The automotive industry is making changes, with the focus of customer ease and comfort. Technology in every industry is adapting and changing, and this industry won’t be left behind. There are always innovations and concepts to expect in the future, but what can consumers actually expect to see in automotive technology this year? Some of this year's innovations relate to the autonomy discussion seen in a seperate blog, but companies like Mercedes Benz are enhancing the experience of electric and non-autonomous cars.
Ford plans to release BlueCruise, a hands-free technology system, later this year. As an SAE Level 2 system, BlueCruise requires driver attention at all times in order to control steering, the accelerator, and braking. The system will operate on 100,000 miles of divided highway in the U.S. and Canada, while utilizing radars, outer vehicle cameras, and even a driver-faced camera to monitor the drivers eyes, ensuring their full attention. The system is set to alert drivers when they have become distracted. Ford states that future updates will provide lane changing and speed adjusting capabilities, as well.
BlueCruise will become standard on the 2021 F-150 Limited model, and will be available for purchase for the Platinum, Lariat, and King Ranch models with Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Package. This package will be available for $1,595. BlueCruise will also be standard in the 2021 Mustang Mach-E First Edition, CA Route 1, and Premium models. It will be accessible for other models through the Comfort and Technology Package for $3,200. Consumers who have already chosen the Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package will be able to purchase a three year subscription through an “over-the-air” update for $600.
Domino’s has teamed up with self-driving startup Nuro, launching the first driverless pizza delivery service. Starting last week, consumers in Houston can order pizza with the option to be delivered autonomously, via the Nuro R2. With currently only one participating location, only select customers who place an online order will have the option to choose R2 delivery. Customers will receive R2 tracking and a PIN number to be entered on the vehicle’s touch screen in order to receive their order. Being completely driverless, the vehicle was designed with a narrow body, and Nuro believes this will lessen the chances of collision and provides a larger “buffer” for pedestrians and other vehicles. Both Domino’s and Nuro plan to expand this service across Houston and to other U.S. cities.
Mercedes Benz is no stranger to customer comfort and they’ve taken user interaction to a new level with the MBUX Hyperscreen. Mercedes says the Hyperscreen will make its first appearance in the EQS electric sedan. The Hyperscreen will span nearly the entirety of the dash, with 12.3 inch screens for both the driver and passenger, as well as a 17.7 inch infotainment screen in the center, all covered by a 56 inch scratch and reflection-resistant glass. Equipped with a “zero-layer interface” it gives drivers access to all features, while eliminating the distraction of scrolling through menus. In addition, the system uses artificial intelligence to adapt to a user’s habits or routines, suggesting commonly used actions or performing tasks automatically. The Hyperscreen will operate as the “brain” of the car, with the ability to communicate with all vehicle components. 8 CPU Cores, 24 GB of RAM, and a 46.4 GB Memory makes this screen a pretty impressive piece of technology for a vehicle. The EQS is set to be released later this year.
Companies like Samsung and Volvo have also announced concepts for next-gen vehicle infotainment centers, while companies like Lexus and BMW are promising their own hands-free systems in the coming years. Keep your eyes open for these new and exciting technologies, changing the way customers experience driving. Innovations in the automotive industry are expanding daily and will continue to create even better, more enjoyable experiences for both drivers and passengers alike.