ICONA NUCLEUS: The ultimate self-driving living room.

If you like your concept cars extra concept-y, then the Icona Nucleus should be your favourite vehicle on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year.  The fantastical car - complete with an autonomous, fuel cell electric power train - is really just an eye-catcher designed to advertise the work that the Icona design firm can. It is a massive slab of the future on wheels that’s supposed to represent a possible way to build a Level 5 autonomous vehicle.


Nucleus represents the synthesis of futurism and a human-centred mindset. It takes the Icona   Neo Concept one step further by reconsidering the very way that we use a vehicle. Neo introduced us to tomorrow; Nucleus will introduce us to after-tomorrow. The Icona Nucleus embodies Icona’s vision for the future of mobility.

First seen in 2015, the Icona Neo concept demonstrated a very tangible tomorrow for the electric vehicle. With its fully autonomous driving level five, the Nucleus jumps two generations ahead. Inside the vehicle, the absence of a driver does not only mean the absence of a steering wheel and a dashboard, but the opportunity for a new understanding of mobile living spaces, where the focus is no longer the road but the destination.


The mono-volume exterior is unlike any vehicle you have ever seen. The shape looks purposeful and beautiful. The profile and surfacing look as though the vehicle was shaped to move efficiently and quietly through the air. Being fully autonomous, there is no side glass in the traditional sense, rather semi-transparent body colour panels that allow the occupants to see out from the vehicle but remain shrouded for privacy while travelling.

The upper glass from the windscreen to the complete roof is asymmetrical, divided into fully transparent and semitransparent glass, giving a distinct visual cue that this vehicle is something truly different. The Icona Nucleus is a self-moving executive lounge: the body side is characterised by long elegant sculpting which emphasizes the luxury nature of the vehicle.

Like a protective bubble, the Nucleus protects and embraces its passengers, at the same time offering a stunning view of the outside, thanks to an extremely wide glass surface which constitutes the majority of the upper body.


Now that all occupants are passengers, the interaction and the individuality of their personal space become a priority. Individual preferences can be catered for, as seating arrangements are flexible. The road is there and can be seen, but it is no longer the focus of each and every passenger, as in a cinema. The design of the interior is meant to evoke past ideas of travelling, so there’s comfort and luxury, although the interior is also fully connected and can be tailored to suit each individual passenger’s wishes. Interactive displays, a mobile office and even a drinks bar are included.

The Nucleus can easily accommodate six people. Seats can be adjusted to different use, rotating to face the desk or the rear passengers in the front, strongly reclining to the rear and even transforming into a couch on centre. The large seats in the front and in the back make it as comfortable and cozy as a luxury living room. If you are heading to a five-star hotel, sitting in the Nucleus will make it seem as if you are already in your room. A small table and all necessary spaces and connections for a laptop are available, as well as a wet bar so that even the shortest trip can be effectively used for business or leisure.


Power comes from four in-wheel electric motors that produce a combined 592bhp. Power comes from a battery that can be recharged via a hydrogen hybrid system, and the Nucleus is designed to travel up to 740 miles between fills. Icona was founded by a former boss of design studio Bertone and a former chief designer at Nissan, and it has built a number of concept cars in its time, including one with titanium bodywork. But the Nucleus is its vision of an autonomous family car.


Technology should be felt but not seen and so a “less is more approach” has been used, resulting in a fluid and sculptural body that combines the needs of both aerodynamics and ergonomics. Beyond its technological innovation, Nucleus also shows us the future for the next generation of cars - a generation that aspires to be socially responsible through respect not only for the natural environment but also for the human environment. Mobility in after-tomorrow will be very different from today, with a large number of shared, self- driving, electric vehicles which will serve as an individual or small group shuttles between mass mobility infrastructure and large hub destinations. Yet, the future will remain multi-faceted and cars will continue to reflect your needs just like Icona Nucleus, the ultimate self-driving living room that’s truly different. “This car of course, is not the car of tomorrow, but the car after tomorrow,” Icona chairman and CEO, Teresio Gigi Gaudio said.      

           - Source: icona-designgroup.com