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Connected Car Expo Shows Technology for the Next Level of Mobility

Connected Car Expo Shows Technology for the Next Level of Mobility

By Philly Murtha, November 18, 2015

Exhibits and discussions about technology, innovation, and the future of self-driving cars were featured during the 2015 Connected Car Expo that preceded press days at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public on Friday, Nov. 20.

During this year’s Expo, software developers, engineers, auto designers, and automaker and supplier representatives shared their latest research and insights about where the auto industry is heading—especially with semi-autonomous and self-driving vehicles. As many as 100 exhibitors displayed and shared their latest innovations, apps, and solutions in the burgeoning field of automotive technology.

John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, a ride-sharing company, gave the keynote address, highlighting elements of the business and its ride-sharing app that appeals to Millennials who may not want to own or drive a vehicle. He pointed out that it may cost as much as $9,000 annually to own and operate a vehicle, while a Lyft customer who spends an average of $9 per ride can take 1,000 rides for about the same cost. This is one wave of future transportation.

The desire for mobility options will present huge opportunities for new entrants and business models in the auto industry, according to an auto research official from the accounting giant KPMG. The representative told participants at the Expo that self-driving cars and ride-sharing services like smartphones and consumer behavior will change the automotive landscape and will impact all age ranges—from 45-75 year olds to even 10-15 year olds.

Meanwhile, other representatives from Google, Edison Research, Uber, and many other firms, including J.D. Power, were there to discuss the changes in vehicles of the future, self-driving car projects, and how these technologically conversant vehicles will fare with hacking and car cybersecurity, among topics.

Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti got a taste of the automotive future when he rode to the Expo in a Volvo XC90 electric SUV with semi-autonomous features. In the next 5 to 10 years, the mayor sees these future cars helping commuters in L.A. traffic, according to several reports. The car did the steering and braking.

Automakers also introduced some of their own connectivity innovations at the Expo. A few included:
  • Ford launched an app that will let users remotely lock, unlock, start, or locate their vehicle using their smartphone as a new Sync Connect feature. The new feature will even allow car owners to remotely start their car to cool it down or warm it up before heading to work.
  • Volvo displayed its "Pilot Assist" autonomous feature that is an add-on to the XC90 at around $1,200. Pilot Assist is adaptive cruise control that has automatic steering at speeds up to 30 mph. On the highway, the SUV accelerates and slows down automatically when there is a car in front.
  • Hyundai showed a new Virtual Guide that includes a Vehicle Manual and Diagnostics app that will be available later this year.

A few more highlights from the Connected Car Expo:

  • OnStar representatives demonstrated connectivity, including 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and Apple Car Play interface.
  • Garmin showed its latest aftermarket infotainment systems, automotive cameras, wearable technology, and navigation products.
  • WhiteCryption demonstrated app security tools for software self-defense to ensure data is not compromised in a vehicle.
  • Faurecia, an interiors supplier, working with Stanford University’s Center for Design Research, featured its latest research and new approaches on how to mitigate car sickness in self-driving cars. Improving the safety of occupants with additional screens for traffic also was presented. An active wellness system that monitors feedback from passenger behavior is being demonstrated at the show.

As part of the Expo, 10 startups with promising inventions for the industry were featured. These start-ups included Capio, a company that develops speech-recognition tools that can be used for voice-activated controls in a vehicle, and Quanergy, a firm that builds 3-D real-time mapping and object-detection software to use in self-driving cars.

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