MWC 2018

7 Inventions That Look More Like Phones On Wheels Than Cars

It’s no secret that carmakers are begrudgingly accepting that the world is going electric. EVs have started to hit the road for a while now and the most visionary of them are breaking the rules with intelligent, self-driving models, pushing the industry forward. But you don’t realize how many companies are playing this game until you’re at a trade show of the magnitude of Mobile World Congress. Indeed, moving from hall to hall, we saw more phones on wheels there than anywhere else. #automagic

1. SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest mobile provider, brought forward its 5G self-driving car. It was an awesome opportunity to also put on display their advancements in 3D HD mapping and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications.

2. Intel showed off the first succesful multi-vendor 5G-connected Toyota car trial at their booth. The car exterior is nothing special but the suite of technologies inside are worth a closer look. The company’s Road Experience Management (REM) system connects to a Mobileye camera and interprets the environment around the car enabling real-time mapping for a driverless fleet in the near future. If you don’t know, Intel is partnering up with NTT DoCoMo to offer 5G coverage and 360-degree 8K video streams at the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo.

3 &4. Mercedes had one of the biggest booths at the event, showcasing both an autonomous car as well as AR technology for an A-Class vehicle. As you can imagine, the Smart Vision EQ fortwo was the most spectacular of the two. The tiny vehicle sported a black panel grille and LED displays instead of headlamps and tail lamps with an intermittent welcome message. There were no steering wheel and pedals in sight. The side windows, though, served more than one purpose – they could be used to project info from the interior.

The A-Class boasted the MBUX, which will enter series production this year. The car was imagined with a high-res, touchscreen cockpit, an AR navigation panel and a smart assistant which wakes up at this unsurprising vocal command: “Hey Mercedes”.

5. Audi didn’t disappoint, either. The carmaker had on display A8, the first production vehicle with Level 3 autonomy. That’s not all – expect touchscreens and massage seats as well, just like a futuristic car deserves.

6. Maserati didn’t bring a prototype to the table. Instead, the carmaker teamed up with Idemia and Omoove to show an alternative way of opening the car’s doors via facial recognition. A selfie as a key? There’s an idea!

7. Finally, Formula 1! Their racing cars didn’t shock with a new form factor. Instead, new services and technologies made headlines. Formula 1 will starts a new streaming service, ad-free, called F1 TV. This will take footage from pilots’ on-board cameras, giving viewers the freedom to arrange the feeds as they like on their devices. There was also talk of biometric gloves for drivers.

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