We took a look back at the Consumer Electronics Show a few weeks ago,here, and reported the top products of the 2014 show. The Automotive Industry, however, is a whole other monster and they have been slowly invading the CES for several years now. This year was no exception. In fact, they took it to a whole new level. This year the focus was geared towards self-driving tech and the connected car. There have been some pretty big Auto Industry announcements both from the CES2014 and also just buzzing around car shows, etc. that we’d like to share with you.
1. Mostly Autonomous Cars
Although most manufacturers are letting the public know that you won’t see totally autonomous vehicles on the road until 2020, that doesn’t stop the “mostly” autonomous car buzz from going crazy. As it stands, the cars we currently drive are already pretty autonomous. To name a few featured technologies: blind-spot detection, backup cameras, cross traffic alerts, cruise control, lane change departure, etc. are all autonomous features. There would obviously be ten million and one hurdles to jump through to actually have a robot drive your car (like changing road laws for example); but, that doesn’t mean that the technology isn’t coming right along. In fact, Audi, Lexus, BMW, Bosch, Valeo, etc. all demonstrated some sort of driverless car technology. They demonstrated automated parking (actually driving itself down a line of cars, finding a space, and backing into it). Audi, taking this a step further, demonstrated automated parking with an added traffic assist feature (meaning a car driving itself in highway traffic under 40mph –wow).
How is this accomplished? They rely on the use of radar, laser, cameras and also a processor in the car that with the ability to interpret sensory information and construct a three-dimensional environment. The company Nvidia unveiled such a processor with its Tegra K1 at CES 2014. Audi announced it would use the K1 chip in their production cars in the near future. We’ll just have to watch this trend grow.
2. High-Performance Hybrids
There is a new breed of Hybrid in town –High Performance. The days of hybrids meaning simply great gas mileage and limited performance are over. Well, not over. But, we’re getting more options. Cars like Porsche’s Panamera E-Hybrid, the Audi R8 e-Tron, and the Tesla Model S have emerged and it’s going to be huge. We get the benefits of a hybrid paired with the high-performance, luxury, and comforts of a luxury powerful luxury vehicle. I’m predicting more manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon and come up with their own high-performance hybrid to compete.
3. Diesel-Powered Cars
I know it may sound a little crazy. It is predicted, however, that by the year 2020, more than half the vehicles driving on the road will be diesel-fueled. Because of advances in technology, the old clichés of diesel vehicles as smelly, loud, hunks of metal have been thrown out the window. They typically have a better fuel economy, as well as great power, low operating costs, and the technology that we’re used to now in our non diesel counterparts. VW has reported a big year last year in the sale of diesel cars. It’s already a trend among German manufacturers; GM and Mazda are now bringing diesel-powered vehicles to their portfolio and it shouldn’t be long before we see more and more manufacturers designing their own diesel-powered models.
We’re well aware that there has been a ton of auto technology unveiled in the last few months. We want to hear from YOU. What has been your favorite bit (however big or small) of auto tech unveiled for the upcoming year? Which technologies do you think are going to change the face of the auto industry as we know it?