CES: Driverless Cars Are Coming; Ready or Not?

Automotive technology appears to be evolving at warp speed and the impact these advances will have on glass will be big. The vital relationship between technology and glass has never been more apparent than at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week where automakers and companies are launching driverless cars, a stream of gadgets to control your vehicle, haptic feedback dashboards and more. Here’s a look at some of the top news.

Audi showed off its “self-driving car,” the A7 3.0 TFSI quattro piloted driving concept. The car traveled 560 miles from Silicon Valley, Calif., to Las Vegas for the show, mostly by piloting itself on highways.

“The car is becoming a mobile device on four wheels. Connectivity is the key to the future and a crucial area of our development work,” said Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for technical development at Audi.

And though the “self-piloting” vehicle is a concept, Audi officials say the sensors used in the vehicle are “close to production” ready and meet “financial targets for inclusion into future products.”

“The concept vehicle utilizes various production-ready sensors as well as sensors integrated into production vehicles today that accurately detect the vehicles surroundings,” according a company statement. “Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and Audi side assist (ASA) long-range radar sensors as well as mid-range radar sensors at the front and the rear of the vehicle that are directed to the left and right of the vehicle provide the vehicle with a 360-degree view of its environment. Laser scanners are integrated into the front single-frame grille as well the rear bumper to provide additional detailed recognition of static or dynamic objects.”

Several cameras are used to help the vehicle “see” its surroundings.

“Four smaller cameras at the front and rear of the vehicle provide short-range information of the surrounding environment. The hi-resolution, wide-angle 3-D video camera, which will first see production in the new Audi Q7, observes the surrounding traffic surrounding the vehicle,” according to the automaker’s statement.

Company officials boast the car can initiate lane changes and passing maneuvers as well as accelerate and brake independently.

“Before initiating a lane change to the left or the right (on U.S. highways), the vehicle adapts its speed to surrounding vehicles. If the speed and distance calculation is deemed safe, the vehicle initiates the lane change with precision and in a timely manner,” according to a company statement.

Though Google has been eyeing driverless vehicles a while, Audi is making noises that its version will come to market soon.

Would you like to see the Audi concept in action? Click here (scroll down and look for the video at the bottom).

Meanwhile, Volkswagen offered attendees a glimpse of what a future dashboard may look like.

“The two inventions of the century, the car and the computer, are gradually coming closer together. We need to design future mobility to be even more intelligent and even more networked,” said Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen.

The automaker displayed the Golf R Touch concept vehicle at CES, which features an infotainment system that incorporates gesture control. Would you like to open the sunroof? VW officials say you can do it by moving your hand. Basically, a “gesture control unit,” which features a 3-D camera mounted within the roof lining, gives the driver the option of displaying the sunroof controls on the dashboard screen through a touch.

“A simple hand movement from front to rear then serves to open to the sunroof, while a reverse hand movement from rear to front then sees the sunroof close,” according to a local report.

“The vehicle was created in which nearly all controls are implemented via touchscreens and sensor switches,” according to a VW statement. “Therefore, the Golf R Touch is equipped with three displays: the 12.8-inch high-resolution infotainment system touchscreen; a control center (8-inch with touch feedback) arranged beneath it to control vehicle, climate control and media functions; and an active information display (digitalized instruments, 12.3-inch). The layouts of the central touchscreen and the active info display can be customized rapidly, just as on a smartphone or tablet today. The same is true of the entire color staging in the interior.”

Mercedes-Benz also introduced a futuristic concept driverless car late Monday. The glass in the car appears minimal. To view a video of this car in action, click here and look for the “Featured Videos” box.

How about wearable technology that controls your car? It could soon be coming. Though Audi’s smart watch is in the early stages and it isn’t clear whether it will control vehicle windows, the implications to the automotive glass industry are there. Check out this new technology by clicking here.

So what is going on with Heads-Up-Display technology at CES? SenseDriver Technologies has launched SenseHUD. The device sits on your dashboard and projects your smartphone’s screen onto its own pane of electrochromic glass, according to a report.

This is just a glimpse of the technology announcements coming out of CES. To stay current with the latest news from the event, keep an eye on glassBYTEs.com™.

How do you think technology will impact the automotive glass industry? Are you ready for the changes that will be in store as collision-warning systems, cameras and radars become more popular on vehicles? Do you have a business plan? Email your thought to jreed@glass.com or share them on the glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR™ magazine forum by clicking here.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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3 Responses to CES: Driverless Cars Are Coming; Ready or Not?

  1. krrrruptidsoless says:

    So thieves only have to access a computer now to steal a car. And bugs will finally get revenge for all the windshields they have died on when they cover up all the sensors and cameras wirh bug blood and guts that look at the road. Not to mention weather forming on the cameras and sensors. And when a sensor goes out at a critical moment then what. Will it automatically pull over on the shoulder and call for service.

  2. Pingback: CES: Driverless Cars Are Coming; Ready or Not? | Auto Glass Safety Council™

  3. Pingback: What Were the Top Stories of 2015? | glassBYTEs.com

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