The customer can interact with it, and that’s all driven through the Ultifi side,” Saucedo said.

A passenger en route to San Francisco may decide spontaneously to stop at wineries, he said, and the vehicle software could plan for a tour of some along the way.

“Without having that [Ultifi] platform, without feeding that into the vehicle, it’s just something that goes from point A to point B,” Saucedo said. “It’s gone from transportation and to experiential.”

GM is unlikely to build these exact concepts in the near future, but the technology could make its way to production vehicles, especially technology rooted in biometrics, Saucedo said.

“It’s a learning experience every time we build a concept car; it’s not frivolous,” he added. “If you have technology and don’t apply it, it’s wasted. This is a good way to do it.”

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