Daimler's Dr. Zetsche talks about internet-connected electric cars at CES


What's a car company Chairman doing at CES, in Las Vegas, when one of the largest auto shows in the industry (NAIAS) is happening the same time in Detroit?

This week the big deal in the automotive industry is not only the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, but the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Automobiles are increasingly a platform for infotainment systems putting the auto and electronics industries on a converging course. A concrete example of this is todays keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show, by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. He was at CES to talk about the future of transportation, the increasing sophistication of on-board infotainment systems in cars, the value of information technology systems connected to cars, and the new avenues opened by electrification of the vehicle fleet.

"Here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas there are some people who view the automobile as an accessory to consumer electronics. Conversely, at the auto show in Detroit there are many people who view consumer electronics as mere trimmings for the car. Both points of view miss the point: as much as a smartphone can be far more than just a tool for communication, a smart car can be more than just a means of transportation. Precisely at the interfaces between communication and mobility, vast potential for innovation lies dormant, and we intend to tap it," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche.

With that he launched into a visionary tour of what might be the future of the automobile and transportation systems. The starting point was to name a set of transportation challenges; the environmental and climate effects of burning fossil fuel; the looming scarcity and rising cost of fossil fuel; and the crushing weight of traffic congestion. The paradox is the illusion of freedom offered by automobiles, but in truth comes with the dependencies and side effects just named. The vision offered by Dr. Zetsche is claimed to be a path to solving the paradox. Looking to preserve the role of the Automobile Industry he said "we will not only protect the traditional strength of automobiles, but also make further growth sustainable and create new opportunities.

Quoting Jeremy Rifkin who said "Great economic revolutions occur when new energy systems merge with new communication systems" Dr. Zetsche named two previous such revolutions; Printing presses & steam power; Broadcasting & oil. The revolution currently underway is said to be Electric mobility & communications technology.

The vision was described in terms of five freedoms, in which the car will provide even more freedom:

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Developing a car-air corridor can be one of the pre-requisites and a part of the plan of developing such a vehicle. It will serve as virtual fly overs for exclusive use of internet-controlled-electric-powered vehicles. Such vehicles can have the ability to lift themselves up to a higher level- say 5 meters above the ground and move within a band height of 10-15 meters from that level. As variety of automobiles/ transportation systems will be using the ground and all will not have the same features, the new concept vehicle will not have to worry while moving in a separate channel. It would also eliminate one constraint of controlling movement of such vehicles. It would meet the 'Freedom of Access' criterion mentioned in the article.
Developing a car-air corridor can be one of the pre-requisites and a part of the plan of developing such a vehicle. It will serve as virtual fly overs for exclusive use of internet-controlled-electric-powered vehicles. Such vehicles can have the ability to lift themselves up to a higher level- say 5 meters above the ground and move within a band height of 10-15 meters from that level. As variety of automobiles/ transportation systems will be using the ground and all will not have the same features, the new concept vehicle will not have to worry while moving in a separate channel. It would also eliminate one constraint of controlling movement of such vehicles. It would meet the 'Freedom of Access' criterion mentioned in the article.

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