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In the past, people used to say that cars were a trend at CES. Now we've passed that phase and cars are quite clearly among the most important products introduced in Las Vegas.
With HERE’s decades long experience in both the consumer and automotive section, it’s a transition that we’re excited to see. Partnerships like those from BMW and Mercedes that we’ve built over the years are now hot topics at the show.
While attending CES for HERE, I was - of course - excited about all the stuff we’re showing but I also had the privilege to see first hand what other innovations are being presented in the car business.
When I asked people at the booth what was the most interesting thing (besides HERE, of course!) they’ve seen at CES, I got an almost unanimous answer: Mercedes’ latest concept car, the F 015.
It’s the car from the future we’ve all been waiting for. The car is completely unlike anything you’ve seen on the road to date, yet it is a clear logical expression of all the ideas about what autonomy will bring to passengers in tomorrow’s cars.
Slashgear points out that the good looks of the F 015 isn’t just the icing on the cake: it is the cake. No-one wants a car that looks like a server room has exploded inside. The cars of the future need to look good and feel better, on top of their functionality. The Next Web said, “If this is what the future looks like, we can’t wait for a ride.”
Of course, this isn’t the first self-driving experiment by Mercedes. Of course, we were happy to work with them on the trailblazing S500…
The second most exciting automotive news from CES is NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 and its plan to revolutionise car sensors. On our stand, you can see how beautifully our next-gen maps can be rendered by the new processor.
The Verge explains that this is leading a lot further, though:
“The other part of Nvidia's car story is detection — sensors being gradually replaced by cameras. That's where Drive PX comes into play — a "supercomputer" with two Tegra X1s that can process 12 cameras in real time. Huang is heavily emphasizing "GPU-accelerated learning" here — which is to say, processor-intensive image recognition. "The beautiful thing about the neural network is that, once you train it, if you ask it 'what's a car?' it'll already know the answer for 'what's an Audi?'”
TechCrunch dived into what this means for future autonomous car models:
“Besides the new dashboard experience, Nvidia also today talked about how its platforms can enable new driver assistance tools. Right now, we are seeing many cars that include radar, ultrasonic sensors and image-recognition technologies. As the company noted, however, radar and ultrasonic sensors are now slowly getting replaced by image-recognition technologies. What used to be only possible with radar can now be done with an array of cameras and computer vision technology.
To get to self-driving cars, cars will have to be able to build a model of the world around it. The car of the future, the company argues, will be a “software-defined car.” All of the cameras around the car will have to be connected to a single platform.”
Our friends at BMW also received a lot of attention, not only for the connected car concept with HERE ;-) but also because of their impressive demo of a car that parks itself and picks you up. You just need a smartwatch. You know, like James Bond.
Speaking of autonomous driving, we can’t ignore Ford. We particularly loved that they care about the experience too (just like we do), not only about the technology.
TechCrunch explains some of the challenges Ford is keen to address:
“But the car industry still faces numerous challenges — not just technological ones, but also cultural ones. Ford, for example, is also thinking about what that experience will look like. Will there still be a place for a performance car, for example? Or how do you keep drivers from getting car sick when they essentially become passengers? And how do you keep those ‘drivers’ from becoming complacent so they don’t miss their queue when they suddenly have to take the steering wheel again?”
image credits: Mercedes, NVIDIA, Motor Trends