In the future, will mechanic colleges take a bit longer to complete because you’ll need to get your medical license after you complete your auto technician training? Will auto sales college offer a course in how to sell aircraft? In 2029, this may be the case if Infiniti’s car racing concept – Synaptiq – gets off the ground…literally.
Infiniti’s San Diego team submitted the Synaptiq to the design contest at this year’s LA Auto Show and won the People’s Choice Award. Contestants were asked to address the issue of how humans will interact with cars in the future, and Infiniti came up with quite a unique answer.
Whatever SUITs the Driver
With the Synaptic, there are no seats. Instead, the driver puts on Symbiotic User Interface Technology (or SUIT) which has “bio-synthetic muscle” to support the body’s ergonomic needs. The SUIT attaches to the driver’s spine directly, which allows him or her to control the vehicle using biofeedback and personal driving history, which is communicated via the cockpit. It also provides an enhanced reality display via liquid canopies – kind of like a dashboard display and windshield.
The suit can be connected to three different vehicles for three different racing environments. There’s a standard F1-style race car for what they call “circuit,” an off-road vehicle for what they call “rally” and when it comes to the third type of race, air, the driver gets to fly a mini-aircraft!
There’s Already a Race Course
What good is a new type of racer without a race course for it to compete on? Well, the good folks at Infiniti thought of that, too and conceptualized one for us.
It’s a loop, sort of, that starts and finishes in Los Angeles. The first leg is by race car on road and goes from LA to Las Vegas. Then, the SUIT is docked for some off-roading all the way to the Grand Canyon. Finally, the cockpit is docked with a light aircraft and it’s an air race back to LA.
Infiniti also made a fantasy demo of the Synaptic in action on the race course. Have a look:
Will This Be Real Someday?
As cool as this looks and sounds, you’ve got to wonder if it’s even possible by 2029. That’s only 15 years away, and while that may seem like a long time, remember that Back to the Future predicted flying cars and hoverboards by 2015 – and while there’s still a bit of time, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see them next year.
Infiniti, for their part, found it important to clearly iterate that this is not, in any way, in the development stages. The company’s interior design manager John Sahs admitted to autonews.com that this is probably closer to science fiction, but added that sci fi “always has some vision of what the future could become, so who knows. Maybe there’s an engineer out there working at a tech center who will be inspired by this.”
What do you think? Is this the way we’ll be driving cars in the next couple of decades?