Peugeot's Instinct concept vehicle has active driving and autonomous modes

At the Geneva Motor Show from March 9, Peugeot will be offering a glimpse into the future of mobility with its "Instinct" concept vehicle, a unique Shooting Brake which offers the option of fully autonomous driving or driver control.

I generally hate concept cars are they are mostly unimplementable designs that won't ever make their way to a commercial vehicle. We are creating new forms of driving pleasure. But with a plug-in hybrid powerplant and 297bhp to play with, enthusiasts might prefer "Drive Boost" mode, while "Drive Relax" is on hand for when you still want control, but aren't in a hurry.

The Instinct is programmed with four distinct driving settings.

Peugeot concept designer Matthias Hossann said that while this model won't make production, the intention was to create a auto "that didn't look like a UFO" and was genuinely usable as a family vehicle. Rather than having two modes - you drive and the auto drives - Peugeot's concept lets the driver decide exactly how much control the vehicle should have, from none, all the way up to level five full-autonomy.

On board technology includes the Samsung Artik Cloud IoT platform, which syncs with the user's devices. This is meant to seamlessly sync with passengers' devices, learning their preferences and routines, right down to their favourite lighting conditions and audio settings. Passengers can also all communicate with the vehicle via a chatbot, a speech-driven personal assistant offering a vast array of services, including booking cinema tickets or buying online.

The auto can also account for real-time traffic conditions. Here, though, it's optimised to support autonomous driving. In Peugeot's vision of autonomy, the driver remains fully in charge of the vehicle and can choose between hands-on or autonomous driving.

The car's autonomous systems are fed data from cameras integrated with the LED headlamps, which scan the road ahead for obstacles and hazards. When the auto is driving itself, the wheel and control panel fold into the dashboard, with the accelerator also tucking away to max extra lounging space. Last year, product boss Laurent Blanchent told Autocar that it would introduce a greater level of autonomy across its range by 2020, and confirmed that the technology would work in the auto maker's existing platforms. However, the Instinct has not been officially linked to any new Peugeot that might be in the pipeline.

The Instinct demonstrates technology related to level five autonomy - the highest level of autonomy on a vehicle - meaning it can equal a human driver in every driving scenario.

The cabin itself - dubbed Responsive i-Cockpit - has an adjustable dashboard which switches modes based on whether the auto is in Drive or Autonomous. It also seeks to express the car's dual role - changing from a focused cockpit to somewhere the driver can relax when autonomous mode is engaged.

  • Carolyn Briggs