Here are some of the eyeball-grabbing automobile innovations that might catch your fancy
The stark reality that is facing the automobile industry is that the buzz around Auto shows around the world is dropping. Notable industry leaders are giving flagship auto shows a miss. As technology and electric mobility are slowly taking over the innovations in the auto industry, tech shows have emerged as a new destination of choice for auto-makers. Take for instance the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, United States America (USA). For the past few editions, auto companies are making a beeline for Nevada in the US to show off the latest technology in their vehicles. So much so, that some are already calling CES, ‘Cars Electronic Show’.
This year too, there were many eyeball-grabbing automobile innovations on the show floor. Here are some that might catch your fancy.
Buzzing with electricity
Electric mobility is considered the future. So, it’s no wonder that the CES had its fair share of electric vehicles on display. Among the major companies that showed off their wares, Nissan took the covers off the long-range version of its electric Leaf. The new Leaf has a range of over 363 km. That’s a comfortable intercity drive without having to stop and recharge.
Motorcycle company Harley Davidson came out with some details about its all-electric motorcycle, the LiveWire. And knowing that this bike comes from Harley Davidson, it isn’t going to struggle for power, with the company saying it can sprint to 100 kmph in less than four seconds. It is also said to have a range of about 177 km.
Big screens anyone?
Drivers and passengers alike love to have a futuristic, snazzy infotainment display in their cars. Apart from just the central console, a lot of luxury cars now use LCD screens for driving information displays too. But electric car startup Byton has taken this to a whole new level. The company showed off a part of its SUV, whose cockpit boasts a 48-inch screen display. Yes, you read that right. Something the size of a living room TV is now in a car. And not just that; the steering wheel also gets touch controls for the driver to be able to play with this massive display, among other controls. The SUV, called M-Byte, is expected to debut later this year.
No more driving?
Self-driving or autonomous technology has been around for a while, with many tech and transport majors testing it actively. While it was common to hear of it for cars, BMW, at this year’s CES, showed us a self-driving motorcycle. BMW has been working on this for a while now, and the company said that it is being researched to develop rider-assistance systems.
Well, not in the exact sense of the phrase. But Ducati, Audi, and Ford talked about a technology called ConVeX, a system that allows vehicles to communicate with each other. This technology can help vehicles warn others about hurdles or impediments on the way and can warn drivers of the same. The auto companies have partnered with chipset-maker Qualcomm to develop ConVeX and will try and deploy this technology commercially.
Audi has partnered with Disney to bring Virtual Reality-based entertainment to the passengers in the car. The VR experience is synced with the movement of the car — acceleration, turning, braking, etc, to help immerse passengers completely into the entertainment experience. So pretty much every car ride can turn into an adventure. This technology will most probably make it to other automobile manufacturers as well, and we can’t wait to see it hit Indian shores — with all our potholes and wild traffic, the adventure is bound to be a lot crazier.
Uber is already working on mobility in the air to beat traffic congestion, but what we saw at the CES is straight out of the future. Bell, which is working with Uber, showcased a prototype of a flying taxi with vertical landings and take-offs called the Bell Nexus. The propellers on the Nexus look like they are straight out of an Avengers movie (those bid rotors that are maneuverable in different directions to power flight). The Nexus uses a hybrid electric system, so it makes less noise and will also be power-efficient. It is touted to go live in service by 2023. Not too long a way off.