Buckle up, the road ahead is driverless: News from the LA Autoshow
At the LA Auto Show, Volkswagen announced its reinvention as an electric car company and a carpooling app for school-age children.
As the LA Auto Show gets ready to open its doors to the public this Friday, car companies are beginning to reveal details about the new vehicles and services that will become available to consumers in the coming years.
At an event in Hollywood, the beleaguered German automaker declared its reinvention as an electric car company, saying the transformation was the result of its recent diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen revealed three all-new battery electric vehicles:
An all-new electric compact SUV that will be available in 2020, based on the ID CROZZ concept sedan.
The ID BUZZ, an all-electric version of the iconic Volkswagen bus, will go into production in 2022.
There's also an ID hatchback that will become available, starting in Europe and Asia.
While Volkswagen credits the diesel emissions scandal for its new embrace of electric cars, Jurgen Stackmann, member of the board of management for the VW Brand, say "without Tesla and Elon Musk, the world would not have accepted that electric cars are sexy... Without him, we wouldn’t have been so bold to take our step."
Waymo Transportation Service
Waymo is Google’s self-driving car spinoff. Company CEO, John Krafcik, revealed a few more details about its driverless mobility service, officially called the Waymo Transportation Service. Since the spring, Waymo has been operating an Uber-like service in Phoenix, and will soon begin offering a truly driverless version.
When Waymo expands its Transportation service, according to Krafcik, it is likely to be in an area contiguous to Phoenix. Waymo has also put its autonomous driving system into a Class 8 truck and is working with various logistics companies.
Hyundai BlueLink All-Access
Car companies aren’t just making cars: They’re also offering a lot of services.
Hyundai has announced a partnership with a company called Smartcar, which will let drivers of Hyundai cars equipped with its BlueLink connected car platform to communicate with outside apps to grant the car access for things like grocery and dry cleaning deliveries. The car’s driver would not need to be with the car.
Through BlueLink All-Access, the service locates the car, then unlocks it so the service can be performed and re-locks it once the service is complete. BlueLink All-Access will launch in the first half of next year as a pilot program with various California businesses, including Washos, an on-demand car wash service in LA.
Yes, new car technologies will grant you yet another way to avoid human interaction, should that be your wish.
Lincoln Motor Co.
Lincoln also announced a partnership with a company called CLEAR, that will allow Lincoln owners to skip the security lines at airports and major sporting events using a special CLEAR lane inside the venue.
Lincoln is experimenting with all kinds of services, including at-home test rides, where the car is left with the potential buyer for 24 to 48 hours, and something called Lincoln Personal Driver, which lets Lincoln owners hire drivers to drive their cars and run errands for them.
GoKid Carpool App
One of the finalists in the automotive startup competition at Automobility was the GoKid carpool app, designed for parents and schools. It was started by a mom in Connecticut who was frustrated with being stuck in traffic jams with her neighbors as they all drove to the same place at the same time with their kids in tow. Unlike HopSkipDrive, which hires drivers to transport children, the parents are the drivers with GoKid.
To hear more about what's being discussed and showed off at the LA Auto Show, please click on the blue player above, or click on these related stories: