How Can Byton Possibly Sell Its 'Driver Tablet' In America?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
how can byton possibly sell its driver tablet in america

Chinese automaker Byton wowed the world when it introduced a concept vehicle playing host to more interior screen space than seemed wise. Both the K and M-Byte Concepts carried this trend through the past year by including a small interactive display inside the steering wheel.

At the time, we attributed the design as a fantastical inclusion meant to build hype for the burgeoning brand. But new details have emerged, indicating Byton wants to keep the concept interior all the way to assembly. According to CarScoops, a recent teaser image shows what’s rumored to be the production interior of the M-Byte, which makes its debut at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The manufacturer calls it the “world’s most intuitive automotive interface.”

I don’t know how to break this to Byton, but the “most intuitive automotive interface” probably won’t be a touchscreen. It will be a series of predictably orientated switches, knobs, and levers you don’t have to pause to examine with your eyes. However, the automaker seems adamant about keeping the Driver Tablet for the production model. How it plans to execute this concept without the omission of the driver’s side airbag is something we’d be interested in hearing.

From CarScoops:

Despite the similarities [to the concept vehicle], this model has a revised steering wheel which features an integrated screen that the company calls a “Driver Tablet.” As you can see in the teaser image, it provides easy access to commonly used features such as the radio and climate control system and also has icons for apps and settings.

More information re: the display is scheduled for release on January 6th. Meanwhile, Byton has already confirmed that the M-Byte will go into production for China this year.

Should the vehicle prove successful, and it looks as though it might be, the automaker plans to launch the base M-Byte in North America for 2020 with a $45,000 MSRP. That model uses a 71-kWh battery pack and produces produces 268 hp with 295 lb-ft of instantaneous torque through the rear wheels. There’s also an all-wheel drive variant with nearly double the power and an estimated range of around 320 miles.

Still, it seems awfully unlikely that Byton could ship either vehicle with the aforementioned Driver Tablet. Federal legislation makes airbags for all cars and light trucks sold inside the United States mandatory and we’ve no clue how the automaker could safely equip an airbag behind the screen. Our best guess is that U.S. buyers will have to go without Byton’s signature interior feature, with the company offering it as an optional extra elsewhere.

[Images: Byton]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 02, 2019

    First Byton is an Asian brand so I do not see why it may not sell in US. In Europe it may be problematic but in US - no problem. People buy stuff in Walmart don't they? Happily, all kind of stuff. Secondly airbag is an ultimate touch screen - it brings information directly into your face immediately.

  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Jan 05, 2019

    When my wife and I eat in a place with TV screens, she just can't help watching that light and motion, no matter what's on. I hope she never winds up driving one of these! The best thing about my new car is that it came with a button to turn the screen off, and that's how I drive it- always.

  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.
  • Kwik_Shift A manual bug eye WRX wagon (2001-03) would interest me more.
  • El scotto Ferrari develops a way to put a virtual car in real time traffic? Will it be multiple virtual players in a possible infinite number of real drivers in real time situations?This will be one of the greatest things ever or a niche video game.
  • El scotto It's said that many military regulations are written in blood. Every ship's wheel or aircraft joystick has a human hand on it at all times when a ship or aircraft are under power. Tanks, APC's and other ground vehicles probably operate under the same rules. Even with those regulations accidents still happen. There is no such thing as an unmanned autopilot, ever. Someone has to be on the stick at all times.I do not think MB understands what a sue-happy nation the USA is. The 1st leased MB in a wreck while this Type 3 "Semi-Autonomous" driving, or whatever it is called, will result in an automatic lawsuit. Expect a class action lawsuit after the 1st personal lawsuit is filed. Yes, new MB owners can afford and ever are lawyers.Mercedes Benz; "The best wrecks or nothing!" Oh and has anyone noticed that Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura, the gray suit with white shirt and striped tie, automobile companies have stayed away from any autonomous driving nonsense?
  • Merc190 Very streamlined but not distinctive enough for a Mercedes. And besides, the streetcar of the early 20th century seems a far more efficient and effective method of people moving in essentially an autonomous manner. A motor car is meant to be driven with proper attention to what's important in every situation. To design it otherwise is idiotic and contradictory.