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DON’T ASK WHEN SELF-DRIVING CARS WILL ARRIVE—ASK WHERE

Report by… Mike Odierna
Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas, 14 to 18 January:

CES is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, many are automotive. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

– Chinese manufacturers have raised the bar to seriously compete and even exceed against first world businesses with their products.  China, as you are aware, is merging development and marketplace with 1st world countries. One of many examples is https://www.byton.com/ German and Chinese business.  To my surprise, Nico Rosberg (obviously the 2016 F1 Champ) was on stage with their new electric SUV.

– Major manufacturers, like Mercedes, BMW are now beginning to call themselves “tech companies” too with all that’s ongoing autonomous with AI and VR developments.  One major communication is Instagram. Mercedes said they have one Billion followers. Not sure how they calculate that “billion” number, but that’s what they said to the press.

– All companies are focusing on safety and pollution improvements. Part of the autonomous roll-out plans.

– Artificial Intelligence (AI) inside vehicles is a key strength of all manufacturers.  Many are beginning to incorporate, “Hey Alexa”, “Hey Google”, “Hey Mercedes” in their cars.  Manufactures want owners to talk to their car like they do to their passengers and as the ultimate “wearable”.  An emotional connection with the vehicle, “it’s hot” A/C turns down automatically. Or “turn on A/C at home to 72 degrees”.

BMW’s system currently does beat the better-known voice assistance in one area:  you can set a dedicated name for its example, (Lydia and Megan) for greater individuality.  The car maker’s Intelligent Personal Assistant taps into BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud and artificial intelligence to learn your routines and habits, so you simply can say  “Take me home.” Similarly, saying “I’m cold” will adjust the temperature.

There was even a Mercedes AI “Justice of the Peace” “roadside chapel” demo,  in which two young couples got married inside their car. Maybe doing away with fake Elvis’ in the future for Las Vegas.   

– AI will determine drivers emotions for safety.  That can be difficult for some Italians, like me. 🙂

 – Passengers can connect with Virtual reality(VR), meaning video games, educational VR content that works with car’s movements adapting real time.    

– Many new business partnerships being formed for the future for “fully” supported self-driving vehicles.  They call it “trickle down technology”.

– Vehicle screens going super-sized.  Take a glance at the displays and think you are at the movies.  Mercedes EQC crossover features two 10.25-inch displays behind glass surface forming a free-standing screen.  Automakers say if done properly, a bigger screen can enhance safety by providing more useful info, such as lights about to turn red, accident alerts or road conditions ahead. Far advanced to what Waze provides today.  Key to that CEO Kaellenius of Daimler told us, “you need to own the digital soul of your car.” Point was that driver distraction would decline, not rise, with a larger screen, as drivers no longer struggle through a myriad of options cluttered on a small screen/knobs.     

– Corvette announced their Genovation GXE, which is an electric Corvette with 800 HP and a manual gearbox.   Top speed 220 mph/ 354 kph. Here’s a link: https://autoweek.com/article/ces/genovation-gxe-electric-corvette-800-hp-and-manual-gearbox

-Lots of discussion about 5G that is slowly rolling out.  IMO, not much in 2019.

For fully autonomous vehicles, clearly, it is here in restricted areas.  But one of the biggest challenges is infrastructure, each city and county has its own application programming interfaces (APIs). The ecosystem is not one company that can do it all, plus (obviously) government regulations, roads, need standardization.  So driving fully autonomously from Milano to Paris will take many years or even, New York City, New York to Boston, Massachusetts, IMO.

As I walk the floors, speak with developers, engineers,  scientists, doctors, startup owners to also major CEOs of businesses, we all envision a future with safer roads with driving warning systems, less pollution, smarter infrastructure and greater access to health and wellness innovations.  The possibilities are endless; some are already here, many on the cusp for the future.

Here is the latest report on the Electric Lagonda.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/07/aston-martin-will-unveil-its-fully-electric-lagonda-suv-in-geneva/

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