Celebrating fifty years of bringing the brightest and best future technologies all in one space, CES 2017 was better than ever before. Artificial intelligence, personalization and autonomous driving developments dominated the automotive news. Here are our top announcements from the show.
BMW’s HoloActiv Touch interface gave us fantasy buttons you could touch in a lounge-like interior
The future of HMI is daring and bold when it’s presented by BMW. This year, the German carmaker was focused more on how the interior of the cabin would be presented in a self-driving vehicle and what occupants would do with their time. The tantalizing HoloActiv Touch presented the driver with holographic switchgear and used ultrasound waves to pulse a physical response to the fingertip after the floating button was selected. The BMW Inside Future interior also featured ergonomic seats with Harman’s individual sound zones technology so passengers could listen independently and privacy during a phone call could be managed. Interestingly, BMW was one of the few car manufacturers to showcase a new technology rather than a complete car at CES 2017.
Toyota’s Concept-i not only looks good, but will also know how we’re feeling
The Toyota Concept-i — designed at CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach with user experience technology input from the company’s Innovation Hub in San Francisco — was created around the philosophy of ‘kinetic warmth’ and features an AI system that anticipates the user’s needs. The Concept-i’s interior is accessed via beautiful scissor doors and is devoid of large screens. Yui, the car’s personality whose name features the kanji for ‘love’, has been configured to start learning about its owner from Day One. Using complex deep learning systems, Yui can recognize emotion and offer a response, such as playing the driver’s favorite track to cheer them up. Toyota aims to humanize the technology to make it more approachable and coupling this with a relaxing autonomous driving mode, complete with seat massager, we were indeed left ‘waki-doku’, or feeling a sense of exciting for driving.
LeEco’s LeSee Pro reimagined the way autonomous electric vehicle interiors would appear
Though launched last year, this was the LeSee Pro’s first showing at CES 2017. One of the prettiest concept cars on show, it features graduated interior modeling, that adjusts to the shape of the occupant and a fully connected infotainment system. This autonomous electric vehicle looks set to challenge Tesla Motors and NextEV if it makes it to production. Chinese company LeEco not only has a product portfolio to rival LG and Apple combined, but also has investments in Faraday Future, and the concept was designed and built in Faraday’s facility alongside the FF91, which also made its long-awaited debut at CES this year.
Hyundai set out its stall for autonomous driving and connectivity
Quietly working in the background on its autonomous vehicle project, Hyundai finally took the plunge to reveal its progress so far. Though the overall autonomous experience is nothing to write home about, the placement of the radar in the Hyundai Ioniq EV was different. By coupling a front bumper scanner, with side radars, the Korean company believe it has managed to eliminate the blindspot at the very front of the vehicle, created by a roof-mounted radar. There’s also a new partnership with Cisco to create a new connected car platform, managing software updates, telematics and personalization.
Volkswagen’s I.D integrated current and future tech in a tidy and trendy EV package
Volkswagen showcased its concept car, the ID, which made its debut at the 2016 Paris show. Shorter than a Golf but with the interior space of a Passat, this electric vehicle has a hypothetical range of 600 kilometers and features a plethora of connected services. From Digital Key, where drivers use their smartphones for entry to the vehicle, to the 3D Digital Cockpit, where two screens create a sense of depth in this sleek HMI, and integrated technologies such as eye tracking, augmented reality heads-up display and a multi-function steering wheel, the I.D. also features Alexa, so on the move, drivers can interact directly with their home system to seamlessly listen to audio, set reminders and check calendar details.
Harman’s Voyager Next brought premium audio and connectivity to entry-level cars
Voyager Next enables car makers to bring the stunning quality audio seen in the likes of the Volvo XC90 with virtual venues technology into a lower-entry vehicle without compromising on playback quality. Voyager Next supports key platforms, like CarPlay and Auto and using digital enhancement combines the technology of two micro subs, with 19 speakers in the center console display surround to make a very clear sound feel much grander than the size of the system would suggest. What’s more, a subwoofer integrated into the trunk space doubles up as a portable speaker to take to the beach or park.
Honda unveiled its ‘Riding Assist’ self-balancing motorcycle (video below).
Honda also showcased a shared vehicle concept dubbed the NEUV (New Electric Urban Vehicle).
Rinspeed created a relaxing rideshare Oasis that we want to ride in immediately.
Carlos Ghosn gave scant details on the new Nissan Leaf, but it is getting ProPilot self-driving system.
Ford brought back AppLink into Sync 3 and launched a new consortium for app development.
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