Once upon a time, “high tech” in a sports car meant how much faster engineers could tune the vehicle to go, or how a new suspension system would help it maintain proper ground clearance, even around hairpin turns.
These days, automakers are testing a staggering array of technological innovations, advancing mobility and the interface between passenger and the car—not where the rubber meets the road (or how quickly).
Consider, for example, how Porsche has been elevating the customer experience at its dealerships with augmented reality since last year. “Tech Live Look” is designed to boost technical services at U.S. Porsche dealers by allowing technicians to connect with a remote support team in real time. It will roll out to North American dealerships next year.
“Our main goal is to provide a better overall experience for our customers,” stated Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “Tech Live Look allows us to be more efficient and helps get vehicles back in the hands of our customers faster, all while still delivering exceptional service quality.”
The “Mission E Augmented Reality” (a connected collaboration with Google) merges the physical and digital worlds and invites fans to get a sneak peek at the future of Porsche. The Mission E, Zuffenhausen’s first purely electric sports car, will be launched at the end of 2019. At brand pop-up stores and trade shows, fans can already view interior and exterior details using an app and augmented reality, showcasing Porsche’s digital transformation and engineering ingenuity.
It’s also testing blockchain applications with XAIN to explore how crypto privacy would add value to the driving experience, such as locking and unlocking the vehicle remotely via an app, or letting owners authorize access to another person on a temporary basis.
“[The] technology makes it possible to assign temporary access authorizations for the vehicle, in a secure and efficient manner,” Porsche stated in a press release. “A protected connection to the vehicle data and functionalities can be established using blockchain. At the same time, it protects all communication between participants.”
XAIN became a trusted innovation partner of Porsche by winning a contest in June 2017, prevailing in the first “Porsche Innovation Contest” against more than 100 other startups.
AI and Autonomous Driving
Smarter self-driving tech is also a priority. At the 2018 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a Porsche Panamera was transformed by Taiwanese electronics giant Huawei into a driverless vehicle operated by a smartphone.
Huawei set up the driverless Panamera on the grounds of the stadium in a project called RoadReader that highlighted the powerful machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities that are built into the car’s central processor, reading and anticipating its surroundings.
“Our smartphone already is outstanding at object recognition,” said Huawei Western Europe CMO Andrew Garrihy. “We wanted to see if in a short space of time we could teach it to not only drive a car, but to use its AI capabilities to see certain objects, and be taught to avoid them.”
Because it’s Porsche, power, performance and design are always of paramount performance.
Take the Concept Study Mission E Cross Turismo introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, which featured compact electric motors and underbody battery, but no combustion engine, exhaust system or transmission tunnel.” In short, as Porsche commented, “Plenty of opportunities to question and rethink previous forms.”