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This year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was a mix of announcements and reveals ranging from jaw-dropping to just meh. The overarching theme: connectivity and varying degrees of autonomous driving. With the dust barely settled from CES, Detroit felt more like a reminder that autonomous driving is destined to become ubiquitous in the near future, rather than the reveal-heavy shows we love and expect. That said, Volvo did bring the heat to the autonomous driving discussion (see below). This year, the standout booths were those that showcased exciting design and promising performance among the sea of new and developing tech.
The E-Class sedan and wagon were bound to be joined by a sportier coupe sooner or later. But the Coupe’s pièce de résistance is the semi-autonomous Drive Pilot system, which uses cameras and radar to control the steering and brakes at speeds up to 130 mph (you know, for the Autobahn).
Volvo took a huge step towards the future with the Drive Me program. One-hundred families in Sweden were selected to be guinea pigs for its autonomous car technology. Volvo says it’s looking to learn and develop the self-driving tech in real-world driving situations.
Kia is another manufacturer looking to ditch its boring, rental-car reputation. In contrast with Toyota and the Camry, Kia gave its new sport sedan rear-wheel-drive and a kickass name. High hopes for this one.
The I.D. Buzz concept was VW’s outlet for using the industry buzzwords “autonomy,” “connectivity” and “sustainability.” The crowd’s initial reaction to the the all-electric throwback seemed to be a resounding “make this, please.”
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