CES 2020

2020 Land Rover Defender has world's first dual-modem, dual eSIM design

The two modems will allow users to simultaneously use the navigaton system while updating their system over the air.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The 2020 Land Rover Defender will include the world's first dual-modem, dual eSIM design, which will allow owners to simultaneously download system updates over the air while streaming music or using apps. Most vehicle systems currently disable streaming functionality while the Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) updates are happening, often disabling functionality for an extended period of time.

Land Rover's new Pivi Pro infotainment system shares electronic hardware with the latest smartphones. Using its two embedded LTE modems, the Defender can update 16 modules remotely using cloud-based technology from CloudCar in the background without effecting day-to-day connectivity for the user.

Pivi Pro infotainment system Land Rover Defender 2020 Over 45 modules will be SOTA capable in the new Defender by the end of 2021.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

"With one LTE modem and eSIM dedicated to the Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology and the same set-up looking after music streaming and apps, New Defender has the digital capacity to keep customers connected, updated and entertained at all times anywhere in the world," said Peter Virk, Director of Connected Car and Future Technology, Jaguar Land Rover. "You could liken the design to a brain, with each half enjoying its own connection for unrivalled and uninterrupted service. Like the brain, one side of the system looks after logical functions, like SOTA, while the other takes care of more creative tasks."

The SUV's infotainment system is equipped with its own battery allowing it to be "always on" and able to respond immediately upon vehicle startup. This functionality allows the navigation system to be ready to accept a new destination immediately upon the driver entering the vehicle. Because of the dual-modem set-up, even the navigation system can be accessed during updates.

The Defender's 10-inch high-resolution infotainment touchscreen can also connect to two mobile devices at once via Bluetooth.

Land Rover initially announced that the Defender would have 14 modules that were SOTA capable. This new announcement of 16 is another step toward the more than 45 the company projects will be available by the end of 2021, eliminating the need for customers to visit their dealership to receive any software updates.

The Audi A4, S4, and A4 Allroad have all been updated for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has sold more A4s than any other sedan in their history. It's consistently one of the highest rated midsize cars sold in the U.S. For the 2020 model year, the German automaker has given the entire A4 lineup, including the A4 sedan, A4 Allroad, and S4, a serious mid-cycle refresh.

On the outside, the A4 has received styling updates that give it a new look that is more in line with the rest of the modern Audi lineup. Its Singleframe grille is broader and flatter while the air intakes below the headlamps have been made larger and angled inward.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4 has a refined exterior and a host of tech upgrades inside.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

It's easy to follow the car's shoulder line from the corner of the LED headlamps at the edge of the hood across the rear door handle and to the taillights. The car's wheel arches are more pronounced and helps give the car a more athletic appearance. The car now features a broader rear side window and narrower C-pillar, giving the illusion that the cabin is longer.

The 2020 Audi A4 with all-wheel drive, dubbed the "Quattro", gets a standard S line exterior including a titanium black honeycomb structure in its Singleframe grille, aluminum silver matte inserts in the large front air inlets and tailpipe trim, and 18-inch five-double-spoke design wheels with all-season tires.

The wagon version fo the A4, the A4 Allroad, gets matte gray body cladding and a unique Q-design Singleframe grille with vertical chrome slats.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4's shoulder line runs from the headlamps to the taillamps.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The S4 is the sportiest looking model. It has a double-slat alu-optic Singleframe grille, alu-optic exterior side mirror housings, body-color door handles, S model specific quad exhaust outlets in chrome and a trunk lid lip spoiler. Buyers can opt for the black optic package with black exterior mirror housings and 19-inch five-V-spoke-star design wheels in titanium finish with summer tires.

The cabin of the A4 has gotten a significant tech upgrade including Audi's new MMI 3 infotainment system. Combined with a 10.1-inch touch screen it offers users cleaner design and better usability. It's also 10 times faster than the MMI 2 system.

Audi Connect Services is available and for 2020, it will include access to Verizon's 4G LTE Wi-Fi network when the buyer opts in for a plan.

Additional interior features include:

  • Standard three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles.
  • Standard power sunroof (panoramic sunroof on A4 allroad) adds light to the cabin.
  • Standard power rear child locks
  • Standard heated eight-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar for driver on A4 FWD models, standard front sport seats with four-way lumbar on A4 quattro models, and standard front S sport seats with power lumbar, pneumatic side bolsters, and massage function on S4 models.
  • Standard three-zone automatic climate control with rear display.
  • Standard ambient LED interior lighting or available multicolor LED lighting plus package.
  • Available S line interior package (A4 quattro sedan) enhances the vehicle's already sporty interior with a flat-bottom steering wheel with S line badge, leather and Alcantara® seats, brushed aluminum inlays, and stainless steel pedal caps.

Additional technology features include:

  • Available second-generation Audi virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3-inch display that offers HD resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The driver can choose between three viewing modes – classic, sport and dynamic. On S4 models, sport mode replaces classic mode as the default view, and an S Performance mode replaces dynamic mode, which brings the tachometer and speedometer to the front and center of the display and adds a boost gauge and lap timer function. The virtual cockpit helps to enhance the infotainment and navigating experience through the large Google Earth™ imagery or 3D city maps (requires Audi connect PRIME subscription) supported with 4G LTE (where available).
  • Available full-color head-up display projects relevant driving information in the driver's field of vision.
  • Available Audi phone box connects compatible smartphones with an external antenna and can wirelessly charge the phone.
  • Standard Audi smartphone interface provides access to Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto for compatible devices.
  • Available Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, which delivers nearly true to-life surround sound through 19 speakers, including a subwoofer and center speaker, and a 16-channel amplifier producing an output of 705 watts.

The A4 models still have the same engine lineup as they did for the 2019 model year.

Audi has increased the number of standard and available safety and driver assistance features in the A4 for the 2020 model year. They include:

  • In the case of emergency braking or maneuvers, standard Audi pre sense® basic can intervene to help prepare the vehicle for impact. This process includes beginning to close the side windows and panoramic sunroof, pre-tensioning the front safety belts.
  • Standard Audi pre sense® city uses a camera to monitor the area in front of the vehicle and provides visual and acoustic warnings to help alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations.
  • Available Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph.
  • Available Audi active lane assist helps to keep the driver within the driving lane through corrective steering intervention and adjustable wheel vibration, at speeds above 40 mph.
  • Available Rear cross traffic assist (as part of Audi side assist and parking system plus) supports the driver when reversing out of a perpendicular parking space. Indicator arrows in the MMI® display can help inform the driver of approaching vehicles, and in critical situations, a warning tone and brake jolt can be applied, prompting the driver to fully stop the vehicle.
  • Available Audi pre sense rear (as a part of Audi side assist) uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to help detect an impending rear-end collision, and can initiate preventative measures.
  • Available Adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist helps maintain set distance from the vehicle in front, including braking and accelerating as needed, between speeds of 0 to 40 mph.
  • Available top view camera system uses four wide-angle 360-degree cameras to record the entire area surrounding, projected on the MMI screen, allowing the driver to see "around" the vehicle to help with maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Available for the first time on A4 models, Park assist can assist the driver with parallel and perpendicular parking by taking control of the steering while the driver accelerates, shifts gears and brakes.

The 2020 Audi A4 starts at $37,400 and tops out around $47,000. The A4 Allroad starts at $44,600 and can be upgraded to the Prestige trim which runs $53, 650. The 2020 Audi S4 starts at $49,900 and reaches nearly $59,000 in its top trim level. Each new Audi has an additional $995 destination change.

Audi is one of the companies that features BlackBerry software.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Most of us have seen the stories about hackers getting into a vehicle and taking over its controls. Some might even call them horror stories. As vehicles become more connected to the internet, their vulnerability increases and so does that of the vehicles' occupants.

BlackBerry is teaming up with internet giant Amazon and its Amazon Web Services business to create a a customizable solution that original equipment manufacturers can use to "future-proof" their vehicles and fleets. BlackBerry says that companies across the transportation spectrum will be able to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) "software-driven use cases with a view to enhancing the overall safety and security of their vehicles."

Karma Automotive Screen Amazon BlackBerry Karma will be the first automaker to use the technology in a vehicle.Photo courtesy of Karma Automotive

This new offering is the first time BlackBerry Cylance's AI and ML technologies have been integrated with BlackBerry QNX solutions, which currently are embedded in more than 150 million cars on the road today. That is an increase of 30 million cars over 2018.

"The world's leading automakers, tier ones, and chip manufacturers continue to seek out BlackBerry's safety-certified and highly-secure software for their next-generation vehicles," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "Together with our customers we will help to ensure that the future of mobility is safe, secure and built on trust."

Automotive brands including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, KIA, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen use BlackBerry QNX technology in their driver assistance and safety technology, connectivity modules, hands-free systems, and infotainment systems.

BlackBerry QNX solutions also play critical roles in the medical and industrial automation industries.

In vehicles, the BlackBerry QNX solutions portfolio will identify vulnerabilities in software used in automobiles; allow preventative software maintenance over the lifetime of a car; deploy malware-free applications to managed vehicles; provide insights into cybersecurity and operational events on vehicle(s) and complete remediation; ensure the identity of the vehicle's driver is known and trusted in relation to their driving profile; proactively scan the vehicle for signs of trouble or software anomalies before they lead to maintenance issues, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, or accidents; predict, prevent, detect, and remediate advanced malicious threats and malware in the vehicle infotainment system; and provide a secure and reliable foundation for safety-critical applications.

"This solution represents a major milestone in the company's continued efforts to integrate BlackBerry Cylance's innovative prevention-first, predictive security products with our vast range of industry-leading technologies," said Charles Eagan, Chief Technology Officer, BlackBerry. "With the average new car containing more than 100 million lines of code and some of the most complex software ever deployed by automakers, the need for a holistic view into the overall health and security posture of a vehicle's entire code base throughout its full lifecycle is absolutely critical. No one knows security better than us and we now have a transportation-focused framework that the industry can tap to enhance the security, trustworthiness, and safety of connected vehicles, providing peace of mind to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike."

At CES, the partnership of BlackBerry and Amazon Web Services allowed the tasks done by BlackBerry QNX to be made by combining the "safety and security of BlackBerry's QNX real-time operating system with AWS' Internet of Things (IoT) Services in the cloud and in the car," according to a release. This also allowed BlackBerry to combine all of its offerings into one cloud-based solution.

Automaker Karma (not Fisker, Karma as in Fisker Karma but now Karma Automotive; yes, it's confusing) will be one of the first manufacturers to take advantage of this technology.

"Combining the safety and security of QNX with AWS cloud and edge intelligence has the potential to speed the development of Karma's connected car ecosystem," said Lewis Liu, Vice President, Business Development and Strategy, Karma Automotive. "It shows how Karma's vehicle platform is being used by technologists as a test-bed to prove new innovation, speed product development and ultimately to provide owners with leading cyber-security resources and predictive maintenance information via the latest artificial intelligence applications. The result is enhanced VVIP treatment for our discerning luxury-customer base, and cutting-edge technology that can lead to new business opportunities for Karma beyond pure automotive retail sales."

While many of the ideas and concepts presented at CES seem far off, this one hits a little closer to home with a real possibility for innovation in the modern automotive market.