The global technology event CES held each year at Las Vegas has become the largest and most important annual tech event of its kind. Initially filled with TVs and computers, the show is now host to mobile phones, tablet PCs, smart watches and of course cars. Electronics in cars has increased over recent years to such an extent that manufacturers are keen to use a tech fest event like CES to strut their stuff. This year is no different, with the likes of BMW, Toyota and KIA each using the event to demonstrate autonomous driving tech. There’s also a newcomer receiving a great deal of media attention without actually delivering anything at all to date. However, all that is due to change tomorrow when Faraday Future finally promises to reveal what their skunkworks-esque team has come up with and it should be interesting to say the least.
Faraday Future Reveal
As mentioned, this is possibly the most hotly anticipated reveal CES 2016 is likely to provide. Not a huge amount is known about the highly secretive company but they have alluded to a few different things, getting people’s imaginations running wild. The limited information given and only a handful of the company’s known employees roster has been enough to create media pandemonium, comparisons to Tesla Motors, electric and autonomous car theories and so on. All will be revealed tomorrow but the company has offered a TINY glimpse at what it might be – a four wheel car! The screenshots below were taken from their 10 second tease video posted to their twitter account and offer little clue as to the official reveal so we’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s to hoping that it isn’t a disappointment or a massive marketing hoax! You can watch the FF reveal live here: http://faradayfuture.com/ces2016
BMW Display Electric Car Tech
BMW are once again using CES to display a host of various technical electrical wizardry aimed at the future car. The first of which is a new gesture based (think waving in the air) control system for in-car entertainment and the like – possibly of huge use for people with long legs and short arms, who are unable to reach dashboard mounted buttons without leaning forward. The new tech is called AirTouch and hopes to help reduce the need for drivers to glance away from the road to use a control. Other tech the company will likely reveal will include autonomous driving capability, under the guise of, “future driving experience” and, “future mobility solutions”.
Toyota Self-Learning Mapping Tech
Not quite the autonomous driving you would likely expect, Toyota have (again) taken a different tack and looked at how they can use data gathered from autonomous cars, their GPS systems and cameras. The latter two technologies will be standard issue on autonomous cars and so using the data they record makes a lot of sense. Put it this way, Google wouldn’t have needed their own fleet of StreetView cars had there been autonomous cars on the road. Toyota’s idea then, is effectively to gather data from autonomous cars and their cameras and positioning to create a live and constantly updated Google StreetView equivalent. The tech is slated for 2020, but the idea is there and would make storing offline (and often out of date) maps a thing of the past.
KIA Launches Autonomous Driving Tests
KIA has had an amazing run recently, with some truly excellent cars that are worthy of award, not to mention their ever excellent 7-year warranty. The Soul EV is a superb first attempt at an electric car with so much right about it. KIA has also introduced a few hybrids to their appealing range and now they’ve revealed their autonomous driving intentions too. Their engineers must be busy! Just before Christmas, KIA announced they would have a fully autonomous car on the market by 2030, autonomous tech in cars by 2020 and public road testing permission has already been granted for 2016 in Nevada. At CES, more will be revealed as well as details of their plan and likely some connected car technology thrown in for good measure too.
Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman, board of management, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, will deliver a keynote address at the upcoming CES 2016 and will take to the stage to launch an all-electric concept car while focusing his remarks on electric mobility driving the automotive market. The concept has been self-heralded as, “ground breaking” by Volkswagen and so should be expected to either have extended electric range, autonomous driving or supremely rapid charging ability akin to that shown off with Porsche’s superb Mission E electric concept. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see all these technologies in a near production ready machine. Rumour has it the company will reveal a long range microvan concept; think VW Campervan/Citroen C4 Picasso and that’s about as far as the indistinct concept teasers go. The name looks to be BUDD.E and may hint at autonomous features, perhaps in a humourous nod to the Disney/Pixar film Wall.E – the story of a robot left to cleanup planet earth autonomously.
Check here for the Live feed: http://volkswagen.gomexlive.com/vw_live_pk/
Mercedes-Benz and more Autonomous Cars
Mercedes has always been a pioneering company when it comes to innovation and they’ve been no stranger to autonomous driving over the past few years, coming up with concepts like the F 015 (short for future concept number 15, perhaps). It was a concept that broke the mould and introduced the appealing idea of a lounge on wheels. They weren’t the first to offer this up, but in an overall package the concept shone in many respects and looked more like a finished product than a concept, although with weird and whacky lighting. Mercedes are likely to offer a good deal of in-car tech to separate themselves from competing brands who will use CES to demonstrate their autonomous tech.
Nvidia on Autonomous Cars
Yep, more autonomy here, starting to see a trend yet? Glance at your computer spec and the chances are it will have Intel, AMD and/or Nvidia. The latter is best known for their graphics cards but at CES 2016 will reveal their take on autonomous cars, perhaps with a logical offering of image processing for all the sensors and cameras used to make the tech possible. Whatever it is they’ve come up with though, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be innovative and relevant to the forthcoming mad dash of car manufacturers chasing the autonomous dream.
Other Auto Tech Announcements
CES 2016 has broadened its automotive exhibit floor space by 25% compared to last year. As well as the above, Audi, Chrysler, GM, Ford and Hyundai are all going to be at the show and for the first time Delphi will celebrate its 20th anniversary with its first concept car at CES.