A silver Chrysler Halcyon concept car is shown parked at a Chrysler dealer.

Chrysler’s Halcyon Could Signal a High-Tech Future for the Brand

The pursuit of alternative fuel and tech-rich passenger vehicles is a never-ending one. Each automaker continues to push the boundaries on what they can achieve and what makes sense as a viable consumer option, all while trying to keep prices within the range of the average driver in America. It’s a tricky balancing act that is pushed by innovations that often make their first public appearance on avant-garde concept cars. We saw it in the past, and now we’re seeing something similar take shape with a new concept car called the Chrysler Halcyon.

What is the Halcyon, and what does it have to do with Chrysler’s future nameplates? Well, it has everything to do with the general direction that the company wants to take when it comes to alternative solutions, tech innovations, and autonomous driving. If even half of the more ambitious features that have been put forward in the Halcyon concept make their way to the market, it would surely bolster the appeal of just about every Chrysler dealer near and far alike, as shoppers from all over would be scrambling to buy vehicles featuring a few of these unique prospects. But what are they, and what do they entail?

Well, I’m going to go over some of the features that were outlined in the Halcyon concept video and then discuss what they could mean for future Chrysler nameplates and existing vehicles under the Chrysler umbrella. Some of these features are currently available in some shape or form, while others are a bit more far-fetched. Just because something seems far-fetched doesn’t mean it won’t make its way to the market, but let’s start with one that will not likely see the light of day any time soon.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality was one of the features in the promotional video, showcasing some neat pop-ups and visual displays for both the driver and passenger through all of the visible glass. This looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, and for the most part…it is. Could we be seeing this in upcoming Chrysler vehicles? It’s highly unlikely since very few cars on the road actually utilize augmented reality technology for anything other than the infotainment screens. One of the few companies utilizing advanced AR in vehicles is Mercedes-Benz, which has various models that feature augmented travel information and navigation support using real-time footage of the road.

However, these forms of augmented reality are typically done through the infotainment screen, which makes the most sense and is the most cost-effective way to utilize the technology. The reason for this is that the entire windshield has to be a screen for the projection effect to work as demonstrated in the concept video. Right now, it’s only really popular with some smartphone apps and VR/AR glasses. Having augmented reality prompts on upcoming Chrysler vehicles through the windshield and moonroof seems unlikely. Until digital windshields and moonroofs come down in price, this is not something I would expect to see as a regular feature on new vehicles.

AI Smart Trip Planning and Biometric Security

AI smart trip planning and biometric security are features that I absolutely expect to see more of on multiple Chrysler vehicles, including existing nameplates and new nameplates. Trip planning is already a standard feature on many EVs, and setting up an AI smart trip planner that works in conjunction with an autonomous driving system is absolutely the future. We’re already seeing similar functionality in just about every EV that lets you plan your trip based on nearby charging stations.

The biometric security system featured in the promo trailer also seems like a common sense standard security system that we can expect to see in many new vehicles. Keyless remote entry is already here, and biometric fingerprint scanning has been a thing since Hyundai’s 2019 Santa Fe. Facial recognition and biometric scanning are very much expected in the future for vehicles, especially since smart devices already have fingerprint and facial recognition technology. Having this become a feature in Chrysler vehicles just makes sense.

Seamless Drive Modes

Seamless drive modes for something like the Halcyon is an extension of another common feature that we already have today. Many cars already have drive modes that adjust many aspects of the vehicle, from throttle response and steering weight to exhaust sound and suspension feel. The Halcyon just goes a bit further by incorporating features like automatically dimming the windows and offering media suggestions based on the selected drive mode. Adapting seamless drive modes to more vehicles across Chrysler’s lineup is absolutely a practical feature and expectation of how drive modes will be implemented.

Personalized Infotainment Taken to the Next Level

This is one of those features that isn’t even going to be exclusive to Chrysler; in fact, don’t be surprised if nearly every next-generation nameplate from major automakers has personalized infotainment as a standard feature. Personalized music playlists, media apps, and individual themes are going to be a must for every new vehicle, and Chrysler is no exception. It’s the expected evolution of infotainment, especially when you consider that a lot of vehicles already have features like driver memory, so it makes sense that driver personalization would eventually extend to the infotainment setting based on fingerprint activation or smartphone activation. This should eventually apply across Chrysler’s entire lineup, including the Pacifica and any upcoming models.

Embracing Wireless Charging…For Vehicles

Wireless charging is already featured in a lot of vehicles, and it is becoming more and more common across wider trim lineups. However, that’s Qi wireless charging for smart devices to recharge your phone or tablet. What Chrysler is promoting with the Halcyon is charging BEVs using what’s essentially a giant vehicular charging pad. How practical is this? It already exists thanks to companies like Plugless Power. Current BEVs can be outfitted by some third-party companies with charging coils that work in conjunction with electromagnetic pads on the ground that are connected to a charging station. So you can already charge vehicles wirelessly, just with a few extra steps. Plus, this isn’t the sort of feature that would have to be locked behind trims or models like some other features, so long as a standardized battery pack is utilized by Chrysler for its vehicles.

Dynamic Inductive Charging

The real hard sell for the Halcyon is absolutely dynamic inductive charging, which would offer wireless charging while you’re driving on the road. One might see this as an absolute sci-fi feature, and in many ways, it still is. That doesn’t mean it’s not coming, because it might…just not any time soon. In fact, don’t expect to see this within the next two generations of cars unless major breakthroughs in research and development take place. And yes, engineers and researchers are investigating ways to bring to life induction-based magnetic resonance power transfer through wireless power sources, but it’s not easy.

The difference between this feature and stationary wireless charging is that the induction method would have to charge the battery while you’re moving, and that poses all sorts of logistical problems that researchers have to overcome. Big automakers like Tesla and Chrysler are already researching this technology along with the Department of Energy, various university technical institutes, and even researchers at SAE International. So it’s an all-hands-on-deck initiative, but is it coming in the near term? Highly unlikely. Is it coming in the far term? It’s a possibility. For now, it’s more pie-in-the-sky, and I wouldn’t get my hopes up about this particular feature coming anytime soon for any Chrysler hybrid, EV, or upcoming alternative fuel nameplate.

A silver Chrysler Halcyon concept car is shown parked near boulders.

How Viable Is Valet Mode for Upcoming Chrysler Vehicles?

Unlike dynamic wireless charging while on the go, a self-driving Valet Mode is actually something we could see coming to new Chrysler vehicles relatively soon. Basically, it’s a mix of current self-driving technology fused with self-parking, and there are already some brands out there that have vehicles that can self-park. In Chrysler’s case, we already have parking assistance with ParkSense, along with rear park assist and rear cross path detection. So, is it really so far-fetched that these systems would be further integrated into an automated parking system? Not really, especially given that there are a lot of other safety features that tie into the advancement of autonomous driving. While Chrysler hasn’t really been at the forefront of these systems like GM, Ford, and Tesla, it is obviously showing an interest in jumping into the autonomous driving scene, and the Halcyon shows Chrysler wants to commit to that feature for future vehicles.

Full Autonomous Driving Is Definitely the Future

Part of the big selling point for the Halcyon is the STLA Brain, a high-IQ artificial intelligence designed to help create synergy between infotainment, charging, and autonomous driving. It enables AutoDrive, which is planned to be a Level 3 full self-driving system. How likely are we to see this in Chrysler’s new vehicles? Very likely. This is already something that is being pursued by most major automakers, with features like Ford’s BlueCruise, GM’s Super Cruise, and Tesla’s Full Self Driving.

We’ve already seen that Chrysler’s siblings under the Stellantis brand––Ram and Jeep in particular––have begun exploring self-driving systems on select models like the Ram 1500 and Grand Cherokee. STLA AutoDrive is not so much a wildly imaginative tech possibility but a tech reality. These systems are becoming more and more common across the industry, and you can expect this to be a big selling point for Chrysler’s upcoming alternative-fuel vehicles, especially since a lot of the groundwork for this tech––such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, collision mitigation assistance, and lane keeping assistance––are already being employed in Chrysler’s vehicles. Taking it to the next step with full-autonomous driving is a logical, competitive move that is very expected. How soon can we see it, though? Well, that’s the question.

Which Features Do You Think Will Make It Into Future Chrysler Vehicles?

Chrysler is obviously intent on diving head-first into the alternative fuel market with a very high-tech concept like the Halcyon. Not all concepts become a reality, but many concept features do end up making their way into production vehicles. In many ways, a lot of the ideas that Chrysler has put forward with the Halcyon are based on existing technologies, so it’s more a matter of “When” than “If,” but if you had to guess, which of the features from the concept do you think will make it into Chrysler’s next EV and which of these features would make you excited to own a Chrysler?