THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #318

Technology plays an extremely large role in the automotive industry which was readily apparent at CES 2018. We begin the show with Bob Starr of Yamaha Motor Corporation who explains their gesture controlled motorcycle, MOTOROiD, and the work they are doing to improve driver-bike unity. Next, John Eggert of Velodyne LiDAR, Inc. talks with us about their laser system which uses 3D imaging to provide a 360 view around the car. After that, we chat with Chris Wiklund from Arity, a spin-off from Allstate that focuses on data surrounding connected vehicles and the future of accident prediction. Then, we shift gears to autonomous car sensors. Dror Meiri of AdaSky explains the technology that their company is developing which allows these sensors to work even in bad weather conditions. Then, Brittany Stotler of Local Motors tells us about the debut of their (mostly) 3D-printed, accessible vehicle for the elderly and disabled, #accessibleolli. We then talk with Wayne Williams of Ford Motor Company who discusses their recent team up with Domino’s Pizza to research autonomous deliveries and human interactions with self-driving cars. Next, Mike Chen of Omron Automation Americas explains vestibulo-ocular reflex and their ping-pong tutor. Following this, Bobby Hambrick of AutonomouStuff discusses their company’s technology that is contributing to the autonomous vehicle industry. Then, Rachel Horn of the Consumer Technology Association sounds off about the massive size of CES this year, and her admiration of automotive technology. Last but not least, Thorsten Hefler of the BMW Group explains the new virtual reality program they will be offering to owners and dealerships. CES showcases some of the most innovative automotive technology coming our way. Learn more now.

  • [00:00:00] MOTOROiD Gesture Controlled Bike
  • [00:05:30] Improved Rider Unity
  • [00:12:30] LiDAR 3D Images Surround Car
  • [00:19:53] Predictive Accident Data
  • [00:27:36] Autonomous Sensors for Bad Weather
  • [00:35:54] #AccessibleOlli 3D-Printed Assistance
  • [00:42:15] Autonomous Pizza Delivery
  • [00:48:13] Human Interaction with Autonomous
  • [00:54:45] Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex Saves Lives
  • [01:02:08] AutonomousStuff Innovates the Future
  • [01:10:20] CES’ Largest Show Ever
  • [01:18:10] VR Comes to BMW Group

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] MOTOROiD Gesture Controlled Bike

Alan was strolling to his stage at CES, when one booth, in particular, caused him to stop and do a double take. This year was Yamaha’s first time at CES and Bob Starr, their Corporate Communications Manager, shares details about the products they have on display. A hand wave to come, a hand wave to back up – Yamaha has created the first-ever gesture controlled motorcycle. Designed by engineers in Japan, MOTOROiD is a motorcycle that uses facial recognition and gesture control to move the bike. It can balance itself, put the kickstand down and come to you when beckoned. This isn’t all that Yamaha is up to, find our more now.

[00:05:30] Improved Rider Unity

Motorcycles are machines to be respected and it takes learned skills to drive one properly. Yamaha is developing a product that will help further improve rider unity. Corporate Communications Manager for Yamaha, Bob Starr, talks about MOTOBOT, a robot designed for high-speed motorcycles. The robot knows how to shift gears, twist the throttle, pull the clutch and front break, and even turn the handlebars. Yamaha has taught MOTOBOT to even understand the counter-intuitive nature of going around a corner on a motorcycle. They are hoping that this technology will help make the experience better for the rider. Discover the amazing things Yamaha is doing.

[00:12:30] LiDAR 3D Images Surround Car

The safety of cars is greatly improving and there is one company that has been making leaps and bounds since 2005. John Eggert, Director of Automotive Sales and Marketing for Velodyne LiDAR, Inc., discusses their laser system that creates a 3D image around your vehicle, giving you 360° vision capability. While the company is still in its early phase, we can expect to see this technology in our cars in the future. Many OEMs and tech companies have noted that they view HD LiDAR as a requirement in all autonomous cars. It is currently being used in self-driving shuttles around the world, particularly in Europe. It’s time to get used to autonomous cars and thankfully, technology is making it safer around every corner.

[00:19:53] Predictive Accident Data

Sadly, there were over 40,000 fatalities this year in automotive related accidents. Arity, a spin-off from Allstate’s former connected car division, is tracking changes caused by tech integration. Senior Project Manager, Chris Wiklund, shares that Arity has been separated from Allstate in order to operate faster than typical insurance. The distracted drivers of connected cars are causing frequent accidents and it’s Arity’s job to use data in order to predict the error of the driver. They are working with companies to make transportation smarter and more efficient. Can Arity’s helpful predictions prevent accidents?

[00:27:36] Autonomous Sensors for Bad Weather

For a while now, automotive journalists have posed the question – what do autonomous sensors do in bad weather? Well, Dror Meiri, Vice President of Business Development for AdaSky, tells us that they have created sensors that can combat these less than perfect conditions. This Israeli start-up company has been running for two years and they have been developing sensor technology that can see in complete darkness, rain, snow, and fog. Safety concerns are a leading catalyst of the advancement of autonomous technology and AdaSky is working with many companies to implement these sensors. Would you trust a self-driving car in a blizzard?

[00:35:54] #AccessibleOlli 3D Printed Assistance

Local Motors has a gigantic multimillion dollar 3D printer that they have been using to make some pretty epic rides for the past few years. Brittany Stotler, VP of Marketing for Local Motors, shares about their newest venture to assist the elderly and disabled. Their company noticed that with all of the new autonomous technology, no one was focusing on making a handicapped accessible vehicle. Thus, #AccessibleOlli was born – a vehicle with a ramp that automatically deploys, and has an automatic lock to keep the passenger safe and secure. This ride was built in about 8 ½ weeks and was 90% 3D printed. Discover how Local Motors is making is possible for some to regain their freedom.

[00:42:15] Autonomous Pizza Delivery

Autonomous cars are working their way into areas that we could have never imagined. Wayne Williams, research scientist for Ford Motor Company, discusses about their newest endeavor with Domino’s Pizza, self-driven pizza deliveries. The autonomous car goes to the home (this time there is still a safety driver) and the prepaid customer is informed through text message that their pizza has arrived. The hungry patron must walk out, punch in a code, and grab their pie out of an insulated oven inside the car. This is just the beginning of autonomous deliveries. Explore the possibilities now.

[00:48:13] Human Interaction with Autonomy

While autonomous cars are most certainly a part of our future, there is still an element of unease when it comes to interacting with these machines. Research scientist for Ford Motor Company, Wayne Williams, explains that their company is already doing some field testing with a goal of documenting human interaction with self-driving rides. In cahoots with Domino’s, Ford has sent out autonomous pizza delivery vehicles and so far, people love it! Ford is also working closely with Virginia Tech who has created a light bar that will allow vehicle-to-human communication. With this tech, pedestrians can rest assured that the autonomous car has acknowledged their presence, granting them safe passage across the street. This type of research will give people reassurance that these vehicles can harmoniously exist on the road. Get ready to let your car do all the work.

[00:54:45] Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex Saves Lives

Unfortunately, most vehicle accidents are a result of human error, and falling asleep at the wheel is fairly common. Marketing Group Manager for Omron Automation Americas, Mike Chen, explains how vestibulo-ocular reflex, or the tracking of pupil movement, can be integrated into our cars to save lives. It can detect when a driver is getting drowsy two minutes ahead of time. It is up to the OEMs to decide how to implement this technology into their vehicles; in the past, a puff of air or audible alarm have been used to  alert the sleepy driver. Omron Automation doesn’t just create technology for the automotive sector, they have also created facial recognition that is deployed in 500 million devices around the world. A ping-pong tutor on display at CES, uses facial recognition to help the machine understand its opponent better. Will Omron Automation be the face of an technologically integrated future?

[01:02:08] AutonomouStuff Innovates the Future

A company in Illinois is working tirelessly at being a global leader in providing products, engineering software and services to help enable companies on their path to autonomy. Bobby Hambrick, Founder and CEO of AutonomouStuff, describes what it is their company does; they make sensors, lasers, cameras, radar, and software which all play a large part in autonomous vehicles. Bobby tells us this technology is extremely complicated, and it’s important to make sure that it is taken seriously and implemented safely. Consumers and car companies alike are chomping at the bit to have access to this technology and AutonomouStuff is making it happen. Discover the future now.

[01:10:20] CES’ Largest Show Ever

People zooming by like on the Jetsons, drones the size of helicopters, and gadgets that will make our cities smarter – technology is booming and won’t be slowing down any time soon. Rachel Horn, Director of Thought Leadership for the Consumer Technology Association, shares her excitement over their 2.75-million net square feet of exhibit space. She tells us that if they separated the automotive part of the show, it would be the fifth largest car show in the country. Rachel, whose family has been in the car industry for many years, is excited for the advancements that are being made in automotive technology. Eliminating human error, expanding transportation options for the elderly and disabled, and even restructuring how we move around cities is just the beginning of what the future holds for mobility. Explore CES.

[01:18:10] VR Comes to BMW Group

BMW has always been ahead of the game when it comes to innovative technology for their magnificent rides. This year is no different, and Thorsten Hefler, BMW’s Manager of Premium Retail Experience, talks about the company’s new virtual reality (VR) experience for automotive dealers and buyers. They want to give customers the chance to experience cars that they can’t show in physical form because they are only just announced. A potential buyer would just put on the VR glasses and explore the inside and outside of the car before it even hits the showroom floor. Find out how BMW is spreading this technology all over the world.

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Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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