Telematics technology debuts at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened Tuesday in Las Vegas, will provide attendees with a glimpse into new telematics and electric vehicle offerings from some of the largest vehicle and telematics manufacturers in the world.  On Tuesday, Kia Motors debuted two electric vehicles (EV), the Kia Ray and Kia Naimo, and unveiled a new User Centered Driving telematics technology.  Mercedes-Benz USA showed off its next generation telematics technology – mbrace2 – powered by Hughes Telematics, while Verizon

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened Tuesday in Las Vegas, will provide attendees with a glimpse into new telematics and electric vehicle offerings from some of the largest vehicle and telematics manufacturers in the world.  On Tuesday, Kia Motors debuted two electric vehicles (EV), the Kia Ray and Kia Naimo, and unveiled a new User Centered Driving telematics technology.  Mercedes-Benz USA showed off its next generation telematics technology – mbrace2 – powered by Hughes Telematics, while Verizon Wireless and OnStar showcased a telematics research vehicle that included 4G video streaming and energy management applications.


Kia Motors


On Tuesday, Kia Motors‘ (Seoul, South Korea) showed off the Kia Ray and Kia Naimo electric vehicles for the first time in North America. Both vehicles feature advanced lithium polymer battery packs, and the Naimo introduces the User Centered Driving (UCD) telematics concept.


The UCD on the Kia Naimo features a “glass cockpit” style interface that employs a digital display that replaces the traditional gauge cluster for information including speed, distance and battery life. The display also incorporates augmented reality features such as navigation directions or downloadable applications for parking, says Kia. The UCD concept includes a 12.3 inch touch-screen with a resolution of 1280×480.


The UCD concept also integrates a driver-status monitor and Color Night Vision (CNV). Utilizing an infra-red LED and camera to monitor the driver’s face, the system detects changes in eye movement and also recognizes whether the driver’s eyes are opened or closed, examining alertness and safeguarding against an accident caused by the driver falling asleep at the wheel.


Also, by using two infra-red lamps and a color infra-red camera, the integrated processor is able to distinguish pedestrians in the camera’s field of view, highlights them on the touch-screen display and triggers a warning sound to alert the driver, says Kia.


The Naimo EV is a zero-emissions vehicle and has no traditional wiper blade on the windscreen – instead employing a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen that performs an “air wiper” function. Conventional door mirrors have also been replaced with miniature cameras.


The car is powered by an electric motor with a maximum output of 107 horsepower, enabling it to reach a top speed of 93 mph. A twin-pack 27 kWh battery is located under the trunk floor and uses LiPoly (Lithium Ion Polymer) technology. Equipped with this battery, Naimo provides a driving range of 124 miles on a single charge.


The Naimo can recharge to 80% of its capacity within 25 minutes with a recharge of 50 kW. Under a normal 3.3 kW, 100% power is attained after five and a half hours.


The Kia Ray EV, which was launched in December, is assembled on the same production lines as its regular combustion-engine sibling, and is built exclusively for the domestic Korean market.


Capable of a range up to 86 miles on a single charge, the Ray EV is powered by a 50kW electric motor and high-capacity 16.4 kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack engineered to be capable of a 10-year lifespan.  The battery charges fully in six hours using a 220V outlet and just 25 minutes while in “fast charge” mode.


Mercedes-Benz USA


Also at CES, Mercedes-Benz USA (Montvale, N.J., USA) showcased mbrace2, a next generation telematics technology powered by Hughes Telematics, Inc. (Atlanta, Ga., USA).  mbrace2 was developed to work inside and outside the vehicle, and offers a revamped control module with two new categories of services: Internet and remote access capabilities. It also includes a service to remotely update all software modules via cloud networks so the latest technology is always available in the vehicles.


With mbrace2, new services are added to the mbrace Mobile Application, which is compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones.


“Traditionally, in-vehicle technology is finalized more than a year before a vehicle comes to market and is difficult to upgrade,” says Steve Cannon, president and CEO, MBUSA. “The mbrace2 system solves the vehicle electronics lifecycle conundrum in a unique way, creating a truly networked vehicle that is always online, always upgradeable.”


Specifically, mbrace2 features 3G network connectivity and enhanced integration with other vehicle networks. The new Internet-based service called “Mercedes-Benz Apps” includes features such as Facebook, Google, open browsing, stocks, Yelp! and news headlines. New remote access capabilities include Travel Zones/geo-fences, remote vehicle health diagnostics, Curfew Minder, Speed Alerts, Valet Protect, and Remote Horns & Lights, says Mercedes-Benz USA.


OnStar, Verizon


On Tuesday, OnStar (Detriot, Mich., USA) and Verizon Wireless (New York) unveiled a second-generation connected research vehicle, the static Chevrolet Volt research concept, at CES. The vehicle allows all users to access streaming content from a Cloud enabled by the Verizon 4G LTE network, as well as OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operating System (ATOMS).


The vehicles 4G LTE connection provides passengers access to streaming content from their home computers or via a popular streaming service, and allows in-vehicle sharing of content among users, says Verizon.


With the use of a Human Machine Interface, the user has independent control of the two rear zones, allowing transmission of cached or streaming content, including music, videos, games and news, to each rear passenger, says Verizon. Passengers can also make a Skype video call from the vehicle to anywhere: vehicle to home, vehicle to mobile device or vehicle to vehicle.


OnStar also developed in-vehicle energy management applications, such as access to remote vehicle information and services and access to charge and distance statuses. Drivers can also locate local charging locations and manage vehicle diagnostics. The vehicle allows drivers to control the home thermostat, lights, garage door and other systems directly from the vehicle.