You’ll Never Be Lonely In The Nissan IMQ Concept; It Can Project A 3D Avatar In The Passenger Seat

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Never one to be left out of the future of electrified mobility and automated driving technology, Nissan revealed its IMQ concept at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday. It demonstrates Nissan’s future of midsize crossovers for the European market.

First off, Nissan says the IMQ “blends Japanese heritage with state-of-the-art, human-centric technology.” The release never expands on what part of Japanese heritage IMQ embodies, however. From where I am sitting it looks awfully similar to a Mazda, though. So, cheekily, I am going to assume that is what they’re referring to.

Future Tech Or Just Dreaming?

Is this a glimpse of future Nissan products or is it just an exercise for designers to play around with different elements?

 

Regardless of its striking similarity to its home-country rival, the IMQ is intended to seamlessly blend the interior with the exterior. The doors are hinged at the edge like barn doors. When opened, it’s easier to imagine the seamless interior/exterior design concept—especially when you spy the four independent seats floating on single carbon fiber posts.

A massive 33-inch screen dominates the dashboard. A second, smaller screen, called the Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA), sits in the center of the ergonomic steering wheel. From that screen the driver can control certain functions, including navigation.

The Great Indoors

The auto industry has been using the floating seat cliche in concept cars for several decades now, it might be time to deliver on these or try something more attainable.

 

Perhaps the coolest slash oddest thing about the IMQ is its ‘Invisible-2-Visible’ (I2V) technology. This system augments reality to allow the driver to virtually see around corners to avoid traffic jams.

What’s more I2V can also project a 3D avatar into the passenger seat. That way the driver is never lonely.

If I’m honest, this is simultaneously both the most intriguing and depressing thing I’ve probably ever read in an automaker’s press release. So, kudos, Nissan.

Not Just For Virtual Driving

The presence of a steering wheel should offer some hope that Nissan still sees humans having the option of controlling the car.

 

Keeping the IMQ, driver, and virtual best friend planted to the pavement is a set of Bridgestone Connect tires wrapped around 22-inch wheels. These tires can send information the driver in the VPA, including tire load, pressure and temperature, grip level, wear, and tire health.

These smart tires are each turned by their own dedicated electric motor, which are apart of the IMQ’s next-generation e-POWER all-wheel drive system. Power comes from the e-POWER system and an onboard 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.

IMQ also boasts the brand’s ProPILOT driving assistance system capable of enhanced automated driving. Unfortunately, Nissan doesn’t specify what level of autonomy IMQ’s ProPILOT is capable of.

Your Car, Your Friend

The roofline is attractive, but if Nissan really wants people to drive it, some larger windows would certainly help out with visibility.

 

As much as I want to praise the IMQ for its design and far-out augmented reality tech, I can’t help but feel like it’s too futuristic to commend. Yes, it might well point the way forward for future European-market Nissan crossovers—likely though, not much more than in roofline and perhaps powertrain.

I hate to say it, but the odds that you’ll have an augmented reality 3D avatar riding shotgun and keeping you company, while you two sing show tunes during traffic, seems highly unlikely. Nor do I think your tires are going to be texting your dashboard updates anytime soon.

So take the IMQ for what it is: a hybrid masquerading as an EV that can kind of drive itself with the exterior of a Mazda and an interior from Star Trek.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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