In the future when you need to travel, instead of driving a car yourself, you could kick back and read Batman comics as the vehicle drives you autonomously. That’s the concept introduced by a Dark Knight-themed concept car shown off by Intel and Warner Bros this year at CES 2019.
The car is part transport vehicle, part theme ride. The exterior is a retrofitted 2019 BMW X5 with autonomous driving technology that looks roughly like a regular car you would see on the street. But when you step inside, instead of the typical car interior passengers are transported to the world of Gotham.
The inside of the car is stuffed full of technology like a huge TV screen, projectors, mobile devices, sensory and haptic feedback, and audio and lights, which can be used to create an immersive entertainment experience.
Passengers are introduced to the ride by dependable British butler Alfred Pennyworth, who narrates the experience and introduces the features of the car through five Batman-themed chapters. The first chapter is an introduction to the setting of Gotham City, shown through cabin illumination and images projected on the car’s windows. The images move past the windows to give the impression of the car being in motion. Then the comic book reader feature is shown off, with panels of Batman fighting Killer Croc appearing on screens around the passenger to demonstrate how route changes can be indicated to passengers when riding in the car.
The third chapter of the ride shows the safety features of the car with the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) system which keeps a 360-degree view around the vehicle for safety monitoring. The fourth chapter demonstrates what is sure to be one of the most popular features — the ability to watch movies on the massive screen, adapted for 270-degree viewing — by showing the trailer for the new Aquaman movie. And then for the last chapter, passengers are given information about their trip and the destination.
The car isn’t quite Batmobile-worthy just yet — it doesn’t have an ejector seat or machine guns, for starters — but it is a taste of what future car rides could look like.