Media days for CES 2019 has started and the first auto maker on stage is Byton. The Chinese-backed startup unveiled an all-electric level 3 autonomous SUV at CES in 2018 and promised it would be ready by the end of 2019.
This year at CES, they reaffirmed their commitment to deliver the car they call the M-Byte by the end of 2019. They secured a license in China to build the car in Nanjing. The plant will be completed by May 2019 and can produce 300,000 cars. They have already built 100 prototypes for testing and will be opening a retail store in Shanghai in June 2019.
They made a lot of progress on the development of the M-Byte over the past 12 months. There will be two models of the M-Byte. A premium version will have a bigger battery and can go 514 km on a single charge with a 95 kwh capacity. They brag that the car can recharge to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes. The price of the standard model starts at $45,000 USD. Byton claims that all the technology is future-proof. The car will work with the new 5G telecommunications standard and support level 3 autonomous drive features such as adaptive cruise.
The leaders at Byton mostly demonstrated their digital first mindset that went into the design and development of this vehicle. It is designed to integrate a user’s digital lifestyle into the fundamental infrastructure of transportation. Their digital platform in the cloud is known as Byton Life. All owners of the Byton will receive a Byton ID for access to Byton Life. It is designed to be the hub of all things digital in your life. The more data points you can provide to the Byton hub, the more services and meaningful experiences it can offer. For example, the Byton can suggest restaurants based on your favorite food. If there is more than one passenger, it can even find restaurants to fit everyone’s personal taste. At the press conference, they announced a deep partnership with Amazon to provide core artificial intelligence for the digital hub. Byton assures the ultimate security for your personal information as they have employed an award-winning security team after having won the prestigious DEFCON Black Badge Award.
The Byton team showed in detail the user experience they developed inside the car. It has a 48” curved display which is equivalent to 7 tablets that makes up the digital dashboard. There is a screen on the steering wheel that remains stationary. You can pinch to zoom and control data displayed right from the steering wheel. There is also an 8-inch touch pad between the driver and front passenger. This screen is primarily used by the passenger to send text messages or change the music. Rear passengers each have a screen as well. All the displays are crisp and color rich. Critics have said all these screens represent a huge distraction but the Byton team reassured everyone that the experience has been designed with safety in mind and compliant with all auto regulations worldwide.
In addition to the M-Byte, they also showcased the K-Byte at CES. It is to be a luxury sedan but will not be released until the M-Byte is widely available. The K-Byte is designed to support higher levels of autonomy so that everyone can be productive in the car. The picture below shows extra LIDAR and cameras on the top and sides of the vehicle.
It appears that 2019 will be a very exciting year for Byton. Can’t wait to see what the end product will reveal.
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