CES 2018: Autonomous and HMI technology applications and examples

Intelligent technology and new interfaces improve mobility options and user experience



Lobby outside CES exhibition halls

 CES 2018 was held from January 9 through January 12, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Approximately 300,000 square feet was dedicated to more than 160 automotive-related exhibits, representing the largest area devoted towards the automotive market at a CES exhibition in history. Recently, OEMs and automotive suppliers have used CES to make announcements and showcase products to new audiences.

 One overarching theme of the OEM exhibits at CES 2018 was the use of autonomous and intelligent technology to improve safety and the quality of life for its users. Toyota's display showcased a range of intelligent and autonomous mobility concepts to improve convenience. Ford's exhibit focused on improving living spaces by presenting a living street concept and the vehicle technologies to support it. On the other hand, both Hyundai and Nissan emphasized specific driver assist technologies available or soon to be available on their vehicle models.

 Automakers also displayed a number of interface systems that aim to make the user experience more enjoyable. Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, MBUX, user interface system, designed both to be visually appealing and easy to use. Kia featured two cockpit demonstration units, highlighting technology on the Niro EV Concept, while Hyundai used its own cockpit demonstration unit to emphasize how specific technology can improve the user experience.

 This report is one of two reports which highlight the automotive content primarily shown by OEMs at CES 2018. This report focuses on autonomous and intelligent technology applications used to enhance mobility as well as new user and human-machine interfaces. The other report about CES 2018 centers on electric vehicles and green vehicle technology.

Related Reports:
Daimler: all-electric vehicles to account for 15-25% of total unit sales by 2025 (Jan. 2018)
Nissan: Connected strategy in the age of autonomous cars (Jan. 2018)
Autonomous driving technology: Japanese and western OEM approaches (Jan. 2018)
Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Sensing technology, advanced HMI, and systems for autonomous driving (Jan. 2018)
Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Exhibits from Nissan, Honda, and Mitsubishi (Dec. 2017)
Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Toyota unveils numerous concept vehicles (Nov. 2017)

Applications and benefits of autonomy and artificial intelligence for future mobility

Toyota Concept-i Series, e-Palette Concept Vehicle, Platform 3.0

 The Concept-i vehicle unveiled at CES 2017 was an example of how vehicle AI systems can enhance personal mobility by responding to user needs. At CES 2018, Toyota expanded upon the concept by showing the Concept-i Series. A simulator of the Concept-i was also included in Toyota's exhibit. The simulator recommends activities and destinations based on the user's preferences, and then adjusts options by tracking the user's conversation and emotional state. The Concept-i can provide these suggestions while autonomously driving. Toyota also showed the Concept-i RIDE, a smaller autonomous-capable vehicle designed for urban mobility, and the Concept-i WALK, a personal mobility vehicle that can be used on sidewalks. All of the vehicles in the Concept-i series feature an AI Agent to interact with their users.

Toyota Concept-i interior Toyota Concept-i simulator

Toyota Concept-i RIDE Toyota Concept-i WALK


 At CES 2018, Toyota announced the creation of a new mobility service business alliance, the e-Palette Alliance, and showcased the e-Palette Concept Vehicle. The alliance includes service providers such as Amazon and Pizza Hut, and technology partners such as Mazda and Uber. The e-Palette Concept represents Toyota's vision of Automated Mobility as a Service, and is a fully automated, next-generation, scalable and customizable, battery-electric vehicle. Utilizing a low floor and cube-shaped design with three size options, the e-Palette Concept can be equipped with specific interiors for various applications such as parcel delivery, ride sharing, or mobile services. The vehicle uses Toyota's Mobility Services Platform to gather usage data, support finance options and vehicle maintenance, and receive over-the-air updates.

Toyota e-Palette Concept Vehicle Toyota Platform 3.0


 Toyota also highlighted its research by introducing its next-generation automated driving research vehicle, Platform 3.0. Built on a Lexus LS 600hL, the Platform 3.0 was developed to include sensing capabilities that would rival other automated vehicles, while retaining a smooth, elegant design and easily enabling mass production. Four Luminar lidar systems, each with a 200-meter range, are positioned around the vehicle, providing 360-degree coverage. This is supplemented by four short-range lidars positioned on all sides of the vehicle. Platform 3.0 also includes eight radar systems and an array of cameras. Production of Platform 3.0 will begin in spring 2018 at the Prototype Development Center in York Township, Michigan for a fleet of test vehicles.

Ford Living Street

Ford CES 2018 Living Street exhibit

 Ford's exhibit at CES 2018 focused on the concept of a future living street. A living street aims to reduce road areas dedicated towards vehicle traffic and expand areas for personal human use through smart vehicles. The exhibit showcased Ford's research and collaborative efforts to improve mobility. For example, Ford is working with Qualcomm Technologies to develop a next-generation telematics platform that utilizes Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) technology. The technology would enable communications from vehicles to other vehicles, pedestrians, infrastructure and networks.

 Ford showcased a faux self-driving vehicle which hides the driver with a cover which looks like a car seat. Developed with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the vehicle was used to research how pedestrians react to a driverless vehicle. From the research, Ford developed an interface which uses light patterns to signal the vehicle's intent. Another research vehicle on display came from Ford's partnership with Domino's Pizza, studying how autonomous vehicles can be used for food deliveries. Ford has also partnered with Postmates, a logistics company which focuses on local on-demand delivery of goods, to conduct pilot testing programs in 2018 to see how autonomous vehicles affect delivery services.

Ford and Virginia Tech research vehicle Ford and Domino's Pizza research vehicle

Hyundai Nexo ADAS Functionalities

 The debuting Hyundai Nexo includes driver assistance systems that serve to expand its autonomous capabilities. This includes an industry-first Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM) which shows both the Nexo's rear and sides on the center cluster simultaneously. Surround view cameras on either side of the Nexo provide images of the vehicle's blind spots. Hyundai's new Lane Following Assist (LFA) system keeps the Nexo centered in its lane at speeds of up to 90 mph. The Highway Driving Assist (HDA) system uses sensors and map data to supplement autonomous operations on a limited basis. Finally, Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) enables the Nexo to either park or guide itself from a parking space without a driver present.

Nissan ProPILOT Assist

 Nissan's vehicle models at CES 2018 focused on the Intelligent Driving theme of its Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy. Specifically, Nissan highlighted the ProPILOT Assist technology on both the 2018 Rogue and the 2018 Leaf. The Leaf won the "2018 Best of Innovation" award from the Consumer Technology Association in the "Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology" category for its ProPILOT Assist and e-Pedal systems. The Nissan IMx concept on display features an advanced version of ProPILOT, which offers fully autonomous driving and the ability to switch between manual and autonomous modes.

Nissan Rogue Nissan ProPILOT application display


 ProPILOT Assist on the Leaf and Rogue uses a forward-facing camera, forward-facing radar, and sensors combined with advanced image-processing technology to provide assistance in single-lane highway driving. The system keeps the vehicle centered in the lane and can be set to either maintain a specific speed or distance from the preceding vehicle. If the preceding vehicle stops, ProPILOT Assist will also bring the Nissan to a stop without driver input. As traffic resumes, the driver can reactivate ProPILOT Assist through a switch or by lightly depressing the accelerator pedal. Throughout the process, the driver can override ProPILOT Assist by turning the steering wheel or applying the brakes.

Honda Robotic Concepts

 Instead of focusing on traditional passenger vehicles, Honda's exhibit focused on a series of robotic devices designed to work with people to improve quality of life. The 3E-D18 is an autonomous off-road system with an electrically powered drivetrain. Applications for the 3E-D18 include search and rescue, firefighting, construction, and agriculture. Its autonomous capability and the ability to equip a variety of attachments enable it to minimize human exposure to high-risk environments and perform time-consuming activities. The 3E-B18 enhances personal mobility, featuring a small turning radius, height-adjustable seating, and a narrow footprint. The 3E-B18 can also carry objects such as luggage or bags, and is powered by Honda's Mobile Power Pack.

Honda 3E-D18 Robotic Concept Honda 3E-B18 Robotic Concept

Honda 3E-C18 Robotic Concept

 Finally, the 3E-C18 serves to support people as a mobile platform. Featuring storage areas for equipment or tools and a canopy, the 3E-C18 can support the activities of artists, entrepreneurs or small businesses. In addition, the platform is equipped with an AI system that can learn through observation of other people and act autonomously.

User interface and HMI systems for increased convenience

Mercedes-Benz MBUX User Interface

 At CES 2018, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Mercedes-Benz User Experience interface, MBUX. Developed in collaboration with Nvidia, MBUX uses the latest generation of graphic processors to support high-resolution graphics and 3D animations across two dash-mounted displays. The digital instrument cluster can be fully customized to show various information, while the operating system is comprised of three levels of increasing information density:

  • Homescreen: Used for freely selectable applications such as radio, phone and navigation combined with current relevant information
  • Basescreen: Focuses display and controls on a specific application such as Media or Maps
  • Submenu: Reserved for detailed information and settings that are rarely used

Mercedes-Benz MBUX User Experience system Mercedes-Benz MBUX User Experience system


 MBUX features natural-speech-recognition capable voice controls and touch-control options including a touchscreen, touchpad, and touch-control buttons. Natural speech recognition enables the system to respond to comments such as, "I feel cold" instead of set command terminology such as, "Raise the temperature two degrees". Certain vehicle settings can be adjusted through a single touch of an animated 3D vehicle rendering. A global search engine can be used to find a specific MBUX feature or general information on a point of interest. MBUX also utilizes artificial intelligence to suggest activities based on user patterns. For example, MBUX will suggest a radio station if the driver regularly listens to the station at a given time each day. Finally, MBUX enables individualization through user profiles that can be saved for future use.

 MBUX will first be available on the new A-Class that launches later in 2018.

Kia Interactive Cockpit Demonstrator

 Kia showcased two interactive cockpit units featuring technology from the Niro EV Concept. The first cockpit unit features the Niro EV Concept's new HMI. Both infotainment and HVAC systems can be controlled through touch or gesture controls. For example, a swiping motion on the base of the steering wheel changes music tracks. The digital dashboard conveys additional information such as vehicle settings or powertrain status. In addition, the cockpit has both facial and voice-recognition technology developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, to recognize a driver and adjust the vehicle's settings based on individualized preset preferences.

Kia Niro EV Concept Cockpit demonstrator Kia 5G Concept Cockpit demonstrator


 Kia's second cockpit concept showcased the world's first in-vehicle 5G connection, developed in collaboration with SK Telecom, with a real-time connection established between Seoul and Las Vegas. The 5G connection enables the cockpit to rapidly download and stream HD content into its infotainment system, and share information with other vehicles. The cockpit also features the Separate Sound Control System from the Niro EV Concept, which allows passengers in the front and rear to simultaneously listen to different music or podcasts. This is done through speakers installed in headrests combined with noise-cancellation technology.

Nissan Brain-to-Vehicle Technology

Nissan Brain-to-Vehicle technology demonstration unit

 Nissan featured a demonstration unit showcasing Brain-to-Vehicle technology, which utilizes research into brain decoding. The technology demonstrates two primary applications. Brain-to-Vehicle technology can help predict driving actions by analyzing brain signatures indicating that a driver is about to brake or turn. Once the appropriate brain signal is detected, driver assist technologies can begin and assist the action prior to it physically occurring, thus improving reaction times. The technology can also be used to detect driver stress, and then consequently adjust vehicle settings to suit the driver. The system is continuously updated and refined as it receives new data associated with vehicle events. For example, if a driver's brain signature indicates that he or she will brake, but the braking event never occurs, the system will self-update with the new data for future events.

Jeep Wrangler In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems

Jeep Wrangler interior

 FCA US displayed four 2018 Jeep Wrangler models at CES, highlighting its in-vehicle infotainment system. The Wrangler features the fourth-generation Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch display, 4G LTE connected services, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration support. FCA also introduced several new Uconnect services and features, including:

  • An app compatible with smartwatches
  • A Family Alert feature which allows users to be notified if user-set boundaries, curfew times, or speed limits are exceeded
  • An online search function that utilizes results from the cloud through a cellular connection;
  • Integration of Amazon Alexa to the Jeep to enable a set of functionalities to be controlled through voice commands

 In addition, both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant home-to-car connectivity were demonstrated at the FCA US booth. Both features will be available on the Jeep Wrangler later in 2018.

Hyundai Intelligent Personal Cockpit Demonstrator

Hyundai Intelligent Personal Cockpit demonstrator room

 Hyundai's Intelligent Personal Cockpit demonstrator highlighted how connected technologies such as AI and IoT can support the driver. The cockpit utilizes voice-recognition technology from SoundHound to control in-vehicle and Car-to-Home functions. Notably, the system can recognize and process multiple commands in a single sentence. The cockpit also includes a proactive assistant that can predict the driver's needs, for example, by suggesting departure times for an upcoming flight. Through sensors in the steering wheel and driver's seat, the cockpit can detect the user's stress level and create a more relaxing atmosphere through lighting and music or in drastic cases, provide access to a doctor. Finally, Hyundai's in-house startup, Tune!t, has developed a Smart Tuning Package that personalizes the cockpit through the IoT.

Automotive Suppliers

 A number of suppliers also featured HMI and cockpit concepts, including Bosch, Hyundai Mobis, Magneti Marelli, Mitsubishi Electric, Motherson Innovations, Panasonic, and ZF. Panasonic showcased a number of cockpit concepts designed for various levels of autonomous driving. Magneti Marelli displayed a cockpit concept featuring four different displays and the capability to transfer information from one display to any other screen. Hyundai Mobis had a next-generation HMI cockpit concept for an autonomous vehicle that deemphasizes the driver. Motherson Innovations featured an empathic cockpit concept that features systems which adapt to the driver’s needs. ZF showed its Concept 2020 cockpit, which emphasizes the simplification of controls for various ADAS features for a vehicle.

Panasonic Living Space Autonomous Cabin concept Hyundai Mobis Next-Generation HMI Concept demonstrator
Magneti Marelli HMI Cockpit Concept Mitsubishi Electric EMIRAI4 Smart Mobility Concept

CES2018, Daimler, FCA, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Autonomous driving, HMI, Mobility

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