Marc Saltzman 2017-09-22 04:23:24
Driven to perfection, expect a lot more innovation under the hood of your next vehicle While “CES” is an abbreviation of the Consumer Electronics Show—for which I undertake an annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to see upcoming gadgets and gear—the running joke at the recent convention was that CES now stands for the Car Electronics Show. Many of the world’s biggest automakers have become a major part of this highly publicized conference, which serves as a glimpse into the future of technology. This year, they dominated much of the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as surrounding facilities. And it didn’t seem to matter that this Sin City event falls on the heels of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was wall-to wall vehicles, just a few paces away from the latest in televisions, audio equipment and wearable gizmos. And so, here’s a look at some of the amazing automotive tech coming down the road, most of which debuted at CES. It’s a mod world Chrysler’s Portal concept offered a futuristic take on the family vehicle, focusing heavily on a reimagined car interior for millennials on the go.Featuring a sleek and spacious cabin with a modular design, you can add or remove seats with your changing needs—such as inserting a seat for a new baby or taking one out to fit extra luggage and a pair of skis. Because it operates on a track system, seats can also be repositioned inside the modern minivan, if need be. While this concept car offers autonomous (self-driving) capabilities, you can also take the airplane-like steering wheel to pilot this electric car yourself. This “third space” between work and home, as Chrysler refers to it, moreover packs in facial and voice recognition, touch-sensitive screens, support for hand gestures and more. There’s no word on when this vehicle could become a reality, but Chrysler says it’s more of a concept car that could benefit various models, rather than being tied to a specific one. Speak to me Ford used the CES to announce a partnership with Amazon to boost the most natural of controls: Your voice. By integrating Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant into SYNC 3-enabled Ford vehicles, you’ll be able to search for nearby destinations, access content (such as audiobooks, live sports scores and millions of music tracks), pay bills and even add items to Amazon shopping lists—all by simply talking. Or ask Alexa to access your smarthome devices on the road, such as controlling your home’s lighting, security systems, thermostat and garage doors. This Alexa functionality will also work the other way around, allowing you to access your car’s info from the comfort of your home, such as using your voice to start and stop your engine, lock or unlock doors and monitor vehicle readings such as the fuel level and battery range. Ford began rolling out Alexa’s home-to-car integration this summer (with the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi), while car-to-home functionality will likely be available by year end. Touch much Speaking of next-generation interfaces, BMW’s HoloActive Touch demo proved to be an impressive virtual touchscreen experience inside its BMW i Inside Future concept car.Showcased at BMW’s pavilion outside of the convention center, imagine free floating buttons in the air, near the center console, that vibrate slightly underneath your fingertips when pressed; this tactile feedback confirms your selection. Allowing drivers to access in-car features or BMW Connected services, HoloActive Touch fuses BMW’s Head-Up Display (aided by the clever use of reflections) with AirTouch gesture controls and other technologies to create this innovative and intuitive interface. The BMW i Inside Future isn’t a car planned for production anytime soon, but pulls the curtain back on what this premium German automaker is cooking up in interior design and futuristic interface concepts. Safety first With the new school year starting, more kids will be out and about as they head to class—on their bikes, feet or hopscotching down a sidewalk—and so Chevrolet wants to stop accidental but deadly “back over” incidents with a technology called “Surround Vision.” Available in the all-new 2018 Equinox, Surround Vision provides a 360-degree bird’seye view around the vehicle, acting like multiple sets of eyes that help drivers quickly view their vehicle’s perimeter during lows peed maneuvers such as backing up or parking. The technology uses four cameras: the standard rear-vision camera, a forward-looking camera in the front grille and two side-looking cameras under each side mirror. In the US alone, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries a year caused by back over crashes, with 40 per cent occurring in residential areas. Electrifying ride Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new product brand for electric mobility: EQ. Short for “Electric Intelligence” (and derived from the company’s brand values of “emotion” and “inteligence”), EQ will be a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations—ranging from electric vehicles to wall-boxes and charging services to home-energy storage units (similar to Tesla’s Powerwall). The close-to-production concept vehicle “Concept EQ” made its debut at the 2017 CES, and is a sporty SUV all-wheel-drive coupé with two electric motors and a range of up to 500 km. Due out by the end of the decade, the vehicle’s interior is ultramodern, with a fresh new concept for the next generation of eco-friendly vehicles. Marc Saltzman is a recognized expert in computers, consumer electronics, video gaming and internet trends. You can see him on CNN, CTV’s Canada AM, and on Cineplex movie theatre screens across Canada. Follow him on Twitter @marc_saltzman. Autonomous cars: Look ma, no hands! Self-driving cars are coming from many of the big players, including Tesla, Uber, Volvo, Alphabet/ Google, General Motors and Ford.Barring legislative hurdles, you could be a passenger in your own autonomous car within a few years. Ford took the wraps off its next gen Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicle, featuring a new LiDAR sensor system that measures the distance to a target with a pulsed laser light. The global LiDAR sensor automotive market is projected to reach US$735 million by 2025. Electric-car start-up Faraday Future showed off its first production car concept, the FF91 crossover SUV. These vehicles aren’t commercially produced just yet, but the 1,050-hp beta prototype set a speed record in July at the 2017 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Powered by an AI (artificial intelligence) assistant named Yui, Toyota’s Concept-i aims to modernize the driving experience by building a “relationship” with the driver over time, going beyond analyzing driving patterns and schedules, says the company. To accelerate the evolution of self driving cars, Nissan announced “Seamless Autonomous Mobility” (SAM) technology that combines human support and AI to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations. Focusing on urban drivers and ride sharers, Honda’s small, semiautonomous and cube-like NeuV also impressed at the 2017 CES.
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