Byton Concept Car Includes 49-Inch Infotainment Display

The primary function of a car is to convey a passenger from from Point A to Point B. But the automobile also happens to be extremely well-suited for entertainment.

Take music, for example. Most people no longer have Hi-Fi systems in their homes and listen to music primarily through either headphones or small Bluetooth speakers.

Cars, on the other hand, have numerous speakers and can create a true surround sound experience that enhances the listening experience. Connected cars take the experience even further, with network connectivity-enabled location services that allow drivers and passengers to learn about the area they’re driving in.

There are, however, limitations.

One is the size of the screen mounted in a vehicle’s dashboard. While home TVs have grown ever larger, infotainment screens in cars, with the exception of Tesla, have remained rather small.

Byton, which is based in China, is looking to change that. The company introduced the Byton Concept at CES earlier this month, and one of the most noticeable features of the luxury car was its 49-inch “shared experience display” that spanned the entire dashboard from the left edge of the driver’s side to the right end of the passenger side.

The display screen serves as a massive infotainment center, allowing drivers to access navigation, communication or entertainment features — or, given the screen’s size and multi-function capabilities, all three at once.

The design goes above and beyond the traditional luxury vehicle, offering features and amenities that may seem more fitting in first-class air travel.

“Sit back, relax and feel at home,” reads the website for the concept car. “Inviting color concepts, luxury materials and traditional craftsmanship blend with flair to give a bespoke lounge experience. All our seats are designed to be individually adjustable so you can stay cozy at all times.”

Byton is currently manufacturing an intelligent electric car in Nanjing that will first be made available in China in 2019, and then in the US and Europe in 2020.

Subsequent vehicles expected from Byton include a sedan and a multi-purpose vehicle, which figure to include certain design elements from the Concept. While some of the vehicle’s more opulent features may seem excessive, they’re tailored to a specific market.

“Driving is not always very pleasureful in China, and most of the time you’re not moving,” Byton executive director of UI design Wolfram Luchner told Sean O’Kane of The Verge. “If you spend four or five hours a day in traffic, you’ll want these comforts.”

The Byton Concept is equipped with several other cool features.

The dashboard-spanning screen is joined by a small eight-inch screen mounted right into the center of the steering wheel. The Byton Life Cloud Platform can sync contacts, apps and files from your smartphone with the vehicle’s operating system. And keys aren’t even necessary, as facial recognition cameras can provide access to the vehicle.

Like all concept cars, the Byton Concept has design and operational elements that will likely never make it into a consumer vehicle. But the vehicle does show that China, which is emerging as an automotive power, particularly in the self-driving car space, isn’t content to just make cars that can function.

The country also wants to produce vehicles that look good, too.

And that will go a long way toward convincing consumers to shift allegiance from automaking countries like the US, Germany and Japan.

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