Mitsubishi Motors' HSR-VI Makes North American Debut
5 January 1998Mitsubishi Motors' HSR-VI Makes North American Debut
Concept Car Previews Automated Driving Technology for the Next Century DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- Mitsubishi Motors has long been known for its use of technology to create spirited and practical vehicles. Perhaps the ultimate representation of this philosophy, the automaker's HSR-VI concept car is a rolling test bed of future technologies that will help keep vehicle occupants safe, informed and comfortable. HSR-VI, the sixth generation of experimental concept cars which Mitsubishi Motors has developed since 1987, was devised to work with hypothetical traffic management systems of the future. It incorporates two different driving modes -- conventional and automated -- with additional technologies to maximize safety, performance, environmental concern, and information exchange. Automated Driving Technology HSR-VI's on-board computer takes information obtained from traffic control, along with laser radar and stereo-imaging sensors, to "drive" itself. HSR-VI is programmed to automatically take the most efficient route to avoid traffic jams, applying the brakes or moving to a clear traffic lane when an obstacle is detected. In the automated driving mode, HSR-VI drops to its lowest position, giving the car an overall height of just over four feet to improve aerodynamics and efficiency. In this position, HSR-VI's seats recline and the driving controls retract into the instrument panel, allowing its occupants additional comfort and room. Passengers can also use the HSR-VI's communication system to make phone calls, catch up with the news, send E-mail and browse the Internet. Conventional Driving Pleasure If the driver chooses, HSR-VI can be driven conventionally. The interior raises by approximately one foot to give the driver a panoramic view of the road similar to that of a sport utility vehicle. Yet, the accident avoidance technology that allows HSR-VI to operate in its automated mode remains functional. For example, if the driver enters a one-way street, exceeds the speed limit or fails to slow down at a stop light, HSR-VI will display a warning, sound an alarm and automatically apply the brakes. In lieu of conventional pedals, the HSR-VI is operated entirely by the steering wheel. Shaped like an airplane flight stick, the steering wheel incorporates the accelerator and brake levers, allowing precise and minute handling. To keep distractions to the driver at a minimum, the instrument panel displays only information which is necessary at any given time, and the climate controls and audio system are designed to be used with minimal interaction by the driver. If these systems determine that the driver is unfamiliar with the controls, instructions are automatically displayed. Advanced Safety Technology In addition to conventional safety features such as front and side air bags, HSR-VI incorporates many different systems to not only keep its passengers safe, but to avoid accidents to begin from the onset. HSR-VI is constructed with a rigid, extruded aluminum space frame covered by a polycarbonate material that is highly effective in absorbing impact energy in the event of an accident. In addition, this material is treated to cut ultraviolet rays to keep the cabin cooler. The windshield and side windows of HSR-VI are coated with a silicone-based resin that repels water in rainy conditions to maximize visibility; at speeds low enough that water does collect on the windshield, jet wipers shoot blasts of air to blow them away. HSR-VI's crystal headlamps are made of soft resin to provide greater brightness and a longer range than conventional units. In a quest to be as safe as possible, even HSR-VI's driver does not escape scrutiny. Cameras with infrared lights monitor the driver's blinking and eye movements -- day and night -- and will sound an alarm if the driver falls asleep or loses attention. Environmental Concern While vehicles of the future will take an even more aggressive approach to exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency, Mitsubishi Motors is addressing this challenge today. HSR-VI is powered by a 2.4-liter, DOHC 4-cylinder engine that employs Mitsubishi Motors' gasoline-direct injection (GDI) technology. GDI provides significantly more power and fuel efficiency, while reducing exhaust emissions, than a conventional engine of the same size. This futuristic engine is similar to the one currently used in several Mitsubishi Motors' vehicles currently being sold in Japan and Europe. In HSR-VI, the GDI engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission, combined with traction control, that automatically selects the appropriate drive ratio for any given moment. Ultimate Handling Technology Using what Mitsubishi Motors refers to as "All-Wheel Control," HSR-VI incorporates several different systems to enhance handling and traction. HSR-VI has Active Yaw Control (AYC) to balance traction among all four wheels, optimizing cornering performance by transferring torque to the left or right front and rear wheels. AYC improves steering accuracy without applying the brakes or reducing engine output, assuring the type of strong acceleration expected of an advanced vehicle of the future. In addition, HSR-VI controls cornering and braking by transferring power to the left or right as necessary. This sophisticated concept car has four-wheel steering to allow it to corner exactly as the driver wishes. In addition, HSR-VI has an electronically controlled suspension, improving cornering and ride comfort by automatically adjusting suspension damping and vehicle height. Vision of Tomorrow Without a doubt, the HSR-VI is a glimpse into the future of automotive technology. More than just a futuristic concept car, it previews real solutions for tomorrow's traffic patterns while providing passengers with the additional benefits of more efficient drive time, safety and performance. Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. was established in 1982 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Tokyo, and markets a full line of vehicles, including coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles. SOURCE Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc.