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Autonomous Features on display at the New York International Auto Show

It is Press Week at The New York International Auto Show being held at the Javitz Center in New York City. The NYAIS debuted in 1900 and is the oldest show in North America. Every year since the event focuses on new technologies with a view to showcasing ideas that are forming the industry’s future.  Here are innovations from GM and Kia that attendees will see this year:

The Cadillac CT5 will offer will offer Super Cruise, the hands-free driving system that’s the closest thing you can buy to a self-driving car and the best thing to happen to long trips since the interstate highway system.

Cadillac's new CT5 sedan

Cadillac’s new CT5 sedan (Photo: Cadillac)

Super Cruise is the kind of feature owners will never do without once they’ve experienced it. Cadillac introduced it to acclaim on the CT6 sedan two years ago, but has yet to add it to a second model. The technology’s rollout across the whole model line begins with the CT5.

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Kia is showing off its HabaNiro is an electric, autonomous concept car.
In autonomous mode, the windshield becomes an entertainment screen.

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10 Technologies That Are Changing the World

Futurists of the 1950s and ’60s predicted that by the 2000s, flying cars and airborne robots would be a part of our everyday lives. Instead, we live in a world dominated by live streaming, smartphones and social networks.

While those forecasters didn’t quite get the timing right, they got the technology right. Today, we are at the brink of another technological boom. This time, technologies like self-driving vehicles and robot assistants are under development. Soon, these and the other exciting technologies described below will go mainstream, changing the world in the process.

Clearpath Robotics’ new autonomous warehouse robot can carry payloads up to 750 kilograms

If lugging 750-kilogram payloads around warehouse floors isn’t your idea of fun, good news: There’s a new robot that’ll do it for you. Clearpath Robotics — a company founded in 2009 by four University of Waterloo graduates who initially sought to develop a robot that could detect and remove land mines — today announced the Otto 750, a vehicle designed to autonomously transport pallets, racks, and other medium-sized payloads through obstacle-strewn environments.

It joins the Otto 100 (which is designed to carry 100-kilogram loads) and the Otto 1500 (which carries up to 1,500 kilograms) in Clearpath’s product lineup. “We realized [the Otto 750] was a Goldilocks solution,” Clearpath CEO Matt Rendall said in a statement. “Our customers have been asking for something just right for quite a while, and now we finally have it.”



I do not live in a dense urban setting. My neighborhood, though walkable in modern standards, does not easily accommodate a quick run by foot  to the corner store for missing ingredients needed for dinner. I can however hop in my car and find myself at the grocery store within 5 minutes. I am very used to the convenience and freedom of owning my own vehicle.

Four adults live in our household currently sharing two cars. There have only been a number of times I have felt inconvenienced by the lack of available transportation. My schedule and work commitments could easily adjust as I waited for a car to return. In a sense, our house is a microcosm of the the burgeoning car share industry. Until about a year ago, you could see 4 cars parked around our house. Our city enforces city service days and snow emergencies when no vehicles are allowed parking on the streets.  We found ourselves parking our cars in a public lot a ¼ mile away to avoid fines. I do not miss this activity as our remaining cars line up easily in the driveway. I do not miss that many cars always in my sight lines.

The car share industry may feel very new to you with Zipcar jumping to mind followed by Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise offering true car share opportunities alongside their base rental business, but the concept has been around for a while.

There is a Classic Car Club in England. The mission statement on their homepage reads,”Established in London in 1995, Classic Car Club is an exclusive private members’ club for people who love the joy of driving classic cars but not the heartache of looking after them.” The idea is simple, everyone loves the idea of racing down a country road in your Lamborghini, but how to store it and where will the mechanic live, we’ll have to renovate the chauffeurs quarters above the carriage house. I digress. This concept of access without ownership is now available to the masses.

A lot has happened since 1995 when CCC of London, England decided to share the burden of  purchasing, insuring, maintaining, and storing these elite vehicles for an elite few. Technology once again has leveled the playing field. It’s true your car share app may not lead you to a Porsche conveniently parked in front of the local hardware store, but you may find a Ford Focus there that will still get you where you need to go. Smart Technology does not only create a possible autonomous driver, but it helps with the economics of maintenance and all that entails.

Ownership will become a choice that does not infringe on the right for mobility.

Automotive giant Lear will pay $320M to acquire Seattle-area connected car startup Xevo

Global automotive giant Lear today announced that it will acquire Seattle-area connected car startup Xevo for $320 million.

Xevo, originally founded in 2000 as UIEvolution, develops connected-car software with more than 25 million vehicles on the road today using its proprietary technology. It sells two products, Xevo Journeyware and Xevo Market, that allow drivers to interact with in-car content and connects them with popular food, fuel, parking, hotel, and retail brands via touchscreen and mobile apps. The company, which announced a partnership with Domino’s Pizza last month, employs around 160 people at its Bellevue, Wash. headquarters and another 140 across the globe.

When freeways have no futures

Freeway construction was a disaster for city neighborhoods in the 20th Century. Many neighborhoods were divided in two—their main streets demolished and businesses closed, disproportionately in minority communities. The African-American Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans is a good example, as the elevated Claiborne Expressway was built in the 1960s over Claiborne Avenue, a boulevard with a central green space that served as the commercial heart of Tremé. Claiborne Avenue was never the same.

Many freeways built through cities are unnecessary. After San Francisco’s 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, for example, the Embarcadero and Central freeways were damaged beyond safe use. Traffic disasters were predicted when they were closed, but failed to occur. Boulevards replaced the freeways instead, opening up the waterfront and uniting neighborhoods in the City by the Bay.