The new partnership: cars and CES.
The annual International Consumer Electronics Show, CES, welcomed new partners – car makers. Audi, Ford, BMW, Toyota and Tesla, among others, all had big reveals at the the Las Vegas show, which was held in earlier this week.
Audi may have made the most dramatic entrance; it had an A7 drive on autopilot from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. Business Insider reported that the autonomous system “allows the car to change lanes and speed ahead of other vehicles but works only up to a speed of 70 mph.” The cars had someone sitting in the driver’s seat, along with a professional test driver in the passenger seat.
Ford’s new plan
Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co, gave the opening keynote address, announcing Ford’s new Smart Mobility plan. This is a plan to solve “global transportation challenges” by using “connectivity, mobility and big data.” Fields also said Ford is developing a fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid.
Smartwatch valet parking
BMW demonstrated its Remote Valet Parking Assistant, using a smartphone app to retrieve a parked car from a garage. According to Forbes, the car, a BMW i3 electric car, “is equipped with four laser scanners on each side of the car. BMW also needs a map of the garage. From there, the car’s algorithm can sift through the map and the information coming off the sensors to find a parking spot.” Of course, in NYC, the BMW would also have to figure out parallel parking in tight spots.
Sharing the hydrogen wealth
Toyota, which has been working on alternative fuel vehicles announced that it is making patents available to other automakers to develop of hydrogen fuel cell cars. According to the LA Times, “Toyota will make 5,680 patents available to automakers to build and sell their own fuel cell vehicles. Parts suppliers, energy companies and bus manufacturers can also use the patents, which remain royalty-free through 2020.”
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell car, Mirai, will be offered for sale in US starting in fall.
Tesla Model X was displayed in the Panasonic booth at CES. The Model X crossover is expected for 2016