The Consumer electronics Show just wrapped up, and not only were there high tech and electronics companies showing their wares, a number of automakers and aftermarket companies were there with stuff to show. No, it isn’t high performance/go fast stuff they’re displaying, but we think some of it was still pretty cool.
Toyota Unveils Toaster-Like e-Palette
Toyota’s e-Palette is part of the companies Mobility Services Platform, which is still ill-defined. They brought their new e-Palette Concept Vehicle to the show. The company calls it part of “a new mobility service business alliance that is designed to meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications.” What that statement boils down to is that in a few years you may see one of these in your driveway, bringing you both that hot and toasty Domino’s pizza and your most recent purchases from Amazon and eBay at the same time.
The vehicle can be built in three lengths of between 12 and 23 feet, depending on the need. They are all-electric transporters built to have low ground-clearance and should perform optimally in urban environments for a variety of business duties. However, the vehicle is only a small portion of a much larger push by the company that encompasses both hardware and software platforms. Toyota says that companies such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut and others are already onboard and assisting with the improvement and development of the concept for their needs.
Autonomous Vehicle Technology Stole the Show
It seems that you can’t take a look at the automotive news without hearing, seeing or reading something about autonomous vehicles. Many of the big names in automaking are teaming up with big names in computer hardware and technology to make autonomous vehicles a reality in our lifetime. Many of the companies working in this field were at CES, many with really cool things on display.
Aptiv and BMW brought a BMW 5 Series that they allowed journalists (and Lyft users!) to take a ride in around the Vegas Strip. Most said it was a very boring ride. Remember, they were strapped in the car, but the car was driving itself safely, “in a boring manner,” around the Vegas Strip. Aptiv is what the mobility arm of Delphi is now known as.
The ability to do this is thanks to more than a dozen sensors strategically and aesthetically placed around the car. Radar emitters, lidar sensors, cameras and more all send signals to a control unit that makes driving decisions in real time. The Aptiv/BMW system lets users select from a list of destinations and watch the progress of their ride on a tablet from the back seat.
Faraday Future Introduces FF91 for Release Late This Year
Faraday Future has been coming to CES for a couple years and has mentioned a few times the past few years that they were going to release a car they called the FF91 that would beat Tesla’s on the track and strip. Now they’re telling us their FF91 will be available later this year, and we have to say that we really hope that’s true, because this car can scream.
Even though the Faraday Future is an all-electric vehicle, drivers will have 1,050 horsepower at their disposal. The company claims this will drive the FF91 to sixty in 2.39 seconds. The Faraday test driver, Robin Shute, took the car up Pike’s Peak recently and said “the acceleration can take you by surprise if you’re not careful. It’s really fun to drive.” Oh, and it’s an SUV.
Ford to Integrate Sync with Waze
Waze is a somewhat new GPS/driving directions platform that is quickly gaining in popularity around the world because its maps can be updated and annotated by users, and anyone on any one map can read the writings and ravings of everyone else using that map. Ford announced at the show that they would be integrating Waze into their Sync 3 infotainment platform in the near future.
They’re not just integrating Waze’s mapping function either. They’re going all out with it. HOV route support, voice activation/control with Talk to Waze and the warnings and updates from other users will all be at your fingertips. Just plug in your phone and run the app through the car’s touchscreen. Ford also said they’re making this upgrade backwards compatible, so almost anyone with a car with Sync can download the update. Ford also showed off integrations with iHeart Radio and WebEx.
Have Alexa in the Car with You
Do you have Amazon’s Alexa and love the ability to turn things on and off, and cue up music and videos just by asking? Some of the engineers at Anker Innovations introduced their Roav Viva, which is a smart charger that integrates Alexa into the charger and gives you handsfree access to playlists, directions and more.
Mercedes Introduces MBUX in the A-Class
Mercedes introduced what they called MBUX, an infotainment system that “brings the user experience (UX) to the fore.” The system is fully voice-activated/controlled and will give you access to music, your phone and driving directions. Mercedes claims that MBUX can be individualized and adapt to suit each user because it has artificial intelligence and will learn your habits over time. Because it’s a connected system, it will also update automatically over the air. Mercedes will couple this with what they call their “high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit,” which has touchscreen operation and nav capability with augmented reality technology to make using the system easier and more enjoyable.