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: CES 2017 Electric Car Highlights

CES 2017 Electric Car Highlights

11 Jan

The annual CES international trade show from January 5 – 8, 2017 featured the latest in consumer electronics technologies from around the world.

Sleek lines of the Faraday Future FF91 have a co-efficient of drag of just 0.25

Sleek lines of the Faraday Future FF91 have a co-efficient of drag of just 0.25

January 3rd was the start of media press days prior to CES, highlighted by an unveiling by Faraday Future of their new Electric Supercar FF91. Impressive power is provided by three electric motors and a 130-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to produce the equivalent of 1050 horsepower to the drive train, in order to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.39 seconds.

Faraday Future FF91 chassis with three electric motors and all-wheel steering.

Faraday Future FF91 chassis with three electric motors and all-wheel steering.

All-wheel steering allows the rear wheels and front wheels to be steered independently out-of- phase for high-speed “carving” or in-phase for quick obstacle avoidance by “crabwalking”, with the addd capability of providing torque vectoring features. Rear-wheel steering also makes it easier for the vehicle to autonomously self-park by backing into a parking space, as was exhibited during one of the demos that evening.

The high-end production car was planned to be manufactured at a factory to be built in the Apex Industrial Park within North Las Vegas. Financial setbacks to the primary investor and company co-founder Y.T. Jia have slowed construction of the factory. Jia was present at the unveiling to emphasize his commitment to continue producing the FF91.

Artist's rendering of Faraday Future factory to be built at Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas, NV.

Artist’s rendering of Faraday Future factory to be built at Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas, NV.

Nick Sampson, Senior Vice-President of engineering, research and development at Faraday Future, stated that factory construction would resume shortly during 2017.

Volkswagen ID concept car

Volkswagen ID concept car

Plug-in electric concept cars were rolled out by nine automotive manufacturers in a big way, but also highlighted the future of the automotive industry as being both connected and autonomous, as well as more electrified.

Honda NeuV self-driving concept car

Honda NeuV self-driving concept car

North Hall exhibits at Las Vegas Convention Center included the Chrysler Portal, Volkswagen ID, Toyota Concept-i, Honda NeuV, and Mercedes Vision Van.

Mercedes Vision Van with rooftop drone-launching platform.

Mercedes Vision Van with rooftop drone-launching platform.

Autonomous, self-driving versions of the Nissan LEAF, Tesla Motors Model S with Autopilot, Audi Q7, BMW 5-series and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric were also showcased.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric with Autonomous Driving capability

Hyundai Ioniq Electric with Autonomous Driving capability

Many of the autonomous vehicles exhibited red Nevada license plates with a sideways “infinity” symbol that is used to alert other drivers or pedestrians that an autonomous vehicle is sharing the road.

The red Nevada plate with sideways "infinity" symbol denotes the car as having self-driving, autonomous capabilities.

The red Nevada plate with sideways “infinity” symbol denotes the car as having self-driving, autonomous capabilities.

SAE International has defined five levels of autonomous driving capabilities, with level 1 at the low-end of the scale (driver only/no autonomy) to level 3 (some autonomy but driver needs to take over when alerted by vehicle) to level 5 (full autonomy with no intervention by passengers.

Audi AI self-driving car, based on Q7 model.

Audi AI self-driving car, based on Q7 model.

Audi and Tesla Motors have been working with NVidia to more fully implement self-driving artificial intelligence into its cars. The Tesla Motors Model S and Model X with Autopilot continue to push the envelop in autonomous vehicle operations.

NVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang delivered a keynote presentation to CES attendees that included a presentation about the company’s newest Drive PX platform, built around an “AI supercomputer on a chip” with 512 processing cores that can compute 30 trillion operations per second through deep neural networks.

“What used to be science fiction is going to become reality in the coming years,” Huang said. “By applying this technology, we can revolutionize the automobile.”

The DriveWorks software operating system includes an AI Co-Pilot application that can be tailored to understand the world around and inside an automobile, by the use of both external and internal cabin sensors coupled with deep learning processes.

NAVYA ARMA self-driving electric shuttle bus that will debut in downtown Las Vegas.

NAVYA ARMA self-driving electric shuttle bus that will debut in downtown Las Vegas.

A real-world application of artificial intelligence and “level 5″ autonomous driving was exhibited by NAVYA, a French manufacturer of self-driving electric shuttle buses. The company announced on January 10th that it will be partnering with public transportation company Keolis, that operates the CAT bus system for the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission.

Frontal view of NAVYA ARMA bus showing lidar sensors and red Nevada autonomous vehicle license plate

Frontal view of NAVYA ARMA bus showing lidar sensors and red Nevada autonomous vehicle license plate

The partnership will launch a pilot program in downtown Las Vegas within the Innovation District surrounding East Fremont Street, to test the autonomous shuttle bus under real-world traffic conditions.

Internal cabin view from the NAVYA ARMA includes GPS map display

Internal cabin view from the NAVYA ARMA includes GPS map display

The shuttle bus will also employ inductive charging autonomously, so that no human hands will need to plug a charger into the vehicle’s battery pack after its daily run. About five hours of charge time is required to replenish the 32-kWh battery pack wirelessly.

ARMA autonomous electric shuttle bus recharges with wireless inductive charging system.

ARMA autonomous electric shuttle bus recharges with wireless inductive charging system.

“The city of Las Vegas is on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, building on the strong tech foundation provided by SWITCH and Nellis Air Force Base,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “The city of Las Vegas is making major investments to improve motorist mobility and safety, provide reliable transportation choices and showcase technology in downtown Las Vegas, and we are thrilled Keolis is taking us a step in that direction.”

ChargePoint Express Plus DC Fast Charge System will employ up to eight 50-kW modules to provide as much as 400 kw of charging capability.

ChargePoint Express Plus DC Fast Charge System will employ up to eight 50-kW modules to provide as much as 400 kw of charging capability.

ChargePoint also exhibited its new DC Fast Charge technology during CES 2017. The ChargePoint Express Plus can combine up to eight modular DC Fast Charge modules of 50 kW in series to provide up to 400 kW of DC Fast Charge capability.

Atmo exhibited a streamlined battery pack swapping system

Atmo exhibited a streamlined battery pack swapping system

Atmo, a two-person startup company from South San Francisco, CA exhibited a streamlined version of a battery-swapping station for electric cars. Cars drive onto a conveyor belt where new batteries are placed every second slot. The old battery is dropped out into an open slot and a new battery pushed up into the underneath chassis from the filled slot.

As Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn noted during his keynote speech at CES 2017, “The automotive industry will change more within the next five to ten years than during the last 50 years.”

Blog posted by Stan Hanel, NEVA Outreach Coordinator

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