Has the Future of Vehicle Tech Gotten a Step Closer?

Concept vehicles are known for promising great things, but Chrysler's "Portal," revealed at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, takes this to completely different level. From the outside, this minivan looked like an art piece or movie prop, but its unique design elements were what made people take notice. Hopefully, the automaker will implement the Portal's advanced features in production vehicles sooner rather than later.

Adaptable Seating 
Being able to slide front seats forward or back is nothing new. What the Portal does differently from other minivans is extend this mobility to all of the seats. Because the seat belts are also integrated into the seats, riders have additional flexibility of seating. Interestingly, drivers can fold the seats in multiple upright or flat configurations to redefine the interior space in whatever way suits their passengers and cargo load. 

Double Sliding Doors
One of the biggest wow factors that the Portal showed off at CES 2017 was its unique entry arrangement. The minivan is equipped with sliding doors in the front and back, which can facilitate easier access in tight spaces like city parking lots. As populated areas get more crowded, these kinds of functional design elements are sure to pop up in more vehicles.

Electric Drivetrain
This compact minivan is powered by a 100 kWh battery pack that drives a single motor. Although it's limited to around 250 miles of travel before needing a recharge, fast charger platforms can top off the vehicle in just 20 minutes. 

The floor-mounted battery and electric drive systems also mean that there's far more room inside the cabin for passengers and cargo. The increase in usable volume was significant enough that viewers at CES noted the difference even though the Portal was introduced with a smaller wheelbase than some other Chrysler models.

Self-driving Technology
Although some 
auto reviewers thought that the Chrysler Portal's SAE Level Three autonomous driving was gimmicky, it's certain to appeal to modern drivers regardless of their age. Not having to deal with the tedium of driving under highway conditions is definitely a plus that will interest those with kids and busy routines. Chrysler said that the front-wheel drive vehicle can also be upgraded to improve its autopilot capabilities.

Chrysler's Portal is packed with expansive LCD screens that display driver information, and the vehicle was clearly designed to cater to data-aware motorists. It contains 10 phone docking stations distributed around its interior, and the vehicle incorporates intelligent control technology. For instance, it can automatically recognize occupants' faces and voices to adjust its settings to the preferences of specific users. It even provides a wireless network that lets connected riders share digital content and media. 

The Portal may be a concept car for now, but it suggests a major shift in the way automakers are thinking. Stay up to date with what manufacturers are doing right by 
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