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Innovation in the Future of the Car

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By James R. Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Contributor, In Homeland Security

We often think about the future and what it could be like. At the CES®  show presented by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA™), the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) company showed their idea of the future at a press conference.

In the next 10 years, one in three drivers will be a millennial. The presentation of the press conference introduced the design team leaders, who were all millennials. This was a thread throughout the presentation. The key theme of their group was “Designed by millennials for millennials.” This is a car for the millennials now, as they start having their families.

The Chrysler Portal Concept

This is not a car that your grandparents would understand. In fact, your grandparents would not be able to figure out how to get into the car. The car front and back doors open sideways, going in the opposite direction. You have seen vans’ sliding side doors, but think of the front door opening in the opposite direction of the back door. Both doors are sliding, and there is no “b” between the seats. This is a new concept.

No keys to remember

Your grandparents might reach into their pocket for a key, or you might ensure you are carrying your key fob to enter the car. Both are obsolete because the Portal car uses facial recognition and biometrics.

Device use

Technology is utilized everywhere and for each passenger. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a concept used in the business world. This concept car allows each passenger to use their device connected to simple high-mount displays with easy-to-use interfaces. The old-fashioned dashboard is centered and also can flash some information to other occupants’ screens.

Additionally, passengers would be able to share information from seat to seat.  This feature could be used by kids playing games or sharing videos. Charging stations are located in the instrument panel and seats, and can be used for holding the devices.

Various Concepts

The steering wheel was more similar to an airline pilot’s steering column than a steering wheel. The cars are updatable for the day we have driverless cars and the steering column can recess into the dashboard.

The seating can and will be staggered seating via a track system for configurability, not the conventional all seats in the back in a row system of today. This allows different leg room. Seats fold flat if they are not used. Above, it has a full-length panoramic sunroof.

Audio uses a Personal Zoned Audio system with enhanced audio for each passenger. Parents can listen to music different from their teenager’s music or cartoons. Additionally, the driver will have reinforcing cues when an ambulance is approaching as an extra safety feature.

The floor will be a “flat load floor,” meaning that the floor will be useful for transporting equipment.

The exterior design is centered around illuminated portal-shaped front and rear doors that allow for easy entrance for people and cargo. There is ground projection lighting which settings can change in parked, locked/unlocked or in self-driving/autonomous mode.

The car automatically recognizes both drivers and passengers and configures various settings such as seats, audio and mirrors. This is performed via the use of facial recognition and voice biometrics. Individual voices can unlock the car when someone approaches it.

The All-Electric Vehicle

This electric car is propelled by a single electric motor (150kw/201hp) with front wheel drive. With more than 250 miles of range, the car can recharge to a 150-mile range in less than 20 minutes of charging.

Additionally, due to the lights on the exterior grill area and ground projection light, you could sit in Starbucks and look out the window at your car to determine if it is fully charged/ready to drive. This new lithium-ion battery pack is integrated into the vehicle chassis, which helps provide a low center of gravity and can enhance control and ride comfort.

Thinking Forward and to the Future

The Portal’s website states: “The Chrysler Portal concept is a forward thinking interpretation of the “fifth generation“ of family transportation focused toward the millennial generation.” The FCA design team traveled to many countries to look at different concepts.

The concepts and car that was shown at the press conference displayed new thinking and a bright future for innovative automation in vehicles. As the homeland infrastructure changes, more automation will occur in vehicles. Some potential automation may help drivers to have information on dangerous intersections based on current law enforcement data. As improved computerization evolves, Department of Homeland Security US-CERT will need to give focus to the changes in the personal vehicle transportation industry.

With the innovation and creativity of the car industry to make cars so connected with both devices and apps running voice and facial recognition, there will be a concern for cybersecurity. In the summer of 2017, three cybersecurity conferences will take place, DEFCON, BSides and “I Am The Cavalry”. All of these organizations are looking at the future of cyber defense in the car. Taking devices into the car can be a virus or malware hazard. The cyber defense community will have to use innovation and ingenuity to protect the public.

About the Author

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. James has been involved in cyberespionage events from just after the turn of the century in Korea supporting 1st Signal Brigade to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis as the first government cyber intelligence analyst. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, government contracting and civil service.

Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded its 43th scholarship for national security students and professionals. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has also served in the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office after his active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba, in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”

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