Automotive Technology is Changing Quickly:
The automotive and technology industries have been well acquainted for a long time. This is not news. But I can recall the very day when it became realized, at least for me.
My mom had gone out and traded in her Ford Taurus Wagon for a shiny new Nissan Maxima. To this day, my family still jokes about how 8 year old me proclaimed “Look Aunt Elaine! The clock is digital!” Things were so much simpler then.
Fast-forward to 2020, and you’ll find me, pushing-40-tech-saavy me, gliding around tradeshows of both tech and auto variety making similar declarations to unwitting company. But the subject matter has changed. Drastically.
We can all agree that technology has advanced at lightning speeds over the years. And in the realm where it locks in and syncs up with the steady pace of the modern day automotive titans, the results leave so many of us with the look of awestricken wonder and unparalleled excitement.
Ever since being dubbed “the first automotive show if the year” in 2016, CES has yet to see a year where the automakers have left us disappointed. This year’s demonstration proved no different.
But for the first time, at least in my eyes, there is a new conversation to be had after the glow of tradeshow fascination has died down. This year I have questions. Maybe the technology has finally passed my comprehension level. Maybe I’m just growing up.
This year brought in some pretty exciting things from the likes of automakers, movie directors, and ride-sharing giants alike.
Some of the concepts feel outlandish, a regular occurrence, some fall under the header of “just plain weird,” and then there are the others.
These are the ones that give rise to goosebumps and neck hairs alike. Both for arousing that 8-year-old’s wonder that lives inside us still, and for being absolutely frightening to our grown up selves. It is overwhelming to see things that we have only dreamt of steadily coming to life right before our eyes.
We saw the standard mix of upgrades to current technology with concepts like the Lamborghini Huracan, which boasts intergrated Alexa functionality for mostly consumer comfort features.
We saw outrageous concepts like the Bell Nexus 4EX, a flying taxi cab that promises 60 minute trips for up to five passengers at an astounding 150mph, and looks like a few of the first RC drones to hit the market.
Perhaps though, the largest foray of concepts and the topic most talked about by ticketholders were the automated concepts, all varieties.
Toyota showed us their automated integration concept with a design they call “Yui,” embodying the merging of “you” and “I,” playing to the homogenous way car and driver will control the Toyota LQ.
Electronics giants LG and Sony both brought out concepts, the Connected Car and the Vision-S, respectively. Neither company shared intent to break into the automotive manufacturing business, but claimed rather to showcase only how their technology could advance that of the automakers. Both cars are fully autonomous, with luxury seating and amenities to “promote relaxation” while on the move.
The list goes on. The real show-stopper came from none other than Mercedes-Benz with the aide of award winning director James Cameron. Cameron, who is widely known as the “sleeper” of movie directors for putting out a modest one or two movies every decade, is no stranger to hitting home runs and being the center of attention. Neither is Mercedes-Benz. And the two of them together would have made The Babe proud. This one was out of the park.
Based off his film Avatar, the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR oozes the genius of Cameron’s work from every nut and bolt. It’s sleek and sexy and wildly futuristic. And like the Na’vi in ore ways than one. The focus of the film, the Na’vi are a race of sentient extraterrestrials who populate the moon Pandora.
The concept itself is quite futuristic in appearance, and boasts the same sentient quality in it’s autonomy.
Are You a Auto Maker or a Technology Expert?
Nearly everyone in attendance at CES this year will likely agree that Mercedes-Benz stole the show. But who actually takes home the prize remains to be seen. Here’s where grown-up me feels the need to start questioning.
Autonomous cars seem so amazing. Who doesn’t want to not drive themselves to… well, anywhere really? I’m 8 and super excited that I can just keep browsing Amazon or editing photos, but I’m also almost 40, and really scared that someone, or a lot of someones, are in a lot of danger.
I get that safety is a huge concern for everyone, but listen, we’re on a whole new frontier here. It’s easy to get distracted – which is actually part of the reason autonomous cars are so appealing sine they would eliminate that human element and more. So let’s think about it logically.
We’ve already said that technology advances rapidly. More so than anything else we’ve ever seen the likes of. The advanced systems and software that will be implemented to make self-driving vehicles and emotionally responsive controls, etc. are not unlike their counterparts in your home PC.
Let’s not forget that PC became a laptop. And the laptop became a tablet. And the tablet a PDA. PDA a cellphone. This was easy and logical for us because the people that made the new versions were the same that made the old ones. In fact, they were made of the same parts.
Now those fine folks over in the technology department, they’ve been making this stuff for a long time, and they are good at it. They know how to test it and tweak it into perfection. Autosoft is one of the fastest growing, foremost insiders to the technology stages of automobiles.
But the amazing folks in the auto shop – they haven’t. They’ve been busy building cars. Yes, cars do have their own computer parts which the automakers are just as familiar and expert with. But they aren’t familiar with Technology’s part in this. At least not in the same way. And automakers have a way. That way is AutoSoft Services. Our trusted team can handle any Android related car technology issue.
Adaptation, the key. Survival, the prize.
The challenge begins there. Automakers, staunch believers in the serial testing strategies, are having to learn new all-kinds-of-things. Not that Technology plans on leaving them behind. They just can’t help running ahead. To implement any of this otherworldly not-so-distant future of personal travel, a myriad of testing will have to be done.
Technology has this in the bag. After all, they built it. They know how to test it. But for Automotive it means creating a new industry standard, and one that will match that of the Federal Government, who believe you me, is more concerned about the safety aspects than you or I.
And that’s where we have to leave it. It’s complicated. It’s going to take some time, and as much as I would love to “drive-not-drive” myself to the next CES, I’m just not sure that’s going to happen. Like so many other mysteries of my lifetime, the answers will just have to wait.
Perhaps when my 9-year-old son is pushing 40 he can “not-drive” himself to the nursing home to play some Minecraft: The Golden Years with me.
If Karl Benz could see us now.