It can still compete in terms of aesthetics, but in every other department, James Bond's automotive brand of choice is slipping further and further behind the competition. However, all of that is expected to change in the year ahead, starting with CES where the company is tipped to present its first connected car concept.
No stranger to the event, or to wowing the crowds with autonomous technology, Audi is tipped to unveil a new flagship A8 luxury sedan complete with a production-ready version of its piloted driving and remote parking systems.
The Swiss design studio is showing an autonomous car concept called the Etos. Based on the BMW i8 it even has its own drone that can take to the sky to check out the road ahead or be sent out for pizza when stuck in traffic. Of the decision to debut the car at CES rather than at the Geneva Motor show, Rinspeed's owner, Frank M. Rinderknecht said: "The major and especially the disruptive innovations in future automotive engineering will come from the digital realm. That is why all major manufacturers and suppliers are now present at the CES Consumer Electronic Show."
The company that created the i8 is expected to unveil a drop top counterpart at this year's show. But as well as being more dramatic, the Spider is also expected to showcase BMW's connected car technologies.
The German automotive supplier will be showcasing a number of new autonomous and connected car innovations at CES. One of the most intriguing is a crowd-sourced take on finding a parking space. "With the help of sensors, cars identify and measure the gaps between parked cars as they drive past them. The information they record is transferred to a digital road map," explains Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. This map can be used by other cars to automatically find an empty space nearby and, more importantly, one large enough to fit their vehicle.
The tire maker and component supplier will be giving real-world demonstrations of its Dynamic eHorizon connected car platform that, in Continental's own words, lets you see around the corner. "Predictive driving is safe driving. This is what any driver learns in driving school. However, there are situations - for example an accident behind the next curve - which cannot be detected early enough by the human eye or the vehicle's sensors," said Ralf Lenninger Head of Innovation, System Development and Strategy.
Rumours are flying that a new car based on its iconic Microbus will be unveiled in Las Vegas; however, all VW will say is that it will be a "completely new concept car" and that it will mark "The beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility."
Alongside the car, VW is giving one of the event's key note speeches and demonstrating near-future connected car technology and user interfaces that integrate gesture and voice commands as well as touches and swipes. — AFP Relaxnews
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