Peugeot’s Design Boss on The Past and The Future

The next big things Following fashion’s lead

Gilles Vidal, head of Peugeot design, on what car makers can learn from luxury brands

> DIFFERENTIATION AND brand strategy is a big thing at PSA. Thierry Metroz [at DS], Alex Malval [Citroën], Mark Adams [Vauxhall/Opel] and I meet very often and show each other our future projects, our future design trends, our future design DNA.
> IF BY mistake, or by luck mixed with mistake, an idea would look similar to someone else’s idea, we talk about how we move this to an even more Peugeot thing or an even more DS thing, or who stops what to let the other one do it.
> WHAT COUNTS more than anything is what a brand stands for, and what are its codes.

New Ford Focus vs New Crash Test Rules

Reborn hatch punches above its weight in tougher, techier tests.

A CAR’S CRASH TEST performance is a matter of life and death, which safety body Euro NCAP has spent more than two decades assessing in its ever-evolving mission to raise standards. Its focus is increasingly turning to active safety: driver assistance technologies that aim to avoid a crash in the first place. New tests introduced for 2018 assess automated emergency braking systems, pedestrian and cyclist detection and lane-keeping devices.

The current Ford Focus is the biggest-selling UK car so far subjected to these 2018 regs. Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen notes: ‘The Focus delivers a very balanced package of driver assistance technologies,

Does it work? Mercedes Energizing Comfort

HOW THIS IS something a little bizarre to be doing while driving: vigorous muscle stretches. Mercedes’ Energizing Comfort system, which first debuted on the S-Class, interconnects various functions in the cockpit such as the air-con, fragrancing, audio and seat heating/cooling/massage functions to help boost the comfort of its occupants or even change their mood.

Depending on which Mercedes you have, there are up to six programmes: Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Com-fort and Training. That’s Training as in a personal trainer of sorts: a voice sug-gesting muscle-stretching techniques to activate, relax or bring ‘balance’ to your body.
We tested it using an AMG E53 Coupe fitted with Freshness and Vitality programmes that tweaked the fragrance, audio and airflow, plus Training. (The car wasn’t fitted with massaging seats, without which you can’t get the Joy and Comfort programmes.)

Inside Formula E’s Next-Generation Cars

Formula E’s Brave New World

In comes a glut of works teams, faster cars and no more embarrassing mid-race car swap. Formula E just got serious.

THIS IS WHEN it really gets interesting. Formula E has been around for four years now, but the imminent fifth season marks a step change in its technical intrigue. A radical new chassis and aero kit means Gen 2’s cars will certainly look quicker, while freer regulations mean they’ll actually be faster, too – and their batteries will last an entire race.

With 22 cars on the grid, more manufacturer support than ever and an increasingly high-profile driver line-up, this is when Formula E starts to look like a serious alternative to F1.

The Next Big Things: Why AI Changes Everything?

Merc R&D chief Ola Källenius on why artificial intelligence doesn’t mean the robots taking over

> IN MY job, you tend to be a technology optimist by definition. On the cusp of this knowledge society, supported by AI, job profiles will change and companies and individuals alike will have to adapt.

> IF WE keep that mindset, I believe there will be an explosion of new areas to be explored within the realms of technological possibility.

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