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2020 has been a great year for learning about the latest automotive technology and how it can improve our lives and make the world a better safer place. In this year-end review, I would like to share with you some of the wonderful things I learned in 2020 to combat the challenges of this year.

The year started off on a high at CES in Las Vegas. In fact, I was flying high above the Las Vegas Strip in the Goodyear blimp. Goodyear provided rides in one of my bucket list types of transportation the Goodyear blimp. It was a very smooth ride. I also learned from the Goodyear people about some of their latest tyre technology.

I went for a ride near the Vegas Strip in an autonomous car equipped with Qualcomm technology. It was like being in the backseat of a regular human driver. What happened at CES in Las Vegas didn’t stay in Las Vegas such as the VISION AVTR from Daimler, Fisker Ocean and HARMAN Ignite Marketplace. I saw a mixed bag of concepts, integrations with Amazon Alexa, 5G announcements, a concept car from Sony and robots.

Many companies showed how they are monitoring drivers in various forms. One system from EyeSight Technologies showed if I was smoking a cigarette (a fake one.) There are even cabin monitoring systems that can tell whether people are dancing in the backseat and even if a dog is panting too much.

I also learned that for autonomous vehicles there needs to be simulation and AI to make it all work, especially in ‘Black Swan’ scenarios.

One of the most important things I learned about at CES was how grēnlite UV Angel uses UV-C light to disinfect the interior of emergency and autonomous vehicles. Little did I know at the time about the impending pandemic from the coronavirus that followed.

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Norm and Zoom

Then the lockdown inspired me to learn about ways to disinfect vehicles. There are Emist systems that can kill Covid-19 and Clorox Total 360 sanitizing at AutoNation. Covid-19 helped to spread contactless car services, digital inspections and touch-free disinfection using Far UV-C light can disinfect without damaging your skin. A new coating could kill the coronavirus for years.

In the U.S. I learned that to stay Covid-free there was a rise in drive-through, eating, worshipping and even tire rotation.

Pandemic restaurant closures means more people are eating in their cars. After an egg roll disaster in Chinese restaurant’s parking lot, I learned how to protect myself and my car while eating in it. During an escape to the beach, I learned about SONDORS e-bikes that are foldable and popular.

The pandemic also will change the way people use their cars. People are using their cars as an escape and office space. Many of the top world designers revealed how they believe the pandemic will change car design in the future. Jay Sanders joined in the Zoom conference from his car.

The dogs in the neighbourhood were excited that I was able to interview Norm the Scooter Dog’s trainer and to learn that even a little Yorkie could learn to ride a scooter.


Going Virtual in 2020

The future of EV charging is also changing post-Covid-19, EV drivers like that they do not have to use a dirty gas pump.

Fewer cars on the road during our stay-at-home orders meant fewer wild animals were being killed. I learned that the same technology automakers are using for car safety are being used to help wildlife stay safe crossing roads. It is easier to train the deer to use culverts under the highway than to get the drivers to stop for them.

It’s great that technology is also helping to make the future of paratransit better for people with disabilities and prevent distracted driving.

I learned that soon emergency services in the U.S. will be digitally enhanced enabling location, photographs and data. Qualcomm experts explained how C-V2X technology will work. I also learned that displays will change sizes, shapes and even be bendable and flexible in the future.

Due to the pandemic, I didn’t attend many in-person automotive events except for the exclusive up close and personal visit with the innovators at the Lucid Air premier. However, during the virtual MOVE America conference, I learned about the amazing work of The Ray and contactless audio payments from LISNR. The Battery Show revealed how auto and battery makers are following the lead of Tesla.

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It has been a very rough hottest year ever here in California with wildfires that made the air smell like logs burning in a fireplace. However, I was happy to participate in Auto Futures’ E-Week covering CoMotion LA that celebrated the new deal for electrification after the election of Joe Biden and hope for a future of less climate change from vehicles.


A Happy and Safe New Year

I’m pleased to be living in California the Golden State for electrification. After five years of driving electric nothing has changed except for an increased appreciation for new car technology.

Now I don’t have to worry about what will happen to the batteries from electric cars, because of innovations in battery recycling and reuse.

2020 has been an interesting year with unique learning for all. I hope that next year will be healthier and safer. Thank you for helping me learn how wonderful ingenuity and new technology can help us all be harm-free.

To learn more about my Auto Futures fact-finding journeys – follow Auto Futures on Twitter.

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