The Connected Car Expo and the LA Auto Show is at the heart of several freeways where car experts, suppliers, analysts and reporters came together for seminars, exhibits, new car reveals and networking. We noticed some trends and also some news that slipped by major news sources. There will be new Android Auto/Apple CarPlay models, cheaper autonomous chips, more colorful marketing to youth, more entrepreneurs and innovations.
Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
Last year, at the LA Auto Show, there wasn’t a single car that shipped with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The number of models that will have Android Auto or CarPlay are increasing. During a driving demo of the Sensus Connect we learned Volvo expects CarPlay in its XC90 in December of this year, connecting through Sensus Connect. In a interview of Arwed Niestroj, CEO Research & Development NA, Mercedes-Benz, we learned that Mercedes-Benz will introduce Android Auto into its A and B class models first in December. Today, we learned during the Kia Sportage announcement that it will have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage will have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new Buick LaCrosse with an 8″ touchscreen will be outfitted with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay like many of its GM cousins. New options on the new two-door Honda Civic Coupe are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Economical Self-Driving Chips
The hardware for self-driving cars will continue to get cheaper and cheaper. Quanery Energy Systems announced it will debut the world’s first solid state LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor for self-driving cars for less than $1,000 per car. Quanergy’s solid state LiDAR sensor, used for autonomous vehicles, contains an integrated circuit that scans in every direction without any moving parts on both the macro and the micro scale, creating a live 3D view around a car, and detecting, classifying, and tracking objects in the scene.
The Young and Carless?
Automakers, suppliers and service providers are concerned that young people are not getting Drivers’ Licenses or wanting to buy cars. Therefore, they are trying to make cars cool to the younger generations such as the Versa Note Color Studio, that allows Versa Note owners to “make it yours” through an a la carte selection of 13 exterior and interior accent accessories. To illustrate its colorfulness a three Versa Notes were painted by street artists Nissan’s LAAS Street Art Battle.
Hollywood Makes Entrepreneurs Look Good
There are more and more entrepreneurs working on aftermarket connected car devices and services. The city of Los Angeles, remains a creative capital.The packaging of the winners for the top ten startup winners at the Connected Car Expo was large screen cinema at its finest. One participant told me he spent $10,000 to make his video. The videos played homage to Tinsel Town with great graphics, music and sultry voice-overs. There was a close-up of Elio Motors’ founder Paul Elio as he described his dream of a new kind of car. Sober Steering prevents school bus drivers from driving while intoxicated we saw the co-founder and video of bus driver’s using Sober Steering.Then there’s TriLumia that makes solid state laser radar (LiDAR) technologies and smart illumination products in driver monitoring sensing applications that are very small but powerful.
Honk if You Love Towing Apps
HONK Technologies showed Android app version 2.0 for finding, ordering and paying for towing and roadside assistance. The new Android experience centers on a GPS-enabled map, allowing drivers to better view their location and the status of service partners once help has been ordered.
Telematics software supplier AutoNet that provides telematics and remote software products for FCA, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Mopar has been purchased by Lear Corporation. Employees are not sure the reason for the purchase. Lear Corporation is one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems. Lear serves every major automaker in the world, and Lear content can be found on more than 300 vehicle nameplates. It seems like the employees are a bit “leary” of Lear.
Mayor Connects Connected Cars to Transportation Agencies
The Mayor rode to the Connected Car Expo in a semi-autonomous Volvo and will continue to support such technology. The city of Los Angeles has instituted the Coalition for Transportation Technology, an alliance established by the City, Metro, and Caltrans to help ensure that the L.A. region will benefit from the connected and autonomous vehicles.
The only problem is we also learned from KMPG that autonomous cars will mean trillions more miles spent on the road, which probably won’t help the City of Angles’ traffic problems.