LA Autoshow Self Driving Tech

Dec 12 2017
1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

The natural progression of car development is to make the automobile more automated, to the point, eventually, where we will have completely self-driving vehicles. But this hasn’t quite been fully realized, just yet.

Until we can clamber into our car, tell it to take us to the office via our favorite coffee shop, we will see incremental advancements through the creation of additional driving assists and car features.

At the 2017 LA Auto Show, we saw a lot of futuristic tech that will be coming to production cars very soon, as well as some really interesting concepts for the future of motoring.

Enhanced Driving Assists

Many manufacturers have announced self-driving car precursors in the form of advanced driving assist systems.

For example, The Lincoln Nautilus, successor to the MKX, is a pretty good representation of where self-driving technology is right now.

A combined lane centering and adaptive cruise control are fitted to the Nautilus, which uses a series of radar sensors and cameras to collect data. Lincoln has also included a collision avoidance system, which they call Evasive Steer Assist. If the risk of collision is high and the braking distance too great, the steering rack will aid the driver in steering to avoid the crash.

The system greatly reduces the chance of a rear-end collision and can adjust for slower moving vehicles.

Lincoln lists these advancements as “Lincoln firsts”, as most automakers have had rudimentary versions of these systems for several years. The Nautilus will be on sale in 2019 and boasts a compliment of driving assists, such as a blind spot information system and pre-collision monitor with pedestrian awareness. 

Toyota is also debuting similar technologies in their cars as standard from the back half of 2018. The Toyota system can track and read road signs, relaying speed limits and other critical information to drivers via a HUD. Honda has similar technology.

Korean car builder, KIA are also launching their own versions of lane detection and lane keep assist and in the future, these will be tied into more advanced processes that monitor driver performance and drowsiness.

Developments in Self Driving Technology

A number of startups showcased their developments at the show. Amongst the presentations, three in particular really stood out.

First, Ohio based, GhostWave. Their goal is to revolutionize radar technology which is a crucial component for creating automated vehicles. Their products will be immune from inter radar and electronic device interference that have proven problematic already. They are also developing obstacle detecting radar technology that can prioritize between pedestrians or animals and a piece of trash.

Israeli specialists Innoviz Technologies are working on LiDAR tech. LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging use lasers to determine distances. It will form a core component of self-driving vehicles, as it allows the car to understand its current location, relative to surrounding objects. The company is seeking to deliver superior LIDAR equipment that is more affordable.

WayRay, with its Swiss headquarters, are devising new augmented reality technologies for automotive applications. Its system utilizes the windshield as a way to deliver holographic infotainment visuals. The business founder came up with the idea when he got into an accident following his GPS.

Nvidia Automotive Systems

Intel In-Car Entertainment

Intel and Warner Brothers have signed a joint deal that will study and create entertainment for driverless vehicles. Warner Bros is getting involved, right from the top as Intel are major players in the fledgling self-driving car industry. Currently, the average American spends more than 300 hours, or 12.5 days at the wheel and with the driver becoming a rider, their desire to be connected on the move and entertainment consumption will increase. Workers are researching ways to use different internal car surfaces to show ads, videos, and content.

Nvidia Automotive Systems

Nvidia partnered with Audi, Tesla, Porsche and Volvo to increase vehicle processing power, forming the infrastructure for powerful interconnect radar, visual sensors, and sonar. Nvidia will no doubt be a major contender in future autonomous vehicles.

Automated Cars are Coming!

Very soon, automated vehicles will be as common on our roads as traditional cars. The technology to make this happen is already in existence, it just needs piecing together in a fool-proof and robust way. It might take a few more years, but it will happen!