The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, has attracted high-tech companies showing off the latest advanced gadgets for decades. In recent years, as cars and computers have merged ever closer. The Consumer Electronics show became a popular venue for global automakers announcing major technology initiatives. Toyota used the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show for just that purpose. Announcing multiple initiatives focused on the future of automotive technology.
Actually, the biggest news went beyond Toyota and included a total of 26 companies across the automotive and technology industry. And policymakers on the facts regarding automated vehicles so that they can fully participate in shaping the future of our roads and highways.” Put another way, PAVE wants people in government and private citizens to have realistic, factual knowledge of what autonomous technology can, and can not, do, both now and in the future.
This is a good idea because consumer opinion of autonomous technology has taken a hit over the past year. Cox Automotive (Kelley Blue Book’s parent company) has been surveying consumers on this topic for the past few years. And the negative headlines about injuries and fatalities related to autonomous testing have reduced the average consumer’s opinion of, and trust in, self-driving cars.
PAVE intends to counteract the negative sentiment regarding autonomous tech with an education website, hands-on demonstrations, toolkits and policy-maker workshops for both consumers and government officials. The coalition is made up of automakers like Audi, Daimler, General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen, but it also includes AAA. The National Federation of the Blind. The National Safety Council and technology heavy hitters like Cruise Automation, Intel, Mobileye. And NVIDIA. Executives from many of these companies attended CES this year to describe PAVE’s goals. Which are further explained on the coalition’s website.
Toyota’s other big news focused on the automaker’s partnership with Kenworth Truck Company to develop zero-emission Kenworth T680 Class A trucks. These semi trucks, powered by twin Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains. Offer more torque than diesel engines while making almost no noise and emitting only water vapor. Testing on these trucks has already covered more than 10,000 miles while hauling cargo from the Port of Los Angeles. And the Port of Long Beach to rail yards and warehouses throughout the Los Angeles area.
This effort goes hand in hand with Toyota’s goal of offering an electrified version of every they produce by 2025, and given the air quality in and around these ports, it’s a worthwhile use of this drivetrain technology.