Automakers tout software, driverless tech to take on Tesla and China

on Sep11
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Amazon was among a number of technology companies at the IAA motor show in Munich. The presence of Amazon, Qualcomm, Samsung and other tech giants underscores how traditional automakers are looking to bolster the tech in their cars.

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

MUNICH — You’d be forgiven for thinking that the IAA, one of the world’s biggest motor shows, is actually a technology conference, after tech giants like Amazon, Qualcomm and Samsung all showed up for this year’s event.

Their presence underscores demand for traditional automakers to boost the technology in their vehicles, from software to hardware, as they look to catch up with Tesla in the electric car future. Ramping up technology features is also essential to meet buyer expectations in China.

“Tesla and the Chinese start-ups. This is the two-way force they [traditional automakers] are experiencing, driving them to have more user experience in the car,” Mohit Sharma, automotive research analyst at CCS Insight, told CNBC.

They can’t do it alone. Carmakers are looking at tech firms for help, while also trying to work on items like software in house.

Part of Tesla’s global success has come down to its technology in a number of areas, from batteries to Autopilot — its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), which uses semi-autonomous driving features. The screen within Tesla cars is also akin to that of a smartphone.

Those features are what rival automakers are trying to build and get ahead on.

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It’s not just about the screen — automakers are also looking into using all parts of the car to display information. BMW said the Neue Klasse EV models it unveiled on Saturday will have what it calls Panoramic Vision, a heads-up display which projects information on the windscreen at the driver’s eyeline.

To make the drive as comfortable as possible, U.S. EV maker Lucid showed off the massage feature of the seats in its Air Midnight Dream Edition car.

Driverless features push

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Tech is key in China

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