What a fantastic week it has been at CES 2019 presenting new and innovative ideas from all over the consumer electronics industry! The automotive industry has without a doubt brought some interesting new tech to the table which might be able to see very soon on our very own roads! Anything from Augmented Reality (AR) to self-driving vehicles. Without hesitating, here are some of the most exciting car-tech to look out for:
BMW Reversing Assistant
Let’s start with something easy to wrap our heads around and not out of this world, a reversing assistant. You might be thinking of the usual parking sensors, rear-view cameras, self-parking modes etc.. Sure this might not sound too innovative but it hasn’t yet been seen in a production vehicle yet and seems to be quite a useful tool if you get stuck.
The BMW Reversing Assistant will be available on new BMW models and is a function which allows the car itself to reverse the last 50 meters without needing to touch the steering wheel. The only catch? You need to control the brakes. Quite a useful feature I must say especially for tight alleys, parking spots or perhaps a dead end. This technology combines the rear-view camera (or 360 degree camera) along with the PDC system (i.e. parking sensors) to allow for aural and visual warnings. Since the system is only semi-independent, you do have to adjust the brakes and it will warn you if you may be going too fast or too slow with a loud aural signal.
I personally think this is a cool gadget that might be useful in some difficult situations such as really tight areas which you might be very anxious about. Overall it seems like a great feature to have especially in the times we live in now where every manufacturer is constantly trying to find ways to outperform other manufacturers with their focus on the tech aspect of things.
Below is a video which summarizes the BMW reversing assistant quite well and is directly from BMW themselves:
Self Driving Shuttles – The future of transport?
A couple manufacturers have introduced some new concepts which I personally find very intuitive and practical for the future. Mercedes and Bosch have introduced urban transport in the form of self-driving vehicles. They each have their own features but fundamentally the same purpose, let’s start with Mercedes.
Mercedes calls theirs the Vision Urbanetic and is essentially a multipurpose, self-driving vehicle meant for the urban population. It combines augmented reality, the cloud and other Internet of Things technology in order to achieve this. The vehicle consists of an interchangeable multipurpose cabin and a fundamental chassis. As it implies, the cabin can be changed out for cabins meant for other purposes which may be for a coffee-shop, logistics or public transport. Mercedes also featured it to be connected via an app which allows for an intuitive AR user interface and more relevant information.
Words can’t describe quite how spectacular the concept is so below is their concept video on the Vision Urbanetic:
Bosch has taken a different approach to this by specializing on the Internet of Things and taking it a bit further. Bosch is looking to develop a highly sophisticated system wherein the customer already has her preferences, details, schedule etc.. set and allows the system to suggest options for her transport for example.
In the case of transportation, Bosch has developed the Internet of Things Shuttle (Bosch IoT Shuttle) and allows for the customer to seamlessly choose her means of transport depending on her situation and have the means of transport be waiting for her at the desired time. The Bosch IoT shuttle will automatically open the doors for them upon identifying their profile and welcome them with a greeting message and customize the vehicle according to her preferences. The IoT Shuttle also allows for you to continue working on anything you might be working on via their tablets or Augmented Reality passenger window. So on and so forth.. the main concept they are trying to sell here is seamless connectivity.
Below is a brief video of how it looks and what it may feature:
Nissan Intelligent Mobility
Now this is some proper futuristic sci-fi tech which really doesn’t seem like it belongs in our current age. It somehow reminds me of video games I used to play when I was younger or when I was bored and imagining to drive in my room. Nissan has developed a very sophisticated system which combines the data world and the real world into one and has a plethora of functions depending on the situation. Some of these functions include predicting corners, finding parking spaces in a crowded parking space, predicting pedestrian movement far ahead than the vehicle may detect it and so much more!
Nissan calls this the Invisible to Visible (or I2V for short) and in their words “bridges the real world to themetaverse“. What is a meta-verse, you may ask? In basic terms the metaverse is the digital universe where the information used for day-to-day actions in the real world such as these are stored. These include sensors, cloud data and artificial intelligence.
This following clip will give you a glimpse into what Nissan are striving for with their I2V technology:
Nissan claim that this system will make driving not only safer but smarter as well by keeping the driver informed about any upcoming events or unusual activity as a result of cloud technology. A human example of such is Waze which is a navigation app which entails drivers to report and submit any unusual activity such as an accident, police roadblock, construction etc… An aspect of the I2V system takes this concept and completely digitalizes it, getting rid of the human factor.
It’s an interesting albeit scary thought seeing the rise in AI, however the benefits are definitely worth considering such as improved intellect, safety and smarts which will not only lead to a micro effect (i.e. for the driver) but also a macro effect (such as minimizing congestion in cities). This is one thing to really look out for!
Electric Cars: What’s New?
Now finally for some actual cars in the current world, right? There hasn’t been anything too revolutionary at this CES 2019 regarding electric cars.
Mercedes has unveiled their EQC all-electric SUV model which is a huge step in the high-end SUV industry as the only all-electric SUVs in the high-end market are from Jaguar with their I-Pace, BMW with their IX3, Audi with their e-tron (which we’ll get onto in a bit) and of course Tesla’s model X. The EQC will be on sale in Summer of this year (Summer 2019) and is speculated to go for around £65,000. Performance wise – the EQC will see 0-100kmph in about 5.1 seconds thanks to it’s all electric motor and a range of around 280 miles (so realistically around 200-250 miles) per charge.
On the other hand we have the Audi e-tron which has an exciting energy regeneration feature which entails recuperating energy when not pressing the accelerator. In their most efficient setting, the vehicle will actually brake when not pressing the accelerator due to the energy regeneration feature of the vehicle. Audi is set to roll this out in early 2019 which is not too far from now, at a price tag of around £70,000. The range of it will be around the 250 miles mark however as we know on electric vehicles, the range will be a lot less. With the energy recuperating feature however, we’re not too sure whether the difference in the actual range and expected range will be affected.
CES 2019 this year has been truly revolutionary with all the new tech we’ve seen whether it’s been in cars or daily consumer life. BMW’s reversing assistant seems like a great step forward combining data and practical application into one and helping in tricky situations as a result of the tech around us which we often take for granted. The myriad of revolutionary automotive tech at the show also really surprised me especially the self-driving shuttles from Mercedes and Bosch which really change my view on our future in the automotive and consumer world. The Nissan Intelligent Mobility is also something that struck me and will definitely be something to look out for. Finally, stepping back into the real world with the electric cars of today and tomorrow (quite literally), the involvement of higher-end luxury brands such as Audi or Mercedes, in the electric car scene is definitely beneficial for competition, innovation and ultimately the environment.
Is there any tech you think I might have missed out on? Something you really found revolutionary or “out of this world? If so, please share them below with a comment as I’d really like to see your view on it!