NIO (the new name for NextEV) has just announced that Eve, their prototype self driving car, will be launched in 2020. This car starts to hint at the ways that a car primarily designed as a self driving car will look. The car is focused primarily on the occupants and their entertainment. The US CEO described the vehicle as both a companion, and a mobile living area.
This shift in design focus, and the move to electric drive train, means that a different skill set is required for production. Car companies of the future will be places where machine learning, computing, electrical storage and power are more critical to success than traditional automotive skills. The US CEO, Padmasree Warrior, was previously CTO at Motorola and Cisco - and it was her tech and telecoms (and not automotive)background that meant she was selected as the right leader for NIO in the US.
Chinese-backed car manufacturer NIO showcased its EP9 electric supercar last November in London, but this weekend at SXSW, the company unveiled its concept consumer autonomous vehicle, the NIO EVE. NIO used to be known as NextEV, and is backed by a number of Chinese venture capital firms, and has hired people from companies such as Tesla, Ford, and Lyft. Just a concept at this stage, the EVE is a look at what the company feels will be future of autonomous vehicles. Designed for regular commuting or longer road trips, the car’s designers focused on the seating areas and interior functions for the passengers. US CEO Padmasree Warrior described the vehicle as a companion and a mobile living area that will take people from place to place.