Radio Reports from the Road
Hear Stories of Automaker Innovation
Car-shoppers today are finding more choices in automotive technology that make driving safer, smarter and more energy-efficient. In this series of technology reports, automakers describe what’s innovative at their companies.
Today, half the world’s population lives in cities. That number is only expected to grow. As cities get bigger, traffic gets worse. At Ford, we’re teaming up with global cities to solve congestion problems, and we’re starting right here in the United States. Ford is developing a wide range of transportation solutions, including a crowd-sourced shuttle to make commuting more efficient. And within five years, it’s our intent to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road for commercial use. These are real solutions designed to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.
At GM, we are determined to pursue technologies that make our customers’ lives safer, simpler and better. We are committed to building safe and reliable autonomous vehicles, and we expect GM will become the first auto manufacturer to mass produce self driving test vehicles right here in the U.S. We are also committed to the belief that self driving vehicles will provide tremendous benefits to society in terms of safety, convenience and quality of life. Today, we have the opportunity and responsibility to create a new model for personal mobility that changes the way society thinks about the automobile.
Conventional engines only harness around 30 percent of the potential energy of fuel. So Mazda engineered a smarter engine. By pushing the limits of internal combustion, the SKYACTIV gasoline engines deliver much greater fuel efficiency. Using new computer modeling techniques to better understand the exact process of combustion, we altered fuel injection timing and location and changed the shape of the top of the pistons. Mazda also uses higher compression ratios than conventional gasoline engines, so SKYACTIV engines can compress the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders to an extraordinary degree. Squeezing far more energy from every drop of fuel. That’s Mazda innovation, and it’s standard in every car we make.
Imagine a car that reads your mood…that predicts what kind of music you want to listen to, where you want to go, and your ideal temperature. A car that learns about each driver and adjusts itself based on who is driving. Imagine a car that accumulates knowledge to adapt to drivers’ changing needs and preferences. With Mercedes-Benz predictive driving experience, our engineers in Silicon Valley are creating such a car. The system learns and interacts, making choices and recommendations, so the driver can focus on the things that matter, without distractions.
Mitsubishi Motors knows their drivers lead connected lives. That’s why we are currently researching how to incorporate artificial intelligence into our vehicles in the form of a virtual assistant. This personalized assistant would use information provided by the driver, the vehicle, and the driving environment to provide our customers with a new user experience, one that is tailored to each specific driver. Enjoying the driving experience has always been important for Mitsubishi customers, and soon they will have a tool to stay connected while doing just that.
Innovation is part of Toyota’s DNA. You can see it in our past, present and future. Since 2000, we’ve sold nearly 3 million hybrid-electric vehicles in the U.S. Ever since their introduction, we have sold over two-and-a-half million hybrid-electric vehicles in the US. Today, Toyota holds more patents on autonomous vehicles than any company in the world. And tomorrow looks bright too: by the end of 2017 we’ll offer active safety and driver assist features as standard equipment on most models. These are just some of the things that happen when you invest over a million dollars an hour in research and development. Innovation is changing the world, and Toyota is bringing it to our consumers with each car we make.
Today, our cars are not just about getting from A to B, but connecting to the world around us. Connectivity is one of the main trends in the automobile industry. At Volkswagen, we have developed the available VW Car-Net suite of connected vehicle services. This includes VW Car-Net App-Connect, a multifaceted connectivity system providing seamless integration with compatible smartphones. If you find yourself in need of assistance on the road, the VW Car-Net Security & Service features can help. VW Car-Net can connect you to the world outside all from the comfort of your driver’s seat. For more information, visit vwcarnetconnect.com.
According to a U.S. study, ninety-four percent of all crashes are due to human error. At Volvo Cars, we believe advances in autonomous and active safety technologies are essential to dramatically reduce this number. Autonomous driving has the potential to improve fuel economy…make driving more comfortable…and reduce congestion. This year, Volvo Cars will launch the DriveMe pilot program, where customers will drive autonomous cars on public roads in Sweden. Our ability to advance this technology globally and in the U.S. depends on a public policy balance that recognizes, supports and honors innovation.
Lane Departure Warning-Plus is a feature that’s available on a growing number of FCA US vehicles, including the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. If the vehicle detects a drift toward a roadway’s lane-markers, the system delivers a subtle, automated steering input. This alerts the driver that a course-correction is needed. Because customers have various comfort levels, our system offers touch-screen controls to adjust when and how much steering input is generated. I guess you could say, we get your drift