To a limited in-person audience, CEO Mary Barra took the Las Vegas Convention Center stage and shared GM’s vision for being the industry leader in autonomous vehicles, or AV. She referred to Cadillac’s Halo Concept portfolio, which had been introduced at the previous CES, and then turned it over to the global design VP of GM, who spoke in a video about the new InnerSpace concept.
Cadillac’s InnerSpace concept takes its place in a lineup that, much like Nissan’s futuristic Ambition 2030 strategy, sports compound names (“Chill-Out, “Surf-Out,” etc.) and a total lack of hard edges. The other vehicles in the Halo Concept go by the names PersonalSpace and SocialSpace, which appear to refer to their possible future purposes.
PersonalSpace is kind of a helicopter drone combo, a traveling one-person pod in which one can soar from a meeting in Beverly Hills to a meeting in Downtown LA. It’s a mark of the post-2020 world that this use case feels quaint.
SocialSpace defies all beauty standards by making symmetry stressful. This hefty tank, though beautifully designed, looks more bunker-in-nuclear-holocaust than comfy traveling minibar. Taken all at once the Halo Concept is gorgeous but eerie, and feels a little bit inevitable, especially if you’ve spent any time watching movies about future (dystopian) cityscapes.
The InnerSpace is the most approachable of the three concepts that have been presented so far by GM. It is basically a Cadillac sedan, ironed flat into a sexy roadster-ish thing that a panther might confuse for a cousin. The vertical windshield is passé in this concept, as are rear view mirrors.
The exterior is eye-catching, but it’s the interior that puts the Inner in Space. Where a driver and a passenger seat once foolishly sat, divided by a gear shift or a compartment full of used gum wrappers, there is instead a luxurious cabin with two squishy chairs placed so close together they are practically a loveseat. Impossible to escape for these two (hopefully) lovers is an enormous wraparound screen, onto which they can project their hopes and dreams, but only if they come in one of three modes: augmented reality, entertainment, or wellness recovery.
The biggest omission for the control freaks among us? No steering wheel. Your EV is an AV, and you’re not the autonomous one.
Once the InnerSpace debuts, however, we can look forward to a whole new kind of transportation—and some rewrites to at least one famous song: new possible titles include, “Jesus, Take the LED Screen.”