Las Vegas, NV, by Py Pai - 2014 for CES Las Vegas is a major year for the car manufacturers and technology integrators. Right before the show, Google, Intel, Nvidia, GM, Audi and other companies announced the new partnership of Open Automobile Alliance. From the outset, it seems that the technology companies and hardware companies are finally closely collaborate with the car manufacturers to bring the leap-bound mobile technologies and designs to the automobile world. We tried to find more information at the time, but it was no avail. From the general description, it seems that there are several layers of integration, which ranging from interface to deep integration down at the component level. We are happy to see that this is trending to a consolidation state. We are also sure that the announcement was in part a response to the heavily rumor-milled Apple mobile platform for cars. However, it was all a blur for anyone to see right now. It's like VHS vs Beta war again soon.
On the flip side, it's a good movement, because in the past several years, car manufacturers were busy building their own subsystems to enhance driver experience especially in the user interface part. They would like to pile on more buttons and screen size and choices to the operation console. They are smart designs but they are not intelligent per se. They tend to leave a lot of room for the driver / passenger to operate. The ultimate design should be minimal or no user interactions. However, until that day comes, we sure like to see Apple and Google come up decent designs to help guide the car's console usability and functionality to a well balanced diet of buttons and screens.
Ford had their newest and brightest star this year, 2015 Ford Mustang on display.
At the same time, BMW has invested a lot of money and resources to impress the attendees with their electrical cars. They could be seen all over the place especially around the Las Vegas Convention Center, as they took attendees to experience their cars in person. They might have contributed a bit more local traffic problems, but at least they are not generating emissions at the spot.
Audi always have a flash display that makes you feel like you have ascended to the bright heaven. None the less, their sleek cars still attract tons of interests on the floor.
One hot item in this year's CES automobile technologies is contact less power charger. Practically, you put your phone on the central console and it would automatically start charging your phone. There are newer models that have built in contactless charging system already. Combined with bluetooth technologies, we may finally be free of cords to really enjoy the interior of the car.
Mazda was up in full gear with their human technologies that allow user to be more conveniently control the car's various console functions, like calls, stereo, navigation system, and others. They look nice, but we yet to see how they really perform or distract when the rubber meets the road.
KIA was not letting other car makers dominate their console technology displays. They also showcased their systems with their touch of designs.
However, Toyota's focus was not totally on the console competition. They brought in several concept cars as well as their fuel efficient technologies to the show. It's definitely a refreshing theme that got different attentions.
Besides the new 2015 Ford Mustang, Ford also introduced a solar power sufficient electrical car. They touted that the electrical car does not need to plug in and instead draw power from the solar energy under a structure. It's definitely interesting, but right now it's a concept car. According to every PR person in the industry, a concept car is just a concept car right now. We sure hope that this comes to the fruition soon, because the climate impacts seem to be getting bigger and bigger now.