The Future of Car Tech and Transportation is Upon Us

The annual Consumer Electronics Show gives us a glimpse into what’s next in automotive technology and innovation, Larry Lantz writes.

By Larry Lantz Wheels.ca

Jan 24, 2018 3 min. read

Article was updated 6 years ago

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the world’s largest technology show, and in the past decade, it has transformed into a showcase for the latest vehicle technologies.

This is no exaggerated claim given that every major automotive manufacturer is represented at CES. Consumer Reports claims that CES is “the auto industry’s favourite showcase for self-driving car technology,” and USA Today has named it one of the “10 best auto shows.”

I attended CES 2018 last week, where automakers and tech firms unveiled their newest gadgets, gizmos, and vehicle technologies. It was dazzling and impressive.

The technologies featured in recent years at CES (and at auto shows around the world) should leave no doubt about the future of automotive technology and transportation.

Although we do not know what type of motive power systems will prevail (electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel, Diesel fuel), or the precise timeline for mass adoption of autonomous vehicles, it is clear that software and services are two of the biggest trends driving the auto industry.

Many of the new products and announcements by automakers and tech firms at 2018 CES confirm this view.

For instance, we saw the debut of Byton’s autonomous EV, a Lexus-based Platform 3.0 automated driving test vehicle from Toyota, Kia’s Nio EV concept, and Nissan’s brain-to-car interface.

Honda, the automaker that I represent, unveiled its new 3E (Empower, Experience, Empathy) Robotics Concept, demonstrating a range of experimental technologies aimed at advancing mobility and making people’s lives better.

2018 CES

Honda also featured its Mobile Power Pack World, which includes a portable, swappable battery pack for light electric products, and a recharging system for use at home, recreation or during a natural disaster.

Toyota launched a unique mobility ecosystem and concept vehicle called e-Palette. It’s a fully autonomous, battery-electric vehicle that will provide advanced vehicle and related mobility services for business applications. Partner companies will be able to install their own automated driving system.

Chipmaker Nvidia announced a partnership with Uber, Volkswagen, and China’s Baidu to increase its presence in the field of autonomous vehicles. New software platforms by Nvidia will allow automakers to create artificially intelligent co-pilots for cars and to use facial recognition to detect a driver’s level of alertness while driving.

In 2016, Korean electronics company Samsung acquired U.S.-based Harman, a global leader in connected car technology, lifestyle audio innovations, and analytics. The now-combined company unveiled a slew of new car technologies, including a Digital Cockpit, a 5-G connection for vehicles that will facilitate faster over-the-air software updates from automakers, and a new partnership to pursue an open autonomous platform.

CES attendees even had an opportunity to experience leading-edge automotive technology on the streets of Las Vegas. Ride-hailing app, Lyft, in partnership with a tech company (Aptiv), offered rides in self-driving vehicles from the Las Vegas Convention Center to various destinations in the city. A driver was present inside the vehicle, along with an ‘in-car host’ to field questions.

2018 CES

For automotive enthusiasts who are interested in knowing more about the latest developments in electric vehicles, autonomous technology, and ride sharing (in addition to great prizes, promotions, engaging speakers, and special events every day), be sure to mark the Canadian International AutoShow in your calendars.

This year’s auto show takes place from Feb. 16-25 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and the theme is The New Movement: How the Auto Industry is reinventing itself.

Buy tickets online at www.autoshow.ca and save 10 per cent up until the day the show opens and avoid the lineups. Family admission passes and group rates are available, along with a special online Super Tuesday ticket giving access to the show on Tuesday, Feb. 20 for just $14.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Larry Lantz is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is a new-car dealer in Hanover, Ont.

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