Cadillac unveiled its new InnerSpace concept before CES earlier this year, but the precarious public health situation didn’t allow us to see it in person. Cadillac tried to rectify that by inviting us to the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, to see this slick new coupe alongside the other two members of Cadillac’s Halo Concept Portfolio, the PersonalSpace and SocialSpace, both of which debuted at CES. a year ago.
And the boss chose me, of all people, to be the representative of Autoblog. Yes. It’s safe to say I’m a skeptic when it comes to self-driving cars, but if anyone at Cadillac knows that, they were polite enough not to question my presence as I walked into GM’s Design Dome and into the big, long , sexy coupe in the middle and said, “I like that. Tell me about it.” As it turned out, Cadillac’s design team had a lot to say.
1 – The body
Okay, that’s kind of a cop-out. The body isn’t really a feature, but look at this thing. The InnerSpace has to be the pinnacle of Cadillac’s Halo Concept family and it definitely looks good. This low-slung two-seater is massively massive in person; those are 27-inch wheels in the front; the rear tires are 28s. The stance is killer, especially when viewed from the back, which tapers almost to a single point.
Forget autonomy for a minute; this is a form that needs to be built, and these renderings don’t do it any justice.
2 – The sensory experience
Cadillac programmed the InnerSpace to provide what it calls “unique wellness experiences.” It may sound like a mix of pop psychology and yoga studio marketing, but it’s more like an AI-driven guru whose sole purpose is to make sure you’re having a good time. And Caddy takes it seriously. The interior of the InnerSpace is packed with sensors and monitoring systems that can do everything from monitoring your fatigue level to displaying your vital signs.
With the data it collects, the car can then fine-tune a perfect mix of light, sound and scent to maintain or even enhance your character. Keyed in? The InnerSpace can display soothing colors, play calming sounds and even pump relaxing scents into the interior. Falling asleep on the way to a big meeting? Flip the script.
3 – The screen
This 9-foot wraparound display panel is actually made up of an array of much smaller panels. It can show you the real world, a virtual one, or just about anything in between thanks to a mix of augmented reality, conventional streaming apps, and even a little gaming. The augmented reality display is made all the more dramatic as the screen extends beyond the main enclosing screen to a pair of smaller panels at the bottom of each door, more completely enveloping the passengers outwardly. In this AR mode, passengers watch the world go by with the ability to view information about the passing environment, from points of interest to educational tooltips.
Streaming is exactly what it sounds like, so we won’t dive deep into Netflix et al here, but the gaming corner is pretty cool. Because the InnerSpace is lined with sensors, a physical controller is not always necessary to interact with the software. Cadillac’s designers said it is possible to design a game that can only be controlled by the eye movements of the passengers. Look where you want your little digital plane to fly and it will fly there, in other words.
4 – The door handles
This one is a bit of a misnomer. The InnerSpace actually has no door handles. Instead, it has LED panels built into the door skin that display a unique animation (that’s those random squares in the top left image) that looks a lot like a moving QR code that the user scans (insert a PIN) with a smartphone. . Once this “handshake” is done, the InnerSpace opens up… fully.
The term “user” was intentional there, as Cadillac sees its Halo concepts as part of an ecosystem where individual car ownership is not the norm. This is part of the reason why the phone input makes sense. In Cadillac’s version of the future, you could be waiting for one of the many InnerSpaces to pick up riders along the way. As you probably know, customers are quite monotonous in their color choices. The app handshake guarantees you’ll get into the correct black Cadillac.
5 – The Cup Holders
No ultra-luxury vehicle is complete without some sort of beverage service, right? Trust me, I understand how sacrilegious it seems to a car enthusiast to be impressed by a drink retention system, but we’re talking about a hypothetical self-driving car, so sit back with us and enjoy a refreshing drink of whatever suits you. You don’t have to hold the glass; the InnerSpace has magnetic armrests and comes with a custom dispenser and set of glasses in a caddy (small c) that slides in and out of a cutout in the driver’s side door. The dispenser and glasses have magnetic feet that match the armrests, which in fact double as small side tables on either side of your reclining chair. Not bad, right?
Part of Cadillac’s wider Halo portfolio
The PersonalSpace VTOL drone and SocialSpace party bus are interesting in their own way, and we’ve looked at them both in the video, so check them out if you’re curious about either one. But in the end, the InnerSpace appeals to me the most because it feels plausible, and not in a 20-year-old way. Sedans and coupes may be as welcome in a showroom as a baby with cramps aboard a transoceanic flight, but when was the last time you saw an American personal luxury coupe design with so much gravitas? The answer is, of course, “2013”. If the future of autonomy looks like this, maybe I can be convinced.