New Auto-Related Technology Debuts at Annual Consumer Electronics Show
Audi Piloted Parking
At the annual CES in Las Vegas, Audi demonstrated its new Piloted Parking technology using a 2013 A7. The fully autonomous, self-driving system was demonstrated in a video that showed the driver exiting the car, executing a smartphone command, and walking away from the vehicle while it drove itself into a parking garage, found an open space, and parked itself. When the owner returned and summoned the A7, it exited the parking garage and stopped to pick up the driver.
Audi and Qualcomm also introduced a new 4G wireless hotspot installed in a 2013 Audi A3. The new 4G Wi-Fi technology pairs with up to eight onboard devices, and powers Internet radio and navigation service. Additionally, Audi used CES to announce new 3-D audio technology, developed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen and Fraunhofer IIS, as well as to display new LED headlight and laser taillight technologies.
Chevrolet highlighted MyLink functions for its least expensive models, the Spark and Sonic. Versions equipped with MyLink now offer a BringGo navigation application, TuneIn Radio access to 70,000 international radio stations, and an application for iPhone users called Siri eyes-free mode. Using an iPhone's Siri personal assistant function, Spark and Sonic drivers can make voice-activated calls, compose text messages by voice, access their iTunes music library, and more.
Chrysler Uconnect Access
Chrysler announced upgrades to the latest version of its Uconnect technology, which debuted in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup truck and 2013 SRT Viper. Starting with those two models, Uconnect Access will offer dealer-activated navigation. If a vehicle buyer declines the navigation option at the time of purchase, they will be able to upgrade later in the ownership cycle. This capability will also be helpful to buyers of used vehicles equipped with Uconnect Access, who might wish to add navigation to the system.
Chrysler also announced a new smartphone application called Uconnect Access via Mobile. This allows a paired smartphone to stream Internet radio through Uconnect Access to the vehicle's audio system. Again, this new app will work first with Ram 1500 and SRT Viper models equipped with Uconnect Access.
Clarion Smart Access
Owners of older models who cannot afford or do not wish to upgrade to a new model in order to benefit from the latest in in-car infotainment can install a Clarion Smart Access aftermarket head unit in their vehicle. The Smart Access systems offer a number of applications, including Clarion's Tweet4car and DriveSuite4car apps. Clarion is working with third-party application developers to expand the number of apps available for its Smart Access systems.
Delphi Connected Car
For 1996 and later model-year vehicles that lack the latest in modern technology, Delphi's new Connected Car technology may be of interest to you. The small device plugs into your vehicle's OBDII port to link with your smartphone. An app allows owners to perform the same security functions as the remote key fob by using the smartphone's screen. Owners can also get remote vehicle health reports, obtain current vehicle location information, set geo-fenced boundaries for the vehicle, and more.
Ford Sync AppLink
Ford announced a new partnership with Glympse to provide voice-activated mobile location sharing via Sync AppLink. When the Glympse application is downloaded to an iOS or Android device, and that device is paired with Sync AppLink via Bluetooth or the USB port, the owner can push the Sync button on the vehicle's steering wheel and say: "Send Glympse." The system will then share the vehicle's location via text, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter, and for a prescribed period of time.
Sync AppLink will also offer a new Kaliki Audio Newsstand app providing news articles read aloud by voice-over artists.
Ford and GM Developer Programs
The new Ford Developer Program designed to encourage software developers to create apps for the automaker's Sync AppLink technology was also announced. Hau Thai-Tang, vice president of engineering, Ford Global Product Development, explains, "Opening the car to developers gives consumers a direct voice and hand in the creation of apps that can help our products remain relevant, up to date, and valuable to our customers."
General Motors announced an interest in having third-party developers create new applications, especially those designed to make vehicle ownership easier, keep older infotainment systems updated across the ownership cycle, and to allow customers to customize their infotainment systems over time. Through a new flexible app framework, developers can work with GM in a secure, controlled environment to create apps compatible with infotainment systems that will be sold in GM's cars, trucks and SUVs starting in 2014.
Hyundai Dragon Drive
Developed for its Blue Link telematics system, Hyundai announced Dragon Drive, an advanced voice-recognition system that provides the capability to issue voice commands using natural, conversational language.
Inrix Parking Technology
City dwellers looking for a close, cheap parking lot that has currently available spaces will likely appreciate new technology created by Inrix. The system integrates with existing data displays inside of the vehicle, and uses on-board in-dash Wi-Fi receivers combined with information from ParkMe and Parkopedia databases to find 18,000 off-street parking facilities in North America and 42,000 lots in 36 European countries. The display shows the name of the parking lot, the price to park there, and how many spaces are available.
Lexus Advanced Safety Research Vehicle
Lexus Advanced Safety Research Vehicle is a 2013 LS 460 outfitted with "an array of sensors and automated control systems," according to the company, and includes high-definition color stereo cameras, front- and side-mounted radar, 360-degree Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) lasers, GPS, an accelerometer, and more. The automaker states that the goal is "to observe, process and respond to the vehicle's surroundings" in an effort to develop "technologies that enhance the skills of the driver."
Mark Templin, Toyota group vice president and general manger of the Lexus Division, said, "We, at Toyota Motor Corporation and Lexus, consider the elimination of traffic fatalities and injuries the ultimate goal of a society that values mobility."
Pioneer announced that it is set to offer a line of single- and double-DIN replacement AppRadio head units so that owners of older vehicles can enjoy a variety of Internet radio stations and other applications. Pioneer is also launching an app developer program to help make its new AppRadio systems the best they can be.
Starting with the 2014 Forester, Subaru will offer its new Starlink mobile application platform, featuring Internet radio, Facebook and Twitter feeds, and other features. Subaru said Starlink will be added to the 2013 Legacy and Outback models mid-year, and will debut on the 2014 versions of the BRZ, Impreza and XV Crosstrek in the summer.