News For the Week (#2)
Tech News from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas
Over the past several years, the CES in Las Vegas has become a venue to announce new connectivity platforms and big developments in autonomous tech. This year’s CES was no different and, as our world becomes more connected, the announcements are much less of a view of a far-off ideal as they are about what is actually happening and coming in the next decade or sooner.
Toyota made the most of the show by announcing its e-Palette Alliance from Toyota’s Connected Services subsidiary. By providing a broad-based and interconnected selection of hardware, software, and support, Toyota is ready to help service industries best utilize this technology. Utilizing Toyota’s Guardian safety net to ensure intended vehicle operation, initial launch partners such as Amazon, DiDi, and Mazda have been collaborating on this effort. Toyota’s e-Palette Concept vehicle provides a basis for a modular and easily customizable mechanical and software platform.
For the more near-future consumer market, Toyota unveiled their third generation of automated driving platform with increased vehicle integration and capability.
A long hold out in the Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay world, Toyota announced a collaboration with Amazon’s Alexa and will be integrated on several 2018 models with widespread adoption in 2019.
Ford presented a slightly different view of a connected world. Collaborating with Qualcomm, Ford is developing a Transportation Mobility Cloud which is intended to be a shared platform, even used by other manufacturers, to communicate with devices outside of the automotive world. It seems like less of a proprietary platform as it does a play to sway developers and users.
In the more immediate future, Ford announced that Sync 3 is now capable of working with Waze app, even when using Apple’s iOS. The Alexa app has also been integrated, providing access to thousands of established remote commands and devices.
Jaguar/ Land Rover has even taken third approach to communicate with connected devices throughout the home by utilizing HomeLink Connect, a hardware and software collaboration with major automotive supplier, Gentex.
Mercedes will soon launch its newest platform, MBUX, in the upcoming A-class. Utilizing artificial intelligence, the system will learn the driver’s preference and provide suggestions as well as understand natural speech – think instead of saying, “Climate, temperature to 75 degrees” the system could now determine an action based on a simple and natural sounding phrase like – “I’m cold”. It’s a real step forward in adapting software to work for the human instead of changing the human to work with the software.