Cooley On Cars
Car tech highlights from CES 2015Brian Cooley reveals the automotive technologies that caught his eye at CES 2015.
[MUSIC] VW's had some pretty ghastly cabin tech over the years but they're trying to fix that now. Here's a giant mock up of what's in that. The VW Golf R Touch. Notice the top is about a 12.8 inch master screen with most of your information displayed. Below it would be about an eight inch. It's touch panel. Where mostly, virtual controls will go. This is not unlike what Honda and Acura are doing with two screens, one larger, one smaller, but a very different flavor. And this lower panel, by the way, is indicative of how VW is trying to move to get rid of all switches, and rotary knobs in the car. Those physical, tactile controls from the old days, if you will. It's debatable whether an all touch interface is better, worse. Just a lateral perhaps from the traditional knobs and switches. Also here and related to this, we're looking for who is going to install Car Play, Android Auto and MirrorLink. MirrorLink's more of a dark hoarse. But Volkswagen here talking about moving forward with MirrorLink, which not a lot of other car makers are doing. [MUSIC] Now in addition to all of those touch screen innovations the VW is showing,. There's also a new idea of controlling interface not by touch, but by gesture. This has been tried in the auto industry a couple times we've seen it here at CES before, it keeps getting better and we're getting to the point where it seems to be nuanced enough. Look how this works, there's a sensor here right behind the gear shift that will pick up my hand. The home position to go into gesture mode is to hold your hand there, open, and it'll recognize open fingers. And then you've just got five simple gestures, not a lot of complicated things, you're not gonna to do typing of text in the air or anything. You have a left, a right, you can push down, you can select with your finger like you might imagine clicking on a mouse. Now this is not replacing all the gestures in a car, it's primarily for the more coarse ones or the ones that are very commonly used, volume change, climate change, zoom in and out of a map or go back and forth in a menu to select something on a zone. And this is not set for production any time soon, but we're starting to see how Volkswagen is starting to really think differently about how they do their interface. [MUSIC] You may recall that when GM first brought out built in 4G for the new OnStar I was kind of disappointed. It was mostly a hot spot in your car service, which I don't find that interesting. Now, it's getting more interesting. Unique custom built in services in the car powered by 4G. In this case, here is one called" On Star At Your Service" based on where you are or where you're programmed to go in the nav rig. They're going to come with offers that supposedly are going to be smart based on where you're going and also based on your interest. They're playing my tune they're showing a demo here of Duncan Donuts coupon here on end. It would also work with RetailMeNot, the big online discount coupon site, to bring those offers in. Based on where you are and where you're going, you could also book a hotel at the last minute while you're driving along, through Priceline. So in that case you do get an operator involved. Now the devil's in the details of course. How well this is elegantly executed. How well it's customized to what I'm really doing and not just nagging me. We'll see when this hits the market how well they've worked those nuances. But let me also show you how they want to use 4G to make you a better driver. Now this one's called Smart Driver Assessment. What this does is to utilize the 4G connection. In the car to harvest all kinds of data points about how you drive and do so for a long time. 90 days is the snapshot they take, that's not even a snapshot, that's a big look. That is cloud service processed by OnStar, and after 90 full days of you allowing the service to. See how you drive and then they send you a report. They e-mail it to you, as well as giving you tips along the way through the vehicles interface, how you could drive better. It could be braking, steering, exhilator behavior the way you travel at a certain speed, in a certain zone. That's one part. Then, if you agree to, and only with your permission, they can upload that to, at this point, one insurance company, to qualify you for an insurance company. Now this is getting into the area of pay as you drive or usage-based. Insurance. You don't need a 4G connection for that. A lot of the insurance companies will give you a wireless dongle that goes in to your OBD II port, but this is making it more integrated into the vehicle and using the 4G to a cloud service to really crunch a lot of data about how you drive, not just some nuggets. Consumers were wary of pay-as-you-drive a few years ago, but the trends have been getting pretty healthy. A lot of folks think," You know what, if I can get a meaningful discount. [MUSIC] I'm willing to let it happen. [MUSIC] Now, let's talk about something interesting on CarPlan Android Auto. Now, here at Hyundai they're doing something a little different, as they roll out, start getting it in the showroom. With most car makers you buy a car that already has nav, and elaborate media, and all of that, and then you add car player Android Auto to it. And you got some duplications. You feel like, maybe, you're paying for more than you need. Hyundai's got an interesting strategy they've announced here. Starting in their sixteen model year cars they're going to have this fairly basic display audio system. Here, they're trying to pin it down, and bring the cost down. If you don't have a phone plugged in, it's pretty basic, AM/FM, bluetooth steaming, and calling, and that's really all the bells and whistles. But then when you plug in your smartphone and or iOS, it pulls up CarPlay or Android Auto, and brings in all that incredible richness. You didn't buy it two or three times. Those functions are only coming from your phone. So you're really leveraging the services and connections of your phone in a less duplicative way. And not redundant with what the car maker has in there as well. It's kind of very efficient and elegant. This allows them to move it to a lower price, what they think is gonna apply to 60-plus percent of their sales volume in the '16 model year. We gotta wait a little while for this one. In the meantime, by mid 2015, Hyundai will roll out CarPlay and Android Auto, but stacked on top of head units that already have their [UNKNOWN]. Have an app. [MUSIC] Now here at CES, Tim Stevens and I just posted a really good NetSpeak thing panel on virtual and augmented reality. And one of the areas where I'm most excited about, AR, Augmented Reality, is coming up in cars, especially in these head-up displays that are getting very popular. This one doesn't just show you information statically on the windshield, or through the windshield, it's puts it in context on the road. Let me tell you what I'm seeing here. There's a warning about a car that just crossed my path, and the warning followed the car. As I go along now, I'm getting indication about lane drift, and it's putting a colored line right on the lane where I'm drifting. There is the traffic signal right in front of me, perhaps I didn't look up and see the traffic signal that is put in front me so I don't miss the red light. Here comes the car cutting me off, rat bastard, and the vehicle showed me the corner of the car to really emphasize that's where the impact point. Might be coming. Here's a navigation prompt showing me what exit to take and it's kind of like that Fidelity advertisement. It's putting in this case a blue line on the road. Now none of this has come into production tomorrow. This is pretty elaborate stuff in terms of projection, technology, and of course making sure that data is right. So it's not giving you any. Any false cues. That matters when you're on the road. But I'm glad to see AR come into cars. I can barely think of a place where it matters more. [MUSIC] BMW showed new ways to use laser headlights. Aside from reaching 1,800 feet, they can elaborately beam shape so you can stay on high beam, while making cut outs in the projection to avoid oncoming drivers. These lights can work with a nav system to spill light out where the car is going next. Even before the wheel turns. They can work with the driver assist cameras to call out pedestrians and animals on the side of the road by lighting them. And BMW showed tail lights that used OLED technology. For extreme flexibility of the light itself, but also flexibility in the pattern by which it illuminates. Nice Even if this tech were ready today though, US regulations lag far behind it in terms of approval. [MUSIC]