• Andrew Chilcott

Coolest automotive tech, trends and takeaways from CES 2020: Part 2

Carzaam Automotive News Episode 15: Coolest automotive tech, trends and takeaways from CES 2020: Part 2

Nissan Turns Over a New Leaf

The biggest car debut – of a real car – at CES was the Nissan Ariya. It’s a crossover / SUV intended to replace the 10-year-old Nissan Leaf.

The Ariya is bigger than the Leaf, offers two motors where the Leaf has one, and gets up to 300 miles on a charge versus 225 for the Leaf.

Nissan will use the second generation of its ProPilot Assist self-driving technology, which provides Level 3 hands-off driving for conditional automation and should be priced to start around $40,000.

ProPilot 2.0 is described as Level 3 autonomy, meaning: self-driving on some roads (typically interstates and other limited-access roads), but you have to keep your eyes on the road (and they’ll be tracked by an optical monitor). Most importantly drivers will need to take over control when exiting a highway but also if the car cannot cope with a complex driving situation.

Where the Leaf drives the front wheels only, the Ariya will offer all-wheel drive, with motors both front and rear and the modulated use of regenerative braking will minimize pitch and dive.

Other than Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Nissan Leaf is the best-selling non-Tesla EV in the US, this is despite sales being 60% off their 2014 peak. From Nissan’s perspective The Ariya can’t come soon enough.


Amazon knocks it out of the park at CES2020

Amazon celebrated the start of the new year with a focus on the comprehensive integration of Alexa into the automotive sector and revealed its extensive partnerships with multiple auto manufacturers.

Amazon announced that Alexa would soon be the digital voice assistant for Lamborghini and EV startup Rivian. Lamborghini plans to introduce the built-in Alexa feature in its Huracán Evo model and EV startup Rivian plans to integrate the voice-enabled services in its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

Alexa will allow the driver to make phone calls, get navigation help, play music and also connect to the drivers home Echo device, allowing the user to switch on lights or regulate the temperature.

Because Lamborghini caters to the premium segment and not the mass consumer market, Amazon also launched its pocket-friendly car assistant Echo Auto which is soon to be sold globally.


Cars as pods only as OEMs lose control

A major trend that emerged from CES in Las Vegas this year was the depth of the identity crisis that has hit the auto industry. Toyota openly admitted that it had no idea where its long-term future lay.

“Mobility”, the word carmakers use these days to describe the point of their industry in a future where autonomous robotaxis hold sway, suggests that personal transport will become an undifferentiated utility.

Toyota presented a vision in which cars were reduced to bland pods shuttling people around a smart city. If this is only one element in a bigger urban system, then Toyota has followed the thought to its logical conclusion: it says it will start construction next year on a test city to help shape its future strategy.

The prototype city named Woven City will start with a 175-acre site not far from Mount Fuji in Japan where the automaker used to build cars. Toyota is planning to build an all-encompassing city of the future where the automaker can conduct research right where people live their everyday lives.

Toyota wants to have 2,000 people living in the city full-time once it opens. The idea is to bring together autonomous driving technology, hydrogen fuel cell power production and real-world learning.

Streets will be laid out in a grid and broken into faster vehicles, a mix of lower speed vehicles, personal mobility options (like scooters) and pedestrians, and the third park-like paths meant for pedestrians only.

The buildings in the Woven City are smart and futuristic, as well, connected to an underground delivery network where self-driving robots will deliver goods that the sensors in the homes, or the residents, request.

The connections will be extensive between the people, the buildings and the vehicles. Inside the homes, there will be “in-home robotics to assist with daily living and sensor-based AI for health checks.

Super exciting and I cant wait to visit!


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