March '18

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36 THE SHOP MARCH 2018 ES—the International Consumer Electronics Show—is among the world's biggest trade shows. Typi- cally, when people think tech trade show, they envision a live broadcast on the morning news highlighting the latest gadgets. However, automobile tech has been gaining popularity at CES, and these days you'll find plenty of cars front-and-center at the show. In fact, this year's keynote speaker was Ford's new CEO, James Hackett. He made a plea to the crowd that Ford is no longer just an automaker, but a mobility company. Some in the automotive industry dis- like that name mobility as a catch-all for a company that also wants to create and partner with ride-sharing services. But self- driving cars are coming. And that is going to change the way we all do business. We may live to see the day when we get a call to up-fit a dozen self-driving fleet vehicles with skid plates because the self-driving municipal street sweepers are leaving debris on the roads. It's just one example that, even if we are headed toward life in smart cities, there will always be opportunities for the automotive aftermarket. READY FOR CHANGE Technology and electronics are the driving force behind the big changes hitting the automotive industry. Of course, this is nothing new. "The automobile turned out to be the ultimate disruptor in human lives," Hackett notes, harkening back to the first cars. "But, there was a price to that freedom. Roads intended for cars replaced streets intended for living." When Ford's first Model Ts were hit- ting the streets, horses and their associated poop were removed from the cobblestones. However, new problems arose, as with any new technology. Today, Ford wants to help the fight against congestion and further the path toward smart cities that connect vehicles and infrastructure. Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services at Ford, showed how a person having a medical emergency could have his vehicle part other vehicles like the Red Sea using C-V2X (Connected Vehicle to Infrastructure). He notes, "A language needs to be created, so all the sensors (of a connected car and the city) can be linked up. We're helping to write that language by contributing to new standards and pro- tocols that connect everyone in the future. Everyone is a part of the community. We believe C-V2X is that connection that brings it all together." With Ford's partnership with Qualcomm and 5G technology, C-V2X is closer than we may think. Moreover, we know there will be aftermarket opportunities for this tech- nology to integrate it into legacy vehicles on the road. All it takes is one family with a medial scare to be stuck in traffic… IN-VEHICLE SCREENS Just as the TVs in our houses are increasing in screen size and dropping in price, the same is happening with automobiles. When we first saw the Tesla screen using technology from Panasonic, we thought the experience couldn't get any bigger. But now comes along new automotive startup Byton, which is led by former brass of BMW and Infiniti. By Brett Solomon 2018 CES REPORT Electronics innovation continues to amaze in a fast-changing market. C Ford executives discussed vehicles connecting to "smart cities" as the mobility wave of the future during the keynote address at the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Ford's new CEO, James Hackett, made a plea to the CES crowd that Ford is no longer just an automaker, but a "mobility company," paving the way for autono- mous vehicle technology.

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