AutoTrader’s top car tech innovations for 2018 and beyond
Jan 26th, 2018

The legendary Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held every January in Las Vegas, USA. The event is spiced by driverless rides out to the desert and the unveiling of the most mind-bending of new auto trends. “CES is a marker for the future of automobiles” comments AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie. Here Mienie takes a look at some of the most interesting and fantastic developments to come out of the four- day conference.

Article highlights

2018 A-Class Merc to get voice controlled dashboard

800 horsepowered electric car

Self driving retail stores

Cars driven by phone

Commuter cars with zero petrol spend

Nissan cars driven by telepathy

2018 A-Class Merc to get voice controlled dashboard

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the ‘Mercedes Benz User eXperience’ (MBUX), a dashboard for the future. Consisting of two 12-inch LCD screens positioned behind the steering wheel, this new interface hinges on finger controls on the steering wheel itself, allowing access to all elements of the display, as well as state of the art voice control capability. The MBUX debuts on the A-Class this year, and on Benzes in the US in 2019.

Caption: The double LCD of the Mercedes MBUX interface. Credit: Facebook  @MercedesBenzUk

800 horsepowered electric car

From custom car maker Genovation, the all-electric supercar, called Genovation GXE, takes electric power to stratospheric levels. “The vehicle promises more than 700 lb.-ft. of torque, and more than 800 horsepower” reports Miennie. Only 75 GXE’s will be made in 2018.

Caption: The Genovation GXE. Credit: Twitter @Car_Chayce

Self driving retail stores

Toyota re-define online shopping by bringing the shop to you. Housed in a self-driving mini-bus, these self-driving retail warehouses are mobile, and stocked with a range limited only by the imagination. While still in the conceptual stage, powerhouses like Uber, Pizza Hut and Amazon are already involved.

Caption: The Toyota Mini-bus Mall. Credit Reuters

Drive your car by phone

As self-driving continues to evolve, so does connectivity. Ford went above and beyond the usual connected suite (including remote starting and locking, Wi-Fi hotspot capability and hyper-accurate location information) and announced “cellular vehicle-to-everything”, aiming to better establish inter-vehicle communication, as well as inter-city infrastructure such as traffic lights, etc. With digital communication rising, self-driving will take on new dimensions of possibility, and probability.

Caption: Ford’s Ultra Connected Car. Credit: Twitter @Ford

Commuter cars with zero petrol spend

Presented by Electra Meccanica, the ‘smartest commuter car on the planet’ made it’s appearance. The ‘Solo’ is a single passenger unit designed with the express purpose of going to and from work with maximum efficiency and a zero petrol spend. With a top speed of around 100 km p/h and a range of 130 kilometres per charge, the Solo has few frills, but all of the essentials.

Caption: The Electra Meccanica Solo, the smartest commuter car on the planet. Credit:Facebook @EMVsolo

Telepathically drive your Nissan

Finally, “perhaps the most bizarre of the 2018 CES offering was Nissan’s new ‘brain to vehicle’ or B2V technology” advises Mienie. This system reads the driver’s mind via brain waves, telegraphing the driver’s intent at a speed of 0.5 to 1.0 seconds before the action. This allows the car to prepare itself for the next move. The technology is human based, aimed to further streamline the driving experience. Rest assured, the ‘back to the future’ skull cap receiver is not equipped to read your thoughts, yet!

Caption: Nissan’s B2V technology. Credit: Twitter @NissanUSA

“Some of these developments sound too fantastic to ever become reality, but you just have to cast your mind back to movies first featuring driverless cars, to recall your initial marvel at the idea” recalls Mienie. “The Jurassic Park Explorer; Total Recall’s robot chauffer; and Minority Report’s Lexus 2054 are just a few to name” muses Mienie. Perhaps driving your car by brainwaves will be possible sooner than we think.