Automobiles

Cooley's top tech from the LA Auto Show (CNET on Cars, Ep. 101)

If you're going to the show -- or can't -- here's the tech you need to check.

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I just finished scoping the floor of the LA Auto Show before it opened to the public and while everyone else will be covering it as a bunch of cars, I see it as a bunch of cool technologies. A few themes jumped out at me:

  • I have been a doubter of goofy little carts and other micro-vehicles like Ford's Carr-E, but I'm starting to think they have a role. It may not be so much in the world we live in right now but in the coming era when cars are increasingly the antagonist and using them conveniently door to door is made harder.
  • We haven't reached the peak of ride share and car share innovation: There were almost as many apps and services in that category as new cars on the show floor. Everything from ride share for women to WaiveCar free ad-supported car share was on being talked about at LA - right alongside the cars they hope to disrupt or replace.
  • Honda is seldom the leader in cabin tech, but its Acura side has finally seen the nuttiness of its button-crazy ways and well show you a much cleaner visual interface coming to their cars soon that other carmakers might learn a thing or two from.
  • My favorite car of the show was the Ford EcoSport and not because its name makes any sense: It's pronounced ECHO-sport even though Ford's EcoBoost is pronounced ECO-boost. Nobody at Ford could explain that to me but what doesn't need explaining is the car's admirable combination of tech, packaging, utility and perky good looks that make it the most relevant new car of the show.