Traffic jams are ubiquitous around CES 2017, especially around hotels (like this one) and the convention center. In theory, self-driving cars and V2X (vehicle-to-X) communication could alleviate this congestion, but that is for the future. For me, I hiked about half a mile to the monorail station using the backways where there was no waiting line and probably beat anyone waiting for a cab. By the way, these cars were not moving and the cab line had at least 30 people in it.
Ford was showing off its customized Fusion hybrid designed for testing self-driving technology (see “Car Technology Drives CES 2017” on electronicdesign.com). It is surrounded by sensors, but most of the compute electronics are in the trunk. There are half-a-dozen Intel Core i7’s and a pair of NVidia GPUs in the white box on the left. A large gigabit Ethernet switch ties together most of the system’s Ethernet-based sensors. There are some CAN-based sensors, as well.
What I found interesting was that originally the software driving the GPUs maxed out the processing power, but with optimization it is now down to 25% on a single GPU. Of course, that just frees up the processing power to do more advanced work.
Nissan wasn’t the only company showing off concept cars at CES 2017, but I did get a nice shot of the IDS Concept electric car. It has a carbon fiber body. Nissan has the goal of zero emissions and zero traffic fatalities. The interior has a wide display panel and a hidden steering wheel. The seats rotate toward each other.
Electric cars need chargers, and Chargepoint (left) and TellusPower (right) were hawking their wares. Chargepoint will be glad to talk to you about everything from shared parking spaces for electric vehicles in condos and apartment complexes to single-family homes. The TellusPower system delivers up to 7.2 kW to two vehicles. Most electric vehicles will use tethered cabling, but wireless charging is starting to make its mark in the electric vehicle space.
Commander Data’s emotion chip from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” has nothing on Honda’s NeuV (pronounced “new V”) concept car. The NeuV comes with an “emotion engine” in the form of Hanna, the on-board artificial intelligence (AI) that will talk to you. She shows up as an emoji-style face on the dashboard and tracks your preferences and trips, so as to provide recommendations. In theory, the car could act as a ride-sharing vehicle when not in use by its owner.
Honda’s other transportation option is a bit slower and more personal. Although it looks like a unicycle, the Honda Uni-Cub has a bit more support, so it should be easier to ride. While no speed demon, it can move in any direction without pivoting due to its specially designed primary wheel. These passengers were picked from the audience and were driving with minimal training.
Doohan US’ iTank electric vehicles look great and are very stable. The dual-front, side-deflecting wheels provide smooth cornering with the flexibility of a motorcycle but the stability of a tricycle. There are three hydraulic brakes—one for each wheel—with automobile-level, enhanced anti-lock braking system (EABS). It weighs in at 99 kg, with a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). The 26 AH lithium battery should go for 100 km (about 60 miles) at 20 km/h.
Swagtron was showing off a host of personal electric transportation devices ranging from the ubiquitous hoverboards (left) and the Swagcycle folding e-Bike (center) to an electric unicycle (right). Of course, the grace with which the demonstrators have is due to practice. Still, the popularity of these platforms for certain groups is undeniable and it does look like fun.
The WHILL Model M personal electric vehicle is built with four-wheel drive, omni-directional wheels so it can move in very confined spaces that would be impractical with a conventional wheelchair. It was being demonstrated over rough terrain like dirt and small rocks with a 3-in clearance, so do not confuse it with a trailbike. Still, a completely flat surface is no longer a requirement. The power seat shifts forward for easier mounting and dismounting.
Hyundai, like many car manufacturers, is into a range of application areas. In Hyundai’s case, this extends to exoskeletons. It had a number of Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton (H-MEX) and Hyundai Waist Exoskeleton (H-WEX) wearable robotic platforms on display. These are designed to be easily attached to a person and typically provide assistance to those who are physically disabled. The H-WEX is designed for industrial use to enhance the user’s load-bearing capability and stamina.
Self-driving cars were the rage at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, but there were many more transportation technologies on display as well.
Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×