Last week Chinese automaker, Build Your Dreams (BYD) brought to market the first remote-driving-enabled 5-seat, family sedan.
BYD calls this sedan the “Su Rui” (pronounced “suri”). Consumer sales launched in Beijing with prices starting a little below 65,900 yuan ($10,365) for the 1.5-liter base model and up to 99,900 yuan ($15,710) for the 1.5 turbo-charged version (TID).
When powered by the higher-performance powertrain, BYD says the turbocharged, direct-injection Su Rui with a dual-clutch transmission can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 8.9 seconds. This powertrain is rated at 154 horsepower (113 kilowatts) at 5,200 rpm. Gear changes are made in less than 0.2 seconds and the Su Rui is said to offer fuel economy of over 36 mpg (or 6.5l/100km).
But what about that remote-driving feature? Not quite ready to go head-to-head with Google’s fleet of autonomous cars that need no driver whatsoever, BYD’s Su Rui is nonetheless, according to BYD, the only product in its class with Remote Driving Control technology.
The automaker says this feature is highly practical for Chinese consumers who are faced with daily parking constraints – where even the mirrors touch vehicle-to-vehicle – and allows for assisted passenger pick-up from shared parking during inclement weather. Further evidence of the need is that over 80 percent of Chinese live in apartment complexes or multi-dwelling units and don’t own their own garage for private parking.
Vehicle starting, stopping and steering control is accomplished with a control unit no larger than a standard smart-key fob. In a range of 10 meters (around 30 feet), the driver can start the car, move it forward and back, turn left and right, all this at a restricted speed of 1.2 mph (2 kph).
The car’s climate control system can also be controlled via the remote device.
BYD’s Remote Driving Control technology won the “Best Leading Science and Technology in the 2012 Beijing Auto Show” this April. BYD announced the coming sales of sedans enabled with this technology at the show and true to its word, has moved very quickly to mass-production.
The Su Rui also incorporates high-tech intelligent devices including high-security and entertainment, the Bosch 9th Generation electronic stability programming, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic parking brakes, blind spot visibility systems, color reversing video surveillance systems, remote control power windows, 13 types of intelligent voice guides and a 5.1 channel, 10-speaker sound system with independent power amplification for in-car cinema experience.