“The Philadelphia Auto Show is a great place to-
scope out emerging technologies.”
By: Pete Rudloff
The Philly Auto show is one of the largest in the nation. Boasting 700,000 square feet of space and showcasing 700 brand new and prototype cars, the Philly Auto show is an ideal place to find out what new technologies are emerging for 2017. We also had a glimpse of a few pre-production 2018 models.
Not just a showcase of new cars that are for sale, the Philly Auto show is owned and produced by the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia (ADAGP), which is the oldest dealer group in the nation. The show directly benefits the ADAGP’s philanthropic group Auto Dealer CARing for Kids Foundation, which contributes to worthwhile child related programs through the greater Philadelphia area. Since its inception in 2003, they have contributed over $6.4 million to charitable causes that help kids!
It would be easy to get lost in all the technology on display at the auto show, so let’s look at a few things that stood out.
Many manufacturers have incorporated LED lights into their new platforms. LED technology has come a long way in a short period of time. Semiconductor LED technology by companies like CREE and Soul Semiconductors have paved the way to lights bright enough to be used not just as marker, clearance and puddle lights, but, also headlights, including high beam. GM unveiled their first vehicle with full LED head lights and high beams appropriately fitted in their flagship Escalade. The headlamps incorporate the industry’s first Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked, hand cut crystal like lenses and LEDs. The low beam consisting of five crystal lensed LEDs.
Body shops should pay special attention to the hand cut crystal like lenses. It’s not hard to predict that these will be some pricy lamps to replace after a collision. The escalade also boasts LED illumination built into the door handles.
Other notable LED vehicles were the Jeep Cherokee which boasted zero incandescent bulbs throughout the entire vehicle. Volvo showed off their “Thor’s Hammer” a nickname given to their T shaped daytime LED running lamps.
LED technology is going to replace incandescent lighting in the next few years. This will require a bit of a change in diagnostic approach as LEDs tend to pull significantly less amperage during operation. This is because semiconductor technology is significantly more efficient at converting energy to light that very little energy is required to make big time brightness.
Wireless cell phone charging
We first noticed it in the GMC Denali, but realized that many manufacturers including Volvo, Toyota, Scion and others are adding in a wireless charging pad for cell phones. Part of being a connected society means we need to keep our smart phones charged. Wireless pads mean you don’t have to remember to plug you phone in. Just set it down and it charges itself.
Cameras and radar
Adaptive cruise control and lane departure technology is not brand new, but it has reached a new level of advancement. Companies like Hyundai and Volvo are putting displays right in the interment cluster that indicate where your vehicle is compared to the road lanes. GM now shakes the driver seat if your truck drifts out of your chosen lane. Other manufacturers are utilizing multiple cameras to create a virtual bird’s eye view of the vehicles surroundings.
Maybe most impressive of the all the collision avoidance was Subaru’s EyeSight system. Utilizing stereo cameras tucked by the rearview mirror, the Eyesight system is constantly running threat assessments to determine if it should audibly or visually warn you if a collision is eminent or if the system needs to take control of the vehicle’s brake and powertrain systems to prevent a collision.
Selectable dash display
GM unveiled their selectable dash in both the Denali and Escalade models which allows the user to completely reconfigure the cluster display to a style that suits them better. This is possible because GM has done away with conventional gauge clusters that utilize individual gauges and gone to a cluster size computer screen. With 4 selectable options, Simple, Balanced, Performance and Enhanced, there is probably a display that fits you perfectly.
With a push of a button, the driver can completely change the configuration of their gauge cluster. these are all from the same truck!
As auto technicians it is important to keep up on emerging technologies. In no time at all we will be repairing these systems either during a collision repair or just because the vehicle is out of warranty. Knowing what is coming down the pike will allow you, as the service professional, to get the training you need to competently work on these systems once they hit your bay.