Harman International Shows Fiat How To Build A Much Smarter 500e

The Fiat 500e is famously known for the fact that FCA loses about $20,000 on each unit it sells.

It’s also not one of the most popular electric vehicles around, so Samsung-owned Harman International thought about giving it a tech upgrade. At CES 2019, the company brought a Fiat 500e concept that packs a stunning amount of technology for a retro-styled small car. Chief among them is a newly enhanced suite of sensing technologies that allow the car to monitor, record and assess its surroundings.

Highlights of the Fiat 500e study, which got converted into a roadster in the process, include a Camera Monitoring System that can augment or even replace physical mirrors.

Fusing three rear-facing cameras, corner radar, a long-range camera, as well as right and left sensors, the Camera Monitoring System looks behind the vehicle to enhance safety technologies such as blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear collision warning.

The car is also equipped with a Forward Facing Camera that senses the environment and enables “advanced perception algorithms for features such as lane, object and sign detection.” Thanks to integration with long-range radar (LiDAR), the system can detect vehicles ahead and maintain a safe distance while on the move.

It will monitor your heart rate, pupil diameter and even read your thoughts

The sophisticated Fiat 500e study also packs a Cabin Monitoring System that uses sensors to keep a close watch on the driver. It can capture the eye gaze, head position, and pupil diameter, among other things. The system can also analyze the heart or breathing rates of passengers “to provide second-order biometric signals such as emotional activity and cognitive load.” Basically, it will read the driver’s thoughts.

Why is that necessary? Well, Harman says driver monitoring will be critical to the success of Level 3 semi-autonomous vehicles in the future, as it will allow cars to assess whether the human is ready to take over driving duties.

Aside from the conversion into a roadster and the awesome wheels, this 500e features a reworked dashboard that includes two big screens: a “floating” touchscreen at the center and a wide digital instrument panel. Adopting the two screens results in a less cluttered center console which only houses the transmission buttons now.

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  • Mike anonymous

    I mean WOW. This actually looks good!. The interior (design and quality) is far more upscale and quite a bit better. I am also a fan of the ‘coupe/spyder-like’ design. FCA should really take some notes, this is impressive in my opinion at the least.

    I am currently not in the market for a vehicle like this. But, if I was, I certainly wouldn’t consider looking past this buy Harman version of the Fiat 500e. Well done Harman 👏,.. Well done.

    • Finkployd

      It’d be hard to commit less than you just did lol

    • Well I probably won’t buy it, but you’re right somehow feels unique and interesting.

  • Dude

    How on earth do they lose ~$20k on each one?

    *researching*

    It’s crazy. Now I see why Tesla is Tesla. It’s estimated that the Model 3 costs 70% of its sales price to build. They spend 30 bucks to make a rearview mirror while the Bolt’s (~$9k loss per car) costs $165.

  • I had to say that they made the 500e looks appealing, petrolheads won’t buy it for sure but I’m sure there are people outside that want it.

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