Technology and Connectivity are Key Focuses in New Products

Emerging-technology features took center stage during product introductions at most of the press previews at the L.A. Auto Show this past week. Nearly every automaker touted news about featured information and entertainment systems that have been developed or advanced to cater to customers.

• Brands, including Ford and Honda, talked about simpler and enhanced telematics and connectivity.

• Safety features that were once emerging technologies and are becoming standard on mainstream models include: parking-assist systems, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, radar-based adaptive cruise control, controlled automated braking, infrared sensors to track eye movement and overall alertness, among others. Volkswagen is investing millions at its laboratory in California to develop technologies such as automated driver assistance.

• Premium models featured more luxurious and feature-laden interiors. The new Cadillac XTS large premium sedan, which replaces the DTS and STS, was profiled for its interior richness and the addition of CUE (Cadillac User Experience) multi-touch interface for in-vehicle connectivity. CUE will debut in two other Cadillac models that launch later this year, including the ATX and SRX.

• Ford introduced a handful of new models. Incorporated in all models is a simpler, faster, next-generation MyFord Touch system. Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. executive vice president and president of the Americas, pointed out that current customers will receive a USB drive with updates for their MyFord Touch systems.

Kia’s UVO hands-free system (Microsoft-powered) will be offered in Sportage models and the Sorento, to provide multiple voice commands and touch-screen options to help the driver make hands-free calls.

• An Infiniti representative claimed that the new US-built JX was the only luxury CUV model to feature an Information Personal Assistant with 24-hour access to a live concierge. Standard safety features include: blind-spot detection and a backup collision-avoidance intervention system.

• On-call personal and service assistance services also are available from a number of brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Some of these include traffic and weather updates, concierge assistance, and search features for restaurants and films.

• Navigation systems are common in premium and mainstream models from BMW, Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.


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