Buick Unveiled a New Flagship Car and a SmartPod Concept at Chinese Auto Show

Futuristic or plain artistic? You decide.
Ameya Paleja
The SmartPod concept as revealed by BuickBuick

American carmaker, Buick, has unveiled two new concept vehicles at the recently concluded Auto show in Guangzhou, China, CNET reported. Images released by the media outlet show that both designs are heavily inspired by science-fiction and we will have to wait to see how these roll out in production. 

Concept unveilings are great when they bring out a radically different thought process. Like this concept of a motorcycle that has a hole in the center.  There is a lot of intrigue about whether the design will work, how different will the prototype be, what innovations will be needed to make the design work among other things. But if you unveil a concept looks like the smoothened finish of a vehicle you already have in production, there isn't much to get excited about. 

This is the issue with the GL8 Flagship concept. Buick already sells the GL8 in China so the new concept does not look very different than what is already on the roads. One might point out to a differently styled-front grille and a more naturally flowing aerodynamic design. But again, these are concept renderings and the production vehicle might turn out quite different. 

The company is probably hoping to sell more of these cars on the luxury that it plans to provide on the inside and this is where much seems to be achievable. The rear seats appear to be replaced by a more comfortable lounge bench that has also inspired the front seats.  Between the two is enough room to place a tea tray to help you enjoy a warm drink while you enjoy your favorite music being played from speakers integrated into your headrests.

There is a massive 30-inch display in place of the console that occupies cars of today and the driver also has touch-screen functionality on the steering wheel. The company also hopes to integrate its proprietary autonomous driving tech into this car soon. However, that is unlikely to allow the driver to swivel in his seat and enjoy the tea, a privilege the navigator's seat enjoys. 

The other concept, SmartPod, is where Buick wants to get rid of the driver completely. Driven and controlled by artificial intelligence (AI), this Pod can be your caravan where you can sleep, work, play, watch a movie as it crisscrosses the country for you. With features like noise-cancellation and an air-purifying system, the SmartPod will take commands over voice to adjust the lights or play ambient sounds to help you relax after a hard day's work.

According to Motor1, Buick revealed that the SmartPod will be made up of sustainable materials and even use an electric propulsion system, something they did reveal for the GL8 as of now. But before you get your hopes up for the SmartPod, the vehicle is strictly a concept and Buick has no plans to take it to production any time soon. 

To summarize, the new vehicle concept does not seem to signal something radically futuristic or trying hard to appeal to our sense of aesthetics. 

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