The Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) World Congress in Detroit last week was quite an event, from Mary Barra’s keynote on Sunday evening, during which she announced GM’s entry into vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, to Bill Ford’s Monday morning look at the future of transportation, to the myriad demos on Belle Isle, and the array of exhibits and panel sessions in Cobo Center.
It was a lot to take in.
My overall impression is that we’re living in very exciting times for the automotive industry. Consider all that’s happened in, say, the last five years and look at how the pace of change is picking up: Navigation/infotainment screens are getting larger. We’re likely to see more head-up displays (HUD). There are many more connectivity choices. Safety features like blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control are increasingly common. Before long every new car will have a rear view camera. Automakers are launching hybrid and all-electric vehicles And V2V and V2I (V2X) is not a matter of if, but when.
Innovation is occurring a step at a time – a feature here, a new model there – but an event like the World Congress puts that innovation in perspective. It’s largely driven by advances in electronics hardware, software, and communications technology. Those advances benefit performance (better fuel economy and lower emissions, the driver/passenger experience (built-in and brought-in), and safety.
V2X demos during the World Congress, as well as exhibits and panel sessions, stressed the potential for much safer driving and the parallel need to make/keep connectivity secure. In that context it’s sad to read about so many vehicle recalls. Sad, but not surprising given the horrendous complexity of cars today. Rigorous testing and adherence to ISO 26262 and other relevant standards is critical. Time will tell which car makers are best able to overcome the obstacles.