Michigan-based Companies Unveil Connected Car Concepts at CES Conference


The 2015 International CES conference kicks off today in Las Vegas, where several Michigan-based companies  — including Visteon Corp., FCA US, and Valeo — will be unveiling the latest in connected car developments, among other technologies.

Van Buren Township-based Visteon is debuting a vehicle equipped with Verizon’s LTE Multicast technology, which allows automakers to simultaneously update firmware and software in an entire fleet, manufacturing plant, or region.

“By working with Verizon, we’re able to offer vehicle manufacturers an unparalleled solution for (Firmware Over-the-Air) updates,” says Martin T. Thall, executive vice president and president of electronics at Visteon. “Our solution significantly reduces network costs and is designed to provide higher bandwidth and more capability and security than current alternatives.”

Vehicles may be targeted by make, model, and electrical and component architecture, as well as customer and location, creating a host of potential connected applications ranging from personalization to enhanced location-based services, Thall says.

Meanwhile, FCA US, or Fiat Chrysler, is unveiling new services designed to help consumers monitor and maintain their vehicle’s key systems, navigate to desired destinations, and keep track of their vehicle’s location at all times.

The Auburn Hills-based automaker will also introduce a new smartphone app for its Uconnect communication system that allows users to utilize new remote services. For example, drivers can view the location of their vehicle on a map as well as send their location directly to another in-vehicle navigation system.

“We understand that our customers lead busy lifestyles and our goal is to minimize the everyday stresses by providing drivers with a variety of ways to stay conveniently connected to their vehicle,” says Al Amici, head of the automaker’s global Uconnect system and services.

French-based Valeo, which has its North American operations in Troy, will demonstrate its InBlue smartphone- and smartwatch-based virtual key. In addition to using Bluetooth technology to access and start a vehicle, the key also enables secure vehicle sharing, remote parking, and access to such vehicle data as tire pressure, fuel level, and the last location where the vehicle was parked.

Motorists also can use InBlue, which could be equipped on vehicles as early as 2016, to virtually transmit the vehicle key to another person, making it easy to share the vehicle with someone else, says Jean-Francois Tarabbia, Valeo’s senior vice-president of research and development.

“With heightened consumer demand for intuitive driving systems and connected vehicles, technologies such as InBlue … will help motorists maneuver in a variety of driving systems and make it easier to interact with other vehicles while delivering an enjoyable driving experience,” Tarabbia says.

For more information about the global consumer electronics and technology trade show, which runs through Friday, visit cesweb.org.