BYTON Puts Digital Experience Ahead Of Driving At CES

Prepping for volume production in mid-2020.

It’s been exactly two years since the world got its first glimpse of BYTON at CES 2018. Now, a mere 24 months later the Nanjing-based startup is only months away from series production of its first vehicle, the M-Byte electric SUV.

When the M-Byte concept was first introduced, the one thing that most people expected would never make it to production was the gigantic 48-inch display screen that stretches across the entire dashboard. Surprise, surprise, it’s still there and it is indeed going to make it to production. Now Byton is finally telling us more of how the “stage” will serve owners. 

Yes, Byton appropriately calls their display screen the “Byton Stage” and it is going to offer a host of content; much more than what is typically available in a car. Here at CES, Byton announced a host of strategic partners that will help make the Stage a useful asset in a digital life and not just a pretty face.

Partners include:

ViacomCBS and ACCESS: Byton’s customers will be able to view ViacomCBS content, supplied by the ACCESS Twine™ for car systems. 

AccuWeather: Byton users will have access to the worldwide leader in weather forecasting accuracy, AccuWeather. The AccuWeather app in Byton vehicles will not only report the weather conditions on-demand but also notify users of upcoming weather changes at their future destinations.

Aiquido: Byton users will be able to safely leverage the ubiquity of their smartphones with Aiqudo’s Voice to Action® platform by allowing voice commands in the vehicle to seamlessly engage with mobile apps, via Bluetooth, using simple and natural language commands.

Cloud Car: Byton and CloudCar aim to redefine the in-vehicle user experience through a voice-first, natural-language interface that is ideally suited for drivers. The CloudCar platform’s on-board and cloud-based infrastructure provides global access to unified, infotainment services. Its expanding network of content partners work together to provide the best possible experience from the comfort of the M-Byte.

Road.Travel: Byton and Road.Travel together offer a solution for easy online trip booking to worldwide destinations. Trips can be customized to match your budget or created on-demand with the help of AI. Road.Travel will offer notifications about nearby places to eat or visit and help with reservations.

XPERI: Byton, in partnership with XPERI, will bring HD Radio into the M-Byte experience. Using digital audio broadcasting technology, HD Radio by XPERI, stations offer crystal-clear digital audio, multiple channels of programming per station, and rich text and image metadata onto the Byton Stage.

BYTON CEO Daniel Kirchert on stage at CES 2020

Developers Program

“We knew from the outset that in order to deliver the industry’s first Smart Device on Wheels, we would need to invite partners to create truly compelling interactions,” said Jeff Chung, Vice President of Digital Engineering at BYTON. “We also believe that BYTON’s unique user interface offers developers a challenge and an opportunity to engage with an in-car experience like none they ever seen.” 

Byton also announced the introduction of the Byton Developers Program. The BYTON Developer Program offers a platform for developers to create and integrate content and services that will unlock the full potential of Byton’s in-car user experience. 

Byton released UX Design documentation and app development guidelines for partners and developers. Byton is currently developing apps and services for entertainment, health, productivity, eCommerce and other experiences to merge the mobile and automotive worlds of their customers.

Byton M-Byte interior

The M-Byte electric SUV is expected to begin production in the first half of 2020 for the Chinese market. Company representatives estimate North American deliveries to begin roughly a year later. So far, Byton has stuck with their $45,000 base price for the 72 kWh rear-wheel-drive M-Byte, with a 95 kWh version also available. The 95 kWh model will be available in rear-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive.

The 72 kWh M-Byte has a WLTP range of 224 miles per charge, and the 95 kWh version is rated at 270 miles for the AWD model and 285 miles for the RWD version. We estimate that the EPA range ratings will be 10% to 12% less than the WLTP rating. 

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