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Self-driving cars at CES 2019: debuts of this year
The annual consumer electronics exhibition once again proved that cars became something more than just a means of transport. Now, a car is a kind of four-wheel gadget able to move without driver and entertain passengers during the trip.
This article examines the most interesting car novelties presented at CES in 2019.
Nissan Leaf Plus
Leaf was released in 2010 and then was surpassed by newer electric cars. In 2019, its developers decided to return to the advanced technology market by introducing the Plus model. This option of Leaf can overcome 363 km prior to the full battery discharge, which is 122 km more than a standard electric car by other brands can. It also features a more powerful engine with a momentary output of 150 kW (around 200 horsepower).
Nissan Leaf Plus looks advantageous among competitors, but the electric car segment is still limited to the A-Class. The MSRP of Nissan Leaf Plus is expected to be approximately $40,000.
Audi is a leading manufacturer in the car entertainment sector that utilizes virtual reality (VR) as much as possible. Together with Disney, it has synchronized forward, backward, and side vehicle movements with a VR-based video game in order to turn even an ordinary journey into an exciting adventure.
E-Tron will supposedly hit the market at the end of 2020 or at the beginning of 2021. Prices are not announced yet.
LS500h is a debut model of the new generation. The car is equipped with a 3.5L V6 twin power turbo engine. The output of this internal combustion engine is 295 horsepower.
While other car producers rely on futuristic design, Lexus LS focuses on luxury. Its seats have 28 control modes, including heating, cooling, and massage. A seamlessly built-in control panel contains displays placed at the same height. It allows drivers to control all the systems without changing body position.
BMW VISION INEXT
Vision iNEXT will enter the market up to 2021, but the German auto group has provided us with an opportunity to look at the interior due to VR technology.
The cherry on the cake of iNEXT is an integrated virtual assistant – Shy Tech. Electric car’s artificial intelligence can recommend possible routes and trips as well as describe the weather, but the car won’t be completely autonomous.
Besides passenger cars, CES presented a lot of unmanned public transport solutions. Given below are some of them.
Mover is a self-driving electric vehicle connected to the cloud. The minibus can convey up to ten seating people and five standing ones. It stops at the requests. e.GO Mover operates on the battery able to live up to 10 hours at a distance of 100 km.
Germany-based e.GO Digital uses Microsoft Azure to allow the autonomous shuttle to move safely and wisely within heavy traffic. Casimir Ortlieb, CEO and Co-Founder at e.GO Digital, states that e.GO Mover will enter the streets of Germany this year.
Continental (another German manufacturer) has also developed an unmanned bus called СUbE ( Urban Mobility Experience) and showed it at CES 2019.
The majority of СUbE’s technologies are based on sensors equipped in many vehicles, thus they are not new. However, the bus has such advanced features as laser motion detectors and uncommon design.
СUbE will be tested in Frankfurt, a heavy city with a complex navigation.
“The trials will be used to identify all the essential technical requirements that enable safe, driverless passenger transport in urban areas,” says Dr. Andree Hohm, Head of the Self-Driving Car project at Continental.
Bell Flying Taxi
Flying Taxi is a dream of traffic jam haters and people missing trains. The prototype of flying taxi is developed by Bell, a US helicopter manufacturer.
A model of air electric car is called Nexus. It is still designed for short-term flights (up to 240 km), seating up four passengers and one pilot. Besides, the vehicle’s gross loading capacity is 272 kg.
Nexus is able to go aloft and land vertically. Therefore, this air taxi does not require separate interweaving lanes; a simple landing site will be enough.
Bell has not yet revealed the release date of Nexus, but the company’s representative says that travel by air taxi will be a reality by the mid-2020s.
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