Nissan Xmotion concept blends sci-fi and serenity – and includes a fish friend

Nissan has a brand new concept vehicle it unveiled at CES this year, called the ‘Xmotion.’ The crossover SUV concept vehicle features sleek exterior lines with sharp angles to accentuate details like the headlights, and inside blends touchscreen displays, innovative control mechanisms and spare accents to provide a look that’s both futuristic, and strangely rural and relaxing.

The Xmotion’s exterior was inspired by combining traditional Japanese nature views like Mt. Fuji with the electric and modern surrounds of the city, per Nissan, and it feels like something that would be at home in Blade Runner as well as in modern Tokyo.

While the exterior is interesting, most of what’s novel about this vehicle is happening on the inside. That includes a virtual assistant that’s embodied as a virtual koi on the in-car displays. The koi swims between the console and a middle-mounted armrest touchscreen, and can do things like intelligently program the interior cabin conditions, music and more based on the destination and user preferences. The virtual assistant will also contribute heavily while the car is engaged in autonomous mode, providing ample information about the current route and potential stopovers while switching lanes and handling driving duties.

Screens are prominent parts of the interior overall, and cameras mounted around the vehicle feed imagery to these displays in place of traditional mirrors.

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Nissan is focusing on opening up the interior as much as possible here, too. The bucket seats have plenty of available rotation for use while in self-driving, and there’s a continuous, single console that extends from front to back to provide interior continuity between front and back passengers, and to evoke a kind of internal “river” within the cabin.

Atop this console, there’s also the new “floating commander,” which monitors for movement and can even sense gestures in order to translate those into controls for things like the cabin lighting and air conditioning.

Futuristic concepts are, in the end, just that – concepts. But this looks like a natural progression of a lot of the trends we’ve been seeing in the auto industry in general, so I wouldn’t bet against seeing this kind of stuff in production cars in the near future. Plus, I really just want a virtual fish to guide my driving experience.