This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Volkswagen's Self-Driving Hippie Van Looks Totally Groovy

Volkswagen took the wraps off its I.D. Buzz concept microbus on Sunday, and it looks radical. Described as “a Microbus for a new era,” the zero-emission, all-electric vehicle takes the stylings of the classic sixties icon and upgrades it for a whole new generation. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volkswagen explained that the concept represents the company’s all-electric ambitions, with the end goal of selling one million next-generation electric cars by the year 2025.

It might look like some sort of retro-future mashup, but make no mistake: the I.D. Buzz’s underpinnings represent the cutting-edge in modern technology. The car has a driving range of 270 miles between recharges, a heads-up displays projects information through augmented reality, and a center console tablet provides entertainment through Bluetooth-connected speakers.

But perhaps the most impressive bit of tech comes from the car’s fully autonomous driving capabilities. Press down on the steering wheel, and it will retract into the dashboard and enter “I.D. Pilot” mode. Lasers, radar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras all communicate with the cloud to drive the vehicle, and the lighting switches to warm, ambient mode so the front passengers can turn around and relax with their friends. In driving mode, even the steering wheel itself is futuristic: it’s more of a giant touch control, which the driver can use for turn signals and other basic functions.

Article continues below

Elon Musk is pushing the boundaries of where we can go and what we can do. Don't miss a beat by signing up for Musk Reads, our weekly newsletter about all things SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company.

That interior is going to be huge, thanks to some engineering trickery based on the modular electric drive kit. The 111kWh battery located under the floor is capable of charging to 80 percent capacity in around half an hour, while its long 129.9 inch wheelbase helps with cornering ability. None of this compromises on power, though: the I.D. Buzz can accelerate 0 to 60mph in five seconds.

“The I.D. BUZZ is not a retro design on 22-inch wheels; rather, we have taken the logical next step forward in development using what is in all likelihood the most successful design of its kind in the world,” Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s head of design, said in a statement.

The car is capable of recognizing who is in the car using a digital key stored on the smartphone. It senses when you get near the door, opens it before you arrive, and even remembers your air conditioning settings and favorite radio stations. Using the central tablet, users can change entertainment settings and even input intermediate destinations into the routing system.

The vehicle is just a concept, but Volkswagen seems cautiously optimistic that some of the car’s biggest features could appear in less than a decade’s time. The “I.D. Pilot” mode, for example, “could make it into production by 2025.” That’s a pretty bold timeline: while Tesla seems to think full autonomy is possible by the end of the year, one Toyota executive thinks full autonomy is years away.

Either way, it’s clear Volkswagen has some big ideas for how to revive some of its most iconic designs for the future.

Media via Volkswagen

Galaxy Fold: Samsung's Folding Smartphone Could Mount a Surprising Comeback

You may be able to pick up a working Fold this year after all.

Samsung’s first foldable phone’s initial launch was a face-plant. The $1,980 Galaxy Fold, originally supposed to hit shelves in the United States on April 26, flopped instantly as many of the review units sent to reporters and YouTubers broke after a few days of use.

A now-deleted iFixIt teardown of the device revealed the central problem: The Fold’s screen protector simply did not prevent dust and debris from getting underneath. That left many with the impression that the age of the foldable smartphone was yet to come, though it now looks like Samsung may have been able to resolve the Fold’s issues much faster than expected.

Neuralink: 6 Things We Learned From Elon Musk's Brain-Powered Reveal

The machine linkup could pave the way for safer A.I.

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s ambitious project to wire up the brain to computers, stepped out of the shadows Tuesday evening.

In a detail-laden presentation at the California Academy of Sciences’ Morrison Planetarium, the tech entrepreneur explained how his foray into brain-machine interfaces could pave the way for a symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence.

PS5: Patent Filings Detail Sony's Plan to Make a Breakthrough VR Headset

Sony has groundbreaking VR plans in its future.

Virtual reality has been a fixture of the PlayStation 4 since Sony launched PlayStation VR in 2016, whose hardware attachments let gamers transform their console into full-fledged VR rigs. Rumor has it that, VR-wise, the PS 5 will follow in its predecessor’s footsteps.

Sony has already confirmed that its next-generation console will be compatible with current PSVR hardware, but it’s also clear that the entertainment giant has much bigger plans for VR further down the line.

Nintendo Switch vs. Switch Lite: Release Date, Pros and Cons, Which to Get

Two consoles for two distinct types of gamers. 

Two years after the first Nintendo Switch, the Japanese gaming giant unveiled the next chapter for its widely popular hybrid console. The Switch Lite, announced Wednesday, will fall somewhere between the original gaming system and its 2013 Nintendo 2DS, giving shoppers not one, but two Switches to choose from during the holiday spending season.

PS5: Price, Release Date, Specs, and Features for Sony's VR-Ready War Horse

Console gaming will reach heights never though possible.

The current generation of consoles is about to pass the torch. Sony has already revealed a great deal about the war horse it will ride into battle against the Xbox Scarlett consoles. The PlayStation 5 will tout PC-caliber graphics capabilities, and possibly come with a wireless virtual reality headset to take console gaming to new heights. But many crucial details about the PS5 remain unclear.