CES: Car Entertainment From Disney

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Audi is calling it “a new type of media” for the autonomous car.  It’s an entertainment system to be revealed at CES, developed by both Audi and The Walt Disney Company, reported CNET’s Roadshow.

Disney is well accustomed to building experiences for their customers (think theme parks) and it is highly interested in doing so for cars of the future.

While the full Audi/Disney plans are under wraps until CES, Audi’s Nils Wollny told Roadshow, “I’d call it a new media type that isn’t existing yet that takes full advantage of being in a vehicle…We created something completely new together, and it’s very technologically driven.”

Intel and Warner Brothers are thinking along the same lines.

Late last year, Intel announced it partnered with Warner Bros to develop “in-cabin, immersive experiences” in autonomous cars. Just before the LA Auto Show, the companies said they will use Warner Bros’ fictional characters such as Batman to create themed in-car experiences.  So passengers would see Gotham City projected onto the windows and it would appear they were driving through Gotham in a Batmobile.

Once we are no longer actually driving our cars, entertainment will play a much larger role in the car, say analysts who now claim that entertainment will be the main differentiator between types of autonomous cars, or “pods” as they are sometimes called.

Road & Track wrote earlier this year that while audio has had to fight its way into the car, competing with heating & cooling and other systems for years, it’s now about to win a prominent place in the dash.  The magazine said, “…it’s difficult not to smile at what will eventually be a flawless victory for the audio engineers. In 1965, they didn’t rate a palm-sized space on the dashboard; in 2035, quality of in-car entertainment may be the primary point of differentiation among autonomous pods.”

The lead paragraph in a recent Wall Street Journal story agreed. “If cars do become the next smartphone—a full-blown information and entertainment system but on wheels— Samsung Electronics Co. may have a leg up on its competitors.”  It explored plans by Harman, now owned by Samsung, to create a “digital cockpit” that makes use of a 5G connection to cars. But the takeaway here is that cars are forecast to become “smartphones on wheels” with an entertainment/infotainment systems at their core.

Here’s another example of things to come.  A new car hailing service, Alto, will let customers choose a “vibe” for their ride, from the lighting to the music.  Alto said it is filling a “significant gap” in the ride hailing business.  It functions as a kind of middle ground between Uber and a limo service, allowing customers to pre-select the entertainment and ambiance for the car.  You can read more about the service here.

We’re looking forward to CES in January with more glimpses into the ‘entertainment pod’ of the future

Photo: Intel- Warner Brothers’ “Batmobile”

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1 Comment

  1. The Israelis developed a windscreen which double up as a touch screen for military vehicles around 2 years ago.

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