Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) and Microsoft Corp. have merged automobile design and gaming technology to create the first-ever fully integrated gaming system within a vehicle. Conceived by Nissan Design America Inc. (NDA) and equipped with the Xbox 360(TM) next-generation video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Nissan ÚRGE concept car allows drivers (while parked) to play 'Project Gotham Racing(R) 3' using the car's own steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal while viewing the game on a flip-down seven-inch LCD screen. 'PGR(R) 3' is developed exclusively for Xbox 360 by Bizarre Creations Ltd. for Microsoft Game Studios.
The ÚRGE, which will make its world debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show on Jan. 9, offers a glimpse of how echo boomers are influencing the next generation of vehicle design.
'Nissan conducted an Internet survey of 2,000 echo boomers, a majority of which said technology and gaming are among the most important attributes in their first car,' said Bruce Campbell, vice president of design at Nissan Design America in La Jolla, Calif. 'Xbox 360 offered the latest in technology and was already a favorite among this audience.'
The Nissan ÚRGE, outfitted with an Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, puts the controls of the world's most powerful gaming console at the hands and feet of the driver. Implemented by the designers at Nissan Design America with the guidance of Microsoft engineers, the Nissan ÚRGE delivers an immersive driving experience not available in any living room.
The ÚRGE concept car is equipped with the award-winning 'PGR 3,' which allows drivers to control a breathtaking trip through the streets of five photo-realistic locations: New York City, London, Las Vegas, Tokyo and the Nurburgring test track in Germany. 'PGR 3' drivers view and play the game on a flip-down LCD screen, which doubles as a rear-view mirror when the car is being used for real driving. They control the action using the Nissan ÚRGE's race-inspired steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal. A Nissan ÚRGE driver can, for example, maneuver through the streets of New York, park the car and fire up the Xbox 360, then virtually race through the same streets using the same steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal -- blurring fantasy and reality in a way that the automotive world has never before seen. About Xbox and Xbox 360
Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox(R), its first-generation video games and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries. Microsoft introduced its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in the 2005 holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America. The system will be launched in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live(R) online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. About 'Project Gotham Racing 3'
Source - PRNewswire-FirstCall
In 'PGR 3,' the next-generation follow-up in the highly acclaimed 'Project Gotham Racing' franchise for Xbox, players are thrust into the cockpit of 80 of the world's fastest Supercars from an all-star lineup of manufacturers, including multiple Nissan vehicles. 'PGR 3' introduces gamers to the high-definition era, and drops them into a completely new gaming world, where speed, style and daring rule the road. Racers are rewarded for driving with cunning skills and masterful maneuvering, and can race each other -- on or offline.
ÚRGE, which makes its world debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2006, addresses all of these issues. In creating the ÚRGE concept, the designers at NDA, kept these core survey results in mind – while adding a few ideas of their own. ÚRGE emerged as a minimalist sports car – pure Nissan in its look, innovative features, spirited performance and, certainly, its sports car heritage.
ÚRGE is also infused with a gamer's sense of adventure – with the bare, exposed look and driving experience of a high performance motorcycle, but balanced with a high level of safety features.
'We want ÚRGE to replicate the raw motorcycle experience as much as possible, with the exposed engine, door panel cutouts and open top. Motorcycles are exhilarating to drive and we want this car to feel the same way,' said Campbell. 'At the same time, we want parents to think of this car as safe, which, for example, led us to include the integrated cage structure and visible passenger's side air bag. ÚRGE, like its target buyers, has a foot in each world, adventure and reality.'
The front-engine, rear-wheel drive ÚRGE is designed to be lightweight – with a target weight of just 2,400 pounds – and active. Its performance is expressed in quickness and agility, rather than brute horsepower and top-end acceleration. Its wheelbase is the same length as Nissan's popular 350Z, but ÚRGE's unique, open body is a full 16 inches shorter than the Z® thanks to its short front and rear overhangs.
ÚRGE utilizes a quick, high-revving, small-displacement engine, 6-speed manual sequential (motorcycle-style) gearbox and 350Z-style quick-stopping Brembo® brake system. The wheels are a lightweight 9-spoke spun aluminum-alloy design, 19-inch front/20-inch rear, and the tires are narrow Michelin (195/45R19 front, 225/35R20 rear) sizes, reinforcing the motorcycle-style look and performance feel.
'The performance targets for ÚRGE, in keeping with an affordable, $20,000 production price target, dictate a more realistic approach to the parts list than say our 350Z or GT-R Proto,' said Campbell. 'ÚRGE's sense of exhilaration comes more from the exposed body and driving environment than costly components. It's a sports car for first-time car buyers. The Z®s and GT-Rs will come later in the buyers' lives.'
ÚRGE's bare, exposed exterior is highlighted by its cycle-style fenders and stripped away body panels. The special glass hood exposes the top of the engine, while the doors feature see-through cutouts.
The body is highlighted by an extensive aluminum 'cage' structure, which includes an aluminum center structure that runs from the engine bay to the interior center console. The ÚRGE exterior also features aluminum/composite construction and a collapsible, storable manually operated canvas top. The 4-bar hinge scissor doors are extra long for access to the rear seat. When the door release button is engaged, the glass panel of the unique door cutout slides up, allowing the occupant's legs to easily pass in or out.
'One of our other goals in the ÚRGE design was to show off the cool material used in concept form – the aluminum foam in the doors, the perforated metal mesh interior panels, the lightweight exposed seat frames and the 'Mirror Crystal' aluminum colored body panels,' said Campbell. 'We're also proud of our solution to the limitations of a typical two-seat sports car with the hidden alpha seat.'
ÚRGE's unique third bucket seat is tucked behind the driver and passenger in a hidden compartment. When the cover, which is activated by the driver's cell phone, is down, ÚRGE looks like a traditional sports car. When up, there's room for an additional passenger.
The ÚRGE interior also features an F1-style steering wheel and a compact instrument panel with a driver information monitor, two side screens and a pair of docking stations for the driver's mp3 audio player and cell phone. The center monitor can be switched between five customizable screens, including navigation system, climate controls, audio and suspension/performance tuning. The menus are scrollable using steering wheel-mounted controls.
'In keeping with the rapidly changing technology demands of our target buyers, ÚRGE allows the driver to be in charge and to bring to the vehicle a high degree of personalization. The navigation system is located in front of the driver, not the passenger, the driver's cell phone acts as Intelligent Key to start the vehicle. We provide the audio speakers, the owner provides the audio drivers,' said Campbell.
Other ÚRGE interior features include the racing-style lightweight mesh-and-leather bucket seats, billet aluminum center console, perforated metal mesh-covered silicone foam instrument panel material, visible passenger-side air bag, and racing-style, durable rubber flooring.
Another unique feature of the ÚRGE concept is its integrated gaming system. Powered by Xbox 360, when the driver wants to change to game mode, he or she disengages the driving controls and activates the game system. A screen folds down from the rearview mirror, the steering wheel and pedals become game controls, and the game's audio is played through the vehicle's audio system. The ÚRGE concept feature a special Nissan-only demonstration edition of Project Gotham Racing 3.
'The Echo Boomer generation, born between roughly 1976 and 1996, has grown up on video games. By 2012, nearly all 87 million of them will be of driving age and they will be looking for much more from a car than simple transportation – entertainment, a social space, personalization and flexibility,' said Campbell. 'The ability to park the car and activate the game system adds another dimension of entertainment beyond the pure driving pleasure of the ÚRGE. Like its drivers, this vehicle is able to switch between the real world and video world whenever the ÚRGE strikes.'Source - Nissan