As cars become more like computers on wheels, technology is playing a bigger role in our driving experience. Here are five automotive tech trends that made their mark at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and may soon be coming to a car near you.
1. In-vehicle health monitoring (APMA project stock)
Project Arrow, the Canadian-made electric concept SUV by the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA), has got some innovative and groundbreaking technologies including smart textiles that monitor your health while you drive. Project Arrow’s textured steering wheel has web-enabled textiles, courtesy of Toronto-based Myant, the world’s first comprehensive textile computing company. Myant weaves sensors and actuators into textiles, giving them the ability to sense and react to driver inputs. It tracks the driver’s health, measures their vital signs including heart rate, respiration, and temperature, and displays them on the steering wheel. If there was a serious emergency – for example, the driver had a heart attack while driving – the car would take them to the hospital for treatment.
2. Eye tracking devices (Polestar)
The new Polestar 3 SUV comes with Swedish Smart Eye driver monitoring technology. It is designed to help prevent accidents and save lives. This technology uses cameras and artificial intelligence software, from Smart Eye powered by Nvidia central computing, to detect driver status in real time. It can track the driver’s head, eye and eyelid movements, and if the driver does not pay attention, the car will emit visual and audio warning messages to attract their attention and help them focus on driving. It even has an emergency stop function. If the system detects that a distracted or drowsy driver is not reacting or paying attention, it will bring the vehicle to a complete stop. Smart Eye is already available in more than a million vehicles worldwide. It’s standard on Polestar 3.
3 – Materials based on biotechnology (Mercedes-Benz)
Biotechnology and lightweight materials with small environmental impacts will play a larger role in the vehicles of the future. The door pull, for example, in the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX Concept is made of biodegradable vegetable silk. This is the first automotive application of the biotechnology based on a material invented by AmSilk in Germany. The carpets are made from bamboo and the seats have leather alternatives—biomaterials made from aloe vera vegan leather and mycelium, a root-like network of fast-growing, sustainable fungi. It takes two weeks to grow using 100 percent renewable energy. They both look and feel like leather, but are completely animal free.
4. Cyber Security and Data Protection – (Jeep)
Blackberry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in cybersecurity, safety and data privacy. BlackBerry IVY is a cloud-connected automotive AI platform co-developed with Amazon Web Services (AWS), designed to build secure data solutions for the software-enabled vehicles of the future. The Jeep Grand Cherokee contains a BlackBerry IVY device, which among other things can collect vehicle data and provide predictive insights into the behavior of vehicle components, such as brake and tire wear, before they fail or maintenance issues arise. BlackBerry IVY also provides secure in-vehicle payment transactions. With Car IQ, the first payment network for cars, the new car wallet connects vehicles with dealers and allows drivers to pay for things, such as fuel, electric vehicle chargers, parking or service maintenance, from the dash of their car. No physical credit card required.
5. Rise in Radar Tech (Lexus ES350)
We are seeing a rise in radar technology to keep drivers and pedestrians safe on the road. The Lexus ES350 sedan has 4D imaging radar with NXP, the world’s No. 1 chipmaker. The 4D imaging radar, from CubTEK, can detect and track objects up to 300 meters away Much better than the human eye. It is designed to avoid obstacles and collisions caused by blurred vision as we move from semi-autonomous Level 2 to Level 5 autonomous driving in the future. The in-car radar technology can also sense light, breathing, and heartbeats, and detect babies and pets so drivers don’t forget them inside the car.