The traditional car show is over.
I bring you this news just weeks for the most important traditional car show of the year — officially and modestly named the North American International Auto Show, but commonly called the Detroit Auto Show — kicks off.
This development might have something to do with the demise of the traditional automobile.
For more than a century, personal mobility has been defined by four wheels and an engine.
But the arrival of technologically enabled car-hire services such as Uber, the migration of freedom from the world of horsepower to the online realm (have apps, will communicate — who needs to travel?), and now the advent of Google as an automaker, we’re beginning to see the much-anticipated convergence of technology and transportation.
Glimpses of the future will be available starting next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
CES is conveniently scheduled between the first major US auto show of the season, in Los Angeles, and the Big Boy — Detroit. And while both LA and Motown are important, CES has been steadily demonstrating that it’s where much of real action is in the auto industry, especially an infotainment, connectivity, and new models of getting around emerge.
“Drivers are demanding their cars keep them constantly connected like a smartphone on wheels. In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 per cent of car buyers, more than twice the 14 per cent who care most about horsepower and handling, according to a survey last year from the Accenture consulting firm,” Bloomberg’s Keith Naughton reported.
He added: “As technology trumps horsepower, auto execs are discovering the future of their mobile device depends more on the tech geeks at CES than the gearheads at an auto show.”
The pace of progress is speeding up. If you sit in a car that’s over a decade old, you can experience the change — vividly. Many new cars today feature advanced infotainment systems, wireless high-speed connectivity, and an evolving suite of semi-autonomous driving features.
The car of 10 years ago had few to none of these things.
A decade from now, cars may be capable of driving themselves under controlled circumstances. Connectivity will be a given, and major tech companies, including Apple and Google, could be providing the infotainment interfaces.
CES is where all this is breaking.
Savvy auto and tech executives alike know this and are making what was formerly an event that baffled and disoriented the car companies into a showcase for the swiftly developing partnership between the Silicon Valley and the car-making capitals of the globe.
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