When you discuss the marketing of cars the comparison with the marketing of smartphones keeps popping up. It is inevitable and for a good reason. In May we dedicated an article – Why electric cars are like smart phones – on this subject on this blog.
Cars and electronics have become an inseparable twofoldness these days and in the future their might even come a time when we categorize cars as a special breed of electronics such TVs, audio-equipment and phones. If that will be the case, it is not a surprise, that a growing number of car manufacturers is booking floor space at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. They show new electronic features or even completely new models. Yesterday the CES opened its doors: Traditionally brands such as Samsung take the main stage. This year the new trend is home domotica solutions. E.g. Samsung shows apps which turn your smart TV into a home control center for your heating, lighting and other appliances.
Which car brands are present at CES and what is their news?
For sure Toyota is the biggest head turner with announcement that the Fuel Cell Concept will go on sale next year. According to Toyota it will be reasonably priced and will have a 300-mile range. The car will be launched in California. Toyota has partnered with the University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to help map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations. The collaboration produced a map with only 68 station sites in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, as well as Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. If implemented, the mapped system gives fuel cell drivers a hydrogen station within 6 minutes driving time and could handle a fuel cell population of approximately 10,000 vehicles.
BMW seizes upon the CES to stress their self-proclaimed leadership in car electronics with the announcement of a new electronic car steering system, that is ready for self-driving cars. Further they show an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The app allows the users to connect to their BMW i3 electric vehicle.
Hyundai Motor launched an enhanced version of it Blue-Link telematics platform. The platform is ready for Google Glass and allows the user for instance to start their Hyundai remotely, lock doors, find their car, search for POIs, and call for help in case of an emergency. All with Google Glass.
Mercedes hooks up with Pebble watches : the smart watch for iOS and Android can give information about the fuel level, door-lock status and vehicle location. The driver can customize three buttons on the watch to activate the Digital DriveStyle app, that includes features such as hazard reporting, auto-routing, Siri activation and traffic conditions
Ford is showcasing a C-Max plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that uses solar panels in the roof to recharge itself.
Volvo Car launches Sensus Connect, a cloud based system that offers on-board infotainment and navigation solutions. Pandora internet radio, an American equivalent of Spotify, now comes to your car.
Finally Audi, showed new laser headlights and announced that they are working together with Google to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on the Android mobile platform.
In less than a week time the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will open its doors in Detroit. Although it is still one of the leading motor shows in the world, the CES is emerging as a strong rival to not only NAIAS, but any traditional auto show. As cars will evolve into driving app platforms, the trend of presenting new innovations in an electronics environment will even unfold in the future.