For the past 50 years, the annual Consumer Electronics Show has been showcasing the latest cutting edge products from the technology industry. Here are the most exciting automotive announcements from this year’s show.
The Kia Stinger GT is a RWD missile aimed at the Germans
The Stinger GT is the production model of the Kia GT4 Stinger concept we saw in 2014, although with two more doors and one less pedal than the concept version. The Stinger GT is a gorgeous RWD platform with a 3.3L Twin Turbo V6 pushing 365 horsepower through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes, BMW and Audi have a new competitor to contend with in the performance sedan segment.
Google’s self-driving division is now a separate company: Waymo
After announcing last month that they were abandoning developing their own self-driving vehicle in order to partner with existing automakers, Google has announced that they are spinning their self-driving division out into a completely separate company, Waymo. The new company is currently building 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacificas, which will start road testing in California and Arizona at the end of this month. Unlike the self-driving Lexus models already on the road, all of the self-driving technology in these Chryslers was developed in house by Waymo, from the cameras to the software.
Augmented reality in vehicles inches closer to production
A staple of science-fiction, augmented reality is one of those technologies seemingly just outside our grasp. It’s been seven years Google Goggles arrived on our smartphones, but we still aren’t interacting with the world from behind augmented displays. Harman, Continental, DigiLens and Visteon aims to change that with its Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solution (LIVS), which uses an array of sensors to identify road signs, speed limits, and potential hazards and display the information on the windshield of the vehicle.
Airbag-equipped motorcycle jackets are finally going on sale in the US
These clever motorcycle jackets run 1,000 calculations per second to monitor whether or not you’re getting into an accident. Although they have been available in Europe for a few years, they weren’t sold in the US due to liability concerns until now. If a crash is detected, an airbag inflates that can reduce the force transferred to the body by 90% compared with CE Level 2 armor in standard riding suits. It won’t deploy under 7mph to prevent any unnecessary deployments, and it can even be sent back to the manufacturer to be repaired and rearmed after an accident. Although they are pricey at around $2,000, they make motorcycling much safer, which could encourage more people to ride, saving fuel and alleviating commuting congestion.
Divergent proves the validity of 3D printed cars
Although the buzz around consumer-available 3D printed products has cooled slightly, one company is determined to prove the benefits of using 3D printing technology in automotive manufacturing. Divergent printed an entire concept car out of metal, from the chassis to the suspension components. They are able to produce impossibly intricate shapes to make the strongest and light components possible out of any given material with minimal waste.