Was a slogan Joe Biden used often during the Presidential Campaign. Based on successive weeks at the CES in Las Vegas and the Detroit Auto show it’s more appropiate to say the whole auto industry is alive with innovation.
Here are some of the many exciting things that came out of the two shows:
Toyota’s Autonomous Car
Not just being pioneered by Google, Toyota showed off a Lexus (in photo) with a 360-degree LIDAR laser to scan for other objects; high-definition color cameras that detect approaching vehicles and traffic light changes; radar systems; a distance measurement indicator to measure travel distance and speed; an inertial measurements unit; and GPS antennas.
Other auto manufacturers are looking at similar enhancements, and it is also leading to innovation in traffic lights – all hopefully contributing to auto safety improvements
Ford’s Sync ecosystem
At CES Ford announced its Developer Program to invite them to create apps that interface directly with a car’s infotainment system, rather than relying on a mobile device to bridge the gap. Will its App Store ever be as big as that around iOS or Android? Not likely but still an impressive evolution when independent developers, not just the OEMs or their dealers can contribute.
Hyundai’s Natural Interface
In its HCD-14 concept reveal in Detroit, Hyundai showed off eye tracking (developed with Sweden's Tobii) and hand gesture controls (with a Kinect like sensor).
“A pair of cameras in the steering wheel tracks the driver’s eyes. Once the car sees the eyes glance at an area of the center stack with its climate control, infotainment, phone and navigation areas, it determines which specific control you want. A second set of sensors tracks your hand movement. A hand gesture — such as pointing, raising or lowering the hand, pinching or spreading, swiping left or right, or rotating clockwise or counterclockwise — could adjust the volume, zoom in on a display, flick to a new page, adjust the speed of the fan, or scroll through a phone contact list.”
Via’s Electric Pickup Truck
What was impressive at the Detroit show was VW, Cadillac, Tesla and plenty others like Via Motors showcased electric entries in just about every category
“VIA Motors, a privately held company that produces electric trucks and vans, even brought a little time travel to the event by using a hologram of inventor Thomas Edison to kick off a discussion about the future prospects of electric-powered vehicles. He was joined onstage by Bob Lutz, a retired (but very real) GM exec, who was instrumental in the development of the Chevy Volt.
VIA also debuted a full-size concept pickup truck at the auto show. The company's SUVs and vans run on an engine they say has more than 400 horsepower, can drive for extended distances and can be used as an outside power source.”