What’s new at the Detroit Auto Show
The new car at the Detroit Auto Show is full of strange new technologies. But it has nothing to do with automation or autopilot.
STEVE INSKEEP, moderator:
You know what happened to the phone over time. You know, a few years ago – the past – 10 years ago, 15 years ago, it was just a mobile phone.
RACHEL MARTIN, moderator:
Yes – one phone. So now it is also a map of the watch camera, let your friends humiliate them to come back for dinner, they…
INSKEEP : (Laughter).
Martin: … didn’t pay.
INSKEEP: There are more.
NPR’s Sonari Glinton participated in a major auto show in Detroit and found that the same thing happened now in the car.
SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: The new car’s options are a bit like the function menu. Lincoln will provide you with a concierge service. And Mercedes-Car knows you are on a windy road that will help you control your steering curve. Subaru has a built-in dog ramp. Honda is focused on your parenting skills.
MICAH MUZIO: Honda has done a lot of smart things by integrating technologies that are not only cool and that make it easier for parenting.
GLINTON: Micah Muzio collaborates with Kelley Blue Book. He is the father of a toddler who took me around the Honda Odyssey to express his views.
MUZIO: So when I say that making parenting easier, I mean, as a driver – you know, we have a representative there. Say hello, Davis Adams.
Davis Adams: Hey, Davis Adams.
MUZIO: That’s great. Should we play role play?
Greenton: Ok. So you will sit in the back seat.
MUZIO: Ok. Ok, no problem.
Greenton: So I will sit in the middle row?
MUZIO: So I position myself in the third row. I am a picky, discerning child, Davis wants to pay close attention to what I am doing.
Greenton: Oh, I am looking for – I just realized that there is a camera in the car. Davis is holding it and he sees my baldness.
MUZIO: What’s interesting is that when you are a driver, you mean the child is in the opposite direction. This is a good way, instead of keeping his eyes away from where he drove, he can see the screen in the middle of the screen and then see. Davis, how many fingers do I lift?
Adams: You lifted two, Micah.
MUZIO: Look at the bottom left. What do you see at the bottom left of the screen?
GLINTON: Cabin Talk.
MUZIO: Yes. Davis, would you like to explain?
ADAMS: Cabin Talk allows you to use the microphone in front of your car and spread your voice to the back of the car. So if you want to be a parent from the front seat without having to improve your voice or something like that, you can do it from here without being too crazy.
MUZIO: You don’t want to hear this from here? Let us really play the role-playing role.
Oh no. I am very picky and unpleasant. Davis, train me.
Adams: Micah, don’t let me go back there.
MUZIO: Yes, sir.
Greenton: It’s a bit interesting here. Many car companies have been playing around with the interior of the car, and the lighter materials allow you to quickly change the configuration of your minivan or SUV.
MUZIO: One of the things I really like about the second row of the Odyssey is that it has something called Buddy Mode. Can I show you friend mode?
Greenton: By the way, he always does.
MUZIO: Ok. No no no no. You have to sit here. it is good.
MUZIO: So look at what I am going to do now. it is good. Whee.
So I am now sliding next to Sonari, making him very uncomfortable. But the most important thing is it – it keeps them in different positions, just in case, the kids are fighting. The beauty of this technology is that it is a super easy to use thing. And mothers and fathers are more focused and safe when driving. This is wonderful.
Greenton: Don’t let me go back there.
Sonari Glinton, NPR News, Detroit.
(Song’s voice, “My car drives”)
THE BEATLES : (singing) Baby, you can drive my car.