It's only fitting that Chrysler, the company that essentially invented the USA concept of the minivan, should use one as the basis for its autonomous auto, especially as it's aimed at drivers who are now being chauffeured to school or sports practice in something very similar. The name comes from the huge opening revealed by the two doors that slide in opposite directions, or maybe there's a more hi-tech meaning to the word "Portal".
The concept is 20 inches shorter than the Pacifica, but it offers space for six passengers on thin seats mounted on rails.
The unique exterior design is characterized by the use of doors with large windows, nicknamed "portals" by Chrysler.
FCA says the Portal concept was designed with millenials in mind, especially those that have families.
The driver can be a passenger some of the time thanks to a suite of cameras, radar, Lidar, and ultrasonic sensors, plus high-definition maps augmented by Global Positioning System and car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications that enable Level 3 autonomy, which allows the Portal to drive itself on some highways with human supervision.
Range isn't the vehicle's only impressive feature, though. For clarity, Level 5 autonomy removes the driver's input altogether. Cameras in the dash are capable of facial recognition and can prompt the system to adapt any setting to the driver's profile.
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The Portal also packs semi-autonomous driving technology, apparently with the capacity for a near-full-autonomy upgrade when it becomes available. or legal, for that matter.
The Portal has a lot of bells and whistles, such as docking stations for tablets and vehicle-to-vehicle communication capabilities.
The vehicle is equipped with sensor technologies (LIDAR/radar/sonar/vision) that constantly monitor conditions outside and inside the vehicle.
And as people's needs change with time, so will the Portal.
The Portal concept was created in collaboration with supplier partners, including Adient, Magneti Marelli, Panasonic Automotive and Samsung Electronics Co.
Being a Millennial, I'm not sure a one-box minivan would be my first choice of vehicle, but then again, I was taken back by how much I liked Chrysler's own Pacifica.