It seems odd to us that the Detroit Auto Show and CES (Consumer Electronics Showcase) are both scheduled so close together in January, especially now that the more tech focused show that takes place in Las Vegas each year has become so automotive in focus. There is literally an explosion of car news in January thanks to these two events and digesting all of it can be a daunting task. But that’s what we are here for.
So in case you missed any of the latest automotive whiz-bang gadgetry or all-new concept models introduced at this year’s CES here is our top ten list of the most important advancements to come out of this year’s show. Now after this, go read up on what is coming out of Detroit.
Auto Supplier ZF debuts the PreVision Cloud Assist System which learns the driving patterns and conditions around your vehicle so all you have to do is occasionally steer a little bit:
Best known as the supplier of some of the world’s finest automatic transmissions which are used in models from the likes of BMW and Bentley, ZF took the CES show as its opportunity to show off its safety know-how as well. Using multiple cameras, beams and a centralized monitoring system which studies how you drive, ZF’s PreVision Cloud Assist System is not quite fully autonomous driving but its close as all it asks of the driver is to look at the road and make minor steering adjustments if necessary. So no more pedals?
Ford introduces new Sync3 Infotainment System now compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto and announces Amazon partnership to connect your car with your home:
Ford’s announcement that its Sync3 system was going to work in conjunction with the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto left Toyota Motor as the only major auto company that will not be offering the two smartphone based infotainment systems. Toyota is sticking with its own Entune system.
But as for Ford, don’t count out the usefulness of Sync3 as the U.S. automaker has announced a partnership with Amazon allowing your car to be connected wirelessly to your home allowing you to turn off lights, lock home doors and multiple other functions while miles away on the road. Truly, this will be the totally connected car.
Volkswagen finally introduces a modern day version of their iconic Microbus only this time it’s fully electric:
It’s called the Volkswagen Budd-e right now in its current concept form but the German automaker could just as easily called it the Microbus version 2.0. Or better yet, the “we are trying to make you forget about that diesel scandal” but that’s another story entirely. We loved the look and size of the Budd-e and think it is just what VW needs to be selling right now. Oh yeah, we also though the two spoke retro future steering wheel design was pretty awesome as well.
BMW introduced an all-electric i8 concept car which featured an enormous 21-inch display screen on the passenger side of the dashboard which could be controlled by a new technology called AirTouch:
Even though the i8 roadster concept looked utterly fantastic, sadly it was not built to be put into production. Its true purpose was to show off BMW’s new AirTouch hand gesture in-car control system which boasted a huge 21-inch display screen covering the passenger side of the dashboard. Is there any reason we are still calling them dashboards now?
Billion dollar start-up Faraday Future debuted a 1,000 horsepower all-electric supercar that looked a lot like the Batmobile:
This was the curiosity that made the biggest surprise splash at the show. Apparently Faraday Future is an automaker start up with a billion dollar test and research facility in Nevada where they are developing an all electric SUV that will soon be up for sale. Sadly, the 1,000hp black supercar they showed off at CES was just a one-off concept that won’t be built. It will be interesting, however, to see what comes of Faraday in the “Future.”
Apps on your smartphone will soon be able to do things like monitor the traffic light activity along your predetermined route to help you get to your destination quicker, act as a fitness tracker by syncing to your smartwatch and even allow your infotainment system to make suggestions for potential destinations, music choices and the like based on your previous actions:
It seems every automaker at CES made mention of its new and improved smart-phone apps which are ever more capable of remotely monitoring and checking on the state of your automobile. Not only that, these apps connect your car with all of the “smart” gadgets in your life like wearables, smart home technology and apparently even smart stoplights. Yes, smart stoplights are coming that can talk to your car. Note, many of these apps may be accessible on the screen of your new “smart key” as well.
Mercedes Benz debuted the new 2017 E-class dashboard which is devoid of any buttons, knobs or switches:
To see the 2017 Mercedes E-Class in full you will have to go to the Detroit Auto Show but if you wanted to see its state of the art, totally hi-tech interior which has no buttons, knobs or switches you could have seen it first at CES. Everything inside the E-Class is controlled via touch screens and all of the gauges and read outs are shown on a long tablet-like display running horizontally across the top of the dash. This is technology you will be able to buy very, very soon.
Harman International introduced the worlds first pupil monitoring system that uses in car readings of the driver’s pupil size and shape to help discern the level of cognitive functioning that he or she is operating under at the time:
In other words, is the driver stressed, exhausted or in some other state that might make it unwise for them to be behind the wheel of a car. We also wonder if this device could also be used to hinder people from driving under the influence as well. Nonetheless, there are many potential applications for this technology that we are sure a company the size of Harman and just as ambitious will no doubt find in the coming years. And we haven’t even made mention of their audio business.
Autoliv Safety looks not only to protect humans in their cars but to also keep other living beings outside of their vehicle free from impact danger:
We all know that the best kind of accident is the one that you avoid. With its latest generation of Night Vision technology available on various Audi, Mercedes, Maybach, Rolls Royce and BMW models is meant to give the driver the ability to literally see in the dark. It can read the heat signature given off by both humans and animals and if it believes the living creature may cross your path it alerts you and they will show up on the Night Vision screen in red instead of the usual yellow.
Autoliv also hopes to soon be offering this system in the United States with a beam technology that uses the fog lamp housings to conceal the moving spotlights that also visually illuminate where animals or pedestrians may be hidden from your view in the dark. Oddly, these spotlights are never noticed by human pedestrians but they will startle a deer who is sitting staring at your headlights. As a result, they usually cause animals to move out of the road and out of danger.
Harman’s LIVS (Life-Enhancing Intellingent Vehicle Solution) is going to revolutionize the connected car with its 2,000 individual product patents which allow it to power and control everything in a car from safety systems to infotainment as well as all hand gesture control technologies to name a few:
So how are all of these car companies going to be able to create these magical, hi-tech wonder interiors of the future? Well, many will look to Harman and its LIVS system which should see the automobile through the next 30 years at least of technological development. The applications it allows are endless as they are mind blowing. Essentially, LIVS is ready to handle features which haven’t even been invented yet. Keanu Reeves would no doubt at this point say. “Whoa!”
And not to mention Harman too often but (here is 10 and a half):
Harman is best known for its audio innovations and its new in car Voyager-Drive + portable audio system means you can use it either in your car or pop it out to use on the go. The system is going to be affordable yet sound fully premium to make it appeal to younger car buyers who can generally only afford entry level vehicles. This will also give OEM’s an easy audio system upgrade with the neat portability function to their customers. Cool.