When the Consumer Electronics Show rolls into Las Vegas every year, tech fans think in small terms. There’s a steady flow of microchips, nanotechnology and binary code powering small smartphones and every thinner and lighter laptops.
But, the 2012 CES had technology-stuffed gadgets that weighed as much as a couple tons when you consider the automotive science parking on the vast convention floor. Several automakers introduced both upcoming improvements to current in car technology and glimpses into the distant future of driving. Finally, other accessory companies introduced new gadgets that can be used in any car for more modern motoring.
Before delving into the wheeled wonders of CES, let’s take a moment to urge the international auto industry and the producers of two humongous international trade shows to pull their collective heads from their equally collective behinds. The Consumer Electronics Show (the biggest tech convention in the United States) runs in Las Vegas at the exact same time that the North American International Auto Show plays out in Detroit.
The last I check there were 52 weeks in a year. Take away a few weeks here and there for the holidays and such and there should still be some 40+ weeks available to schedule these two shows in their respective cities. That way, the car-centric news pumping out of both wouldn’t have to compete for your attention.
If anyone responsible for either of these shows should happen to read these words, can he or she explain why these uber shows are scheduled against each other? Until then, we return to Las Vegas…
In a display dominated by the futuristic lines of its Evos concept car, Ford premiered improvements to its Sync in-car app collection. The popular iHeart Radio will be onboard in 2012, delivering more than 800 live broadcast and digital-only stations to Ford AppLink. Accessed using voice commands, drivers can create their own custom selections across 150 different city stations.
Ford also announced a collaboration with Microsoft, Healthrageous and BlueMetal Architects for new in-car health and wellness research. Together, they’re examining how connected devices can help people monitor and maintain health and wellness. The prototype system developed by BlueMetal Architects leverages Ford Sync, Microsoft HealthVault, Windows Azure and other interactive services provides in conjunction with compatible biometric measurement devices.
What does it all mean? Imagine a car that can sense if you’re in cardiac arrest and require help. It could slow itself safely and summon help if you’re incapacitated. Diabetics who could suffer blood sugar related seizers could monitor their levels from the driver’s seat. The applications are limited only by possible ailments.
Not far away from Ford’s show, Kia showed off its Naimo concept electric vehicle compact. Visitors could try out the Kia UVO2 in-car system. UVO 2 offers a very clean, modern touchscreen interface. A central eServices button offers 14 services, including Crash Notification Assist, Roadside Assist, Automatic Diagnostics, Manual Diagnostics, Maintenance, Owner’s Guide, Driving Info, Send2Car, Curfew Limit, Speed Alert, Geo Fensing, Car Care Web and Park Assist.
The star of the auto-themed accessories was Logic3’s new line of headphones, speakers and docks. Of course, it helped that Logic3 had a 2012 Ferrari Scuderia parked amidst its products. The consumer audio manufacturer teamed with the legendary Italian automaker for a new line of elite sound products.
The Ferrari by Logic3 range includes The Ferrari Cavallino Collection. Influenced by the “emotive driving experience of Ferrari’s iconic GT road cars,” the product textures and materials combine with metallic finishes to create a luxury aesthetic.
The Scuderia Ferrari Collection is inspired by the Ferrari F1 team, with each product aspiring to racing lines of elite racing chassis.
Finally, Pioneer had both a tricked out Maserati Granturismo and a 2013 Lexus GS sedan to show off its in-car audio improvements. The company’s new App Radio 2 adds adds compatibility for Android smartphones with links to online radio stations, Pandora and other apps.