With the Buick Enspire crossover concept that debuted at this year’s Auto Shanghai, the GM brand set out to show the world how its forward-thinking ideas in engineering and design could carry it forward into the future. One of the cutting-edge features that could help it do so is a smart LED grille that can communicate with other commuters through light signals.
It seems unlikely that the grille in fact functions as a “grille” at all, as the 2018 Buick concept is powered by a new “eMotion” all-electric powertrain, meaning there’s no big, single central radiator like you’d find in any ICE-powered vehicle. Instead, that area is given over to a simple black panel with an embedded LED matrix that can send signals to pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers.
It’s unknown just what sort of driver actions the Buick Enspire might signal to other road users, but we can think of a few useful ones: when a stopped driver has taken their foot off the brake and is ready to start moving again, for instance, or when he or she has shifted from Drive to Reverse or Park.
Wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communications are, of course, inching their way toward production, which would render this Buick concept’s visual signaling system at least partly obsolete. But that technology is still years – perhaps decades – away from becoming ubiquitous, and of course, visual signals will always be useful to pedestrians.
About The 2018 Buick Enspire Concept
The Buick Enspire is a prototype crossover utility vehicle first shown at Auto Shanghai in April, 2018. Billed as “an exploration of Buick’s bold design ideas and innovative technologies for future mobility,” the concept boasts an all-electric Buick “eMotion” AWD powertrain, with a total peak output of 550 horsepower. That’s enough for a 0-to-60-mph sprint in an estimated 4.0 seconds, and a driving range of 370 miles on a single charge. Fast-charging can take the battery from 0- to 80-percent charge in 40 minutes.
Additional technologies previewed by the 2018 Buick Enspire concept include facial-recognition unlocking, an augmented-reality head-up display, a shock-absorbing structure in the seating, and smart OLED taillights that can communicate braking intensity to other drivers.
Stay tuned to GM Authority for more Buick Enspire news.