The halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center are still being prepped, but just outside, the AutoMobility Technology Pavilion is offering a glimpse into how cars and driving are evolving.
There’s no better example than “Reach Now,” a full-fledged division of BMW that is car-sharing and ride-sharing, with a BMW touch. It sounds pricey, but the company insists getting a ride from their drivers is right in line with high-end Uber rides.
“It’s actually about the same price as, say, an Uber X. So we’re really comparable. Our goal is never to be the cheapest solution. We’re BMW. Our goal is to provide a premium service, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a premium price in the sense that it’s out of the average person’s price range,” said Steve Banfield with Seattle-based Reach Now.
And here’s a different twist on ride-sharing. Orange County-based “See Jane Go” aims to make female drivers and riders feel more comfortable.
“We only take women drivers. You’ll get a woman driver every time. But a man can come along for the ride only if he’s accompanied by a woman,” said Cassandra Miller of See Jane Go.
There’s also lots of talk about leaving the driving to the car, with companies hard at work to make sure people feel comfortable trusting the technology.
“Making sure that the data that is coming from the sensors, from the tires, from the cameras that are looking at the environment. Making sure that all of that gets to the intelligent brain reliably and safely,” said Russ Christensen with Wind Automotive.
He explained how San Diego-based Wind River Systems is working with auto makers to ensure that self-driving cars are up to the task of taking over for a human behind the wheel.
How about a self-driving shuttle bus? Local Motors is showing one off with lots of seats, but no driver’s seat or controls. It’s fully electric powered, and would mean there’s no tipping needed, since there’s no one to tip.
In the meantime, lots of people still want to drive, and drive cars that are fun. Honda used an offsite location to roll out their latest Civic Si. This turbocharged sporty compact will employ new technology like active steering and active suspension and goes on sale in mid-2017.
If you want to check out on what’s going on at the Los Angeles Auto Show, you can check out the website at www.laautoshow.com.