What’s New At Detroit’s North American International Auto Show
The NAIAS auto show in Detroit has ended and the autonomous vehicles were brushed aside by automakers as they opted for connectivity and integration. When you attend an auto show, you expect to be wowed by the new design and cutting-edge technology. To dream of that car that will travel 500 miles without you ever touching a control, a car with all the safety features and refinement of the future today. With the hype in the media showing self-driving, or fully autonomous cars that don't even have a single control and everyone is a passenger. While these things may actually be close to public testing, they were nowhere to be seen at the show.
So what was present? Tons and tons of visual displays. Almost every car that I checked out had some form of display that was very similar to a GPS or smartphone. Some were small and only worked as a radio or media interface. Others were large, almost too large; and would operate the radio, navigation, climate controls and even mirror your phone in the car. Some had displays that would disappear when the car was turned off and others had multiple displays that virtually cried to be touched. So much so that you would wonder if they are creating the very distraction that they were intended to avoid.
Whatever your thoughts may be on connectivity and integration, there were some cool cars to check out. Here's a video I made from my experience.
Add to that, the biggest push was integrating our lives into the vehicles. If the car didn't have its own network connection, similar to a built-in phone to keep you connected and provide a 'wifi hotspot' for your devices; you were provided the option to connect your phone to the vehicle to allow you to put your phone away while driving. The problem with this is that you then find yourself touching the display of a car, pushing buttons and turning nobs to interact with the device you just put away.
For most visitors, myself included, the auto show allowed you to view cars, sit in them and compare multiple makes and models without visiting several dealerships and the salesperson over your shoulder.