Whether you were at NAIAS, CES, or keeping up with the headlines from afar, I’m sure you were aware that connected cars and autonomous driving stole the spotlight at both influential trade shows this year. At CES, BMW, Nissan, Audi and Hyundai showcased their autonomous vehicle prototypes, while technology companies like Apple and Google dipped their toes in the automotive industry, competing to create the first completely driverless car. The following week at NAIAS, automakers again pulled out all their cutting-edge models, full of connective functionally.
One blaring trend I couldn’t help but notice was the overwhelming amount of smart home and personal assistant technology embedded into automobile cockpits. For example, Ford officially announced its integration with the Amazon Echo, allowing drivers to use voice commands to seamlessly order items on Amazon, play audio books, and search for destinations. The implementation also allows Ford vehicle owners to start their car, lock and unlock doors, and receive vehicle information from the comfort of their own homes. Nissan and BMW also followed suite by introducing Microsoft’s Cortana to their vehicles. The digital assistant will soon be able to assist drivers with schedules, to-do lists, news and destinations.
Perhaps the most futuristic concept I saw was Hyundai’s “Mobility Vision” – an autonomous vehicle that docks to your home as an extension and detaches whenever you’d like to leave. To me, the concept seems to reflect the increasingly blurry line between living room and cockpit as the role of the driver continues to evolve with growing autonomous vehicle technology sophistication.
The integration between smart home and smart car during CES and NAIAS this year certainly brings new light to IoT innovation. What was your favorite display of connected car technology at this year’s shows? As IoT, automotive connectivity, and autonomous driving becomes more advanced and innovative, what do you think this shift represents for automotive technology?