CES 2014 - Car Innovation Roundup

Canada

This week over 150,000 attendees gather in Las Vegas for Consumer Electronic Show Las Vegas (#CES2014). This year at CES, the biggest buzz has been around car innovation and technology. A record number of more than 125 auto technology companies exhibited innovations such as self-driving cars, clean energy solutions, and the car as a mobile technology platform.  I'm a huge car enthusiast, so I've rounded up some of the top innovations so far.

1.  Audi AG

Ruper Stadler, chairman of Audi AG, gave an impressive keynote on Monday and showed off Audi’s piloted driving technology, the Z-Fast Piloted Driving System, otherwise known as the self-driving car. The electronics of this system is smaller than an iPad and can process 2.5 billion inputs per second, which is a TON for its size. To further deepen the  company's existing relationship with Nividia, the Z-Fast continues to incorporate Nividia’s multi-core mobile chips. Audi promises that this technology will materially move forward their vision of enabling the connected driver to automatically and effortlessly navigate parking and traffic.

image via imore.com

2.  BMW

BMW presented its version of the self-driving car, which was a modified 2-series coupe. Using 360-degree radar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras, the car is able to navigate and adapt to surroundings. What is most impressive is the fact this vehicle is able to boot around a racetrack, slalom around cones and even drift around corners without any driver intervention. Watch the magic happen below in this MUST see video:

3. Toyota

Toyota showed two new electric concept cars. First is the iRoad, a personal mobility concept car which is very narrow at only 33.5 inches wide! To put this in perspective, the average doorway is 27" wide. It is perfect for getting around in highly dense urban environments such as Japan and it's 100% electric. Featuring only three wheels, this vehicle makes three-point turns a cinch. The two front wheels power the car.

The second concept car is more suited to North American environments. It is a hydrogen fuel cell car that powers an electric motor. You can refuel the hydrogen fuel cell in less than five minutes, it has zero emissions and a range of 480 kilometers.

image via driving.ca

4.  Mercedes

Mercedes announced they are working computer systems that learn how you use your car. Their future cars will make use of a variety of sensors to enhance and simplify the driving experience, and even make driving safer. For example, the system can take a variety of inputs from the user such as family size, home and work addresses and driving habits over time.  When you get in your car in the morning, the system can present the driver with a number of options and automatically plan your driving routes to avoid traffic.

5.  Hyundai

Hyundai announce that its all-new 2015 Genesis will integrate with Google Glass. There is a definite trend when it comes to wearable technology, from health and fitness to other applications including the connected car. Hyundai has had the Blue Link services since 2012, which is similar to GM’s OnStar service, which enables drivers to get roadside assistance and diagnostics on their car. The Google Glass app will give you access to things like temperature controls, recommended routes to work, and which nearby gas stations offer the cheapest fuel.

image via amazonaws.com

6.  Ford

The most impressive announcement from Ford is the 2014 Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car. They have taken 1.5 meters of solar energy panels that can generate 300 watts of power and placed on the roof of the vehicle. They have implemented a solar concentrator to magnify charge efficiency in order to achieve 100% recharge of the C-MAX battery while on the go or parked. Check out this video to see how it all works.

With all these new computer systems being built just for cars, I would have no doubt that soon telematics or usage based insurance technology will come standard as I predicted earlier. This type of insurance is already offered in Canada and the US but requires custom installation of the telematics technology.

Let me know what you think of these new innovations in the comments below. Do you think they will help simplify your lifestyle as promised by these car companies?