Electric vehicle startup Byton has unveiled its new K-Byte concept at a special event in Shanghai. Designed to preview a 2021 production model, the K-Byte is being billed as a sporty sedan specially made for the “age of autonomous driving.”
The model will be shown at CES Asia later this week and it features a streamlined appearance with a distinctive front fascia and slender LED lighting units. We can also see a relatively large greenhouse and flying rear buttresses which help to improve the car’s aerodynamics.
Getting back to the autonomous driving bit, the K-Byte has integrated and retractable sensors that “strike a fine balance between aesthetics and real-world practicality.”
The most notable are the retractable “LiGuards” which are lidar sensors that are located on the front fenders. They are automatically deployed when autonomous driving mode is selected and they retract when the vehicle is being parked. The sensors are also equipped with lights which can be “illuminated for a range of specific purposes, such as signaling pedestrians.”
Besides the side-mounted sensors, the concept has a roof-mounted LiBow system which features front and rear facing lidar sensors. With all four sensors deployed, the car has a full panoramic view of its surroundings.
The sensors aren’t just for show as Byton has partnered with Aurora to develop a Level 4 semi-autonomous driving system. The two companies expect to have a fleet of Level 4 prototypes ready for testing by the end of 2020. Byton says this will pave the way for introducing the technology on mainstream vehicles.
Byton didn’t release technical specifications but the company confirmed it will use the “Byte” name on its three upcoming models. Furthermore, the company announced its crossover concept has been renamed the M-Byte.
In a statement, Byton president Dr. Daniel Kirchert said “The K-Byte concept shows that we can deliver our platform in different shapes and with different features to suit different lifestyles.” He went on to say “We are fully confident that we will meet our commitment to deliver the sedan to market in 2021.”