What’s new at the Detroit auto show?
The new cars on display at the Detroit auto show are full of novel technology. But it has nothing to do with automation or self-driving cars.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
You know what happens over time. You know, a few years ago – ten years ago, fifteen years ago, it was just a telephone.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Yes – telephone. So now it’s also a watch camera map a way to humiliate your friends, to get you back to dinner, they…
Martin:…… Not paying.
NPR’s Sonari Glinton found the same thing at a big motor show in Detroit.
SONARI GLINTON, wired: the choice of a new car is a bit like a dinner menu. Lincoln will associate you with the concierge. The Mercedes – this car knows you’re on a windy road and will help you control your turn. Subaru has a built-in dog ramp. Honda focuses on your parenting skills.
MICAH MUZIO: Honda has done so many smart things by integrating technology that is not only cool and technologically advanced, but also really makes parenting easier.
GLINTON: Micah Muzio and kelley blue book. He was the father of a young child, and he showed my opinion near the Honda Odyssey.
MUZIO: so when I say make parenting easier, I mean, as a driver – you know, we have a representative there. Hello, Davis Adams.
Davis Adams: hi, Davis Adams.
MUZIO: that’s good. Should we play a role?
GLINTON: ok. So you’re sitting in the back seat.
MUZIO: ok. Ok, no problem.
Linton: then I’ll sit in the middle row?
MUZIO: so I positioned myself in the third row. I’m a picky, picky toddler, and Davis wants to keep a close eye on what I’m doing.
GLINTON: oh, I was watching – I just realized there was a camera in the car. Davis is pinching it. He’s looking at my bald head.
GLINTON: he can zoom in. And you’re in the third row, you can see you making obscene gestures (laughter).
MUZIO: so the best part is when you’re a driver, you’re talking about the exact opposite direction of where your child is. It’s a great way to get out of his sight without looking at the place he’s driving, but to see the screen in the middle of the screen and see. Davis, how many fingers do I have?
Adams: you raise two, micah.
MUZIO: look at the bottom left. What do you see it in the lower left corner of the screen?
GLINTON: the cabin talk.
MUZIO: yes. Davis, do you want to explain?
ADAMS: Cabin Talk allows you to use the front of the microphone and transmit your voice to the back of the car. So if you want to get from the front seat parents without having to raise your voice or something like that, you can do that from here, not too crazy.
MUZIO: don’t you want to hear it from here? Let’s really play the role.
Very bad for you. I’m fussy and unhappy. Davis, punish me.
Adams: micah, don’t let me go back there.
MUZIO: yes, Sir.
GLINTON: this is something interesting. Many car companies have been tinkering with car interiors and lighter materials, which will allow you to quickly change the configuration of minivans or your suvs.
MUZIO: one of the things I really like about the second row of Odyssey is that it has something called a partnership model. Can I show you my buddy model?
GLINTON: by the way, he always does.
MUZIO: ok. No, no, no, no. You have to sit here and do that. Good.
So I have now slipped down beside Sonari and made him very uncomfortable. But the best part is it – you can put them in different places, just in case, the kids are fighting. The best part of the technology is the super easy to use. Mothers and fathers are more focused and safer driving. That’s wonderful.
GLINTON: don’t let me go back there.
Sonari Glinton, NPR news, Detroit.
(” SOUNDBITE OF SONG “, “drive my car”)
BEATLES :(singing) baby, you can drive my car.