Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Los Angeles Car Show in 2015 ... Future? What Future?

Sometimes we are called to look into the heart of Hell, the Devil's home, the place of Sin, where Righteousness is relegated to the gutter and vile Evil is outlined in chrome and worshiped.

For Los Angeles, the city of the Angels, what could symbolize Satan more than the automobile? This one invention has caused the corruption of the civic body, the destruction of neighborhood after neighborhood, the contamination of the very air with the fumes of Sulphur and other chemicals from the Infernal Regions, the people daily subjected to the insanity of traffic that sucks away their life and their hope, the parade of elite vehicles on the pothole filled streets that  provide some of the worst examples of the rich demonstrating their greed and indifference in the face of obscene poverty.

In Los Angeles we have the second largest automobile show in the world, second only to Detroit. Surely in light of the gross corruption and degradation of Los Angeles through the institution of the automobile  the annual car show must be the very Citadel of Mammon!

What will we see? The best? The worst? The future? The past?

I have always wanted to attend this show but through sheer Sloth I have never made it. But on this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, it was easy for me to tag along with others who were going and I did.

It also provided an opportunity to drive in my first Tesla and I was impressed.

My friend, the owner of this Tesla made the point that Tesla had proven that the barriers to entry to the automobile industry in this country were no longer the gating factor. For decades it has been said that no new brands could come into existence without an enormous amount of money and maybe not even then.  But Tesla has proven otherwise.

My friend and I both believe that we are on the cusp of a tsunami of change that will whack the automotive industry the way it has deserved to be whacked for decades.  Self-parking, autonomy, and semi-autonomy, new drive trains hybrid and electric, new manufacturers in the People's Republic of China and India, we should expect that the dinosaurs of the past will be swept into the gutter where they belong and replaced by a new people and a new legion of car manufacturers.

Too bad America, you had your chance and you completely fucked it up.   This time the government wont save you.

This is the second largest car show in the country, possibly the world. I would expect the existing manufacturers to take their head out of their ass (the tragedy of rectal-cranial inversion) and present their ideas about the future to their loyal base. That is pretty much who comes to car shows I think, the loyal base of customers who care enough to spend the day and $15.00 checking out the polished and mechanical visions of the automobile manufacturers.

This is a short list of what I might expect at least from some of the exhibitors:

I would expect there to be demonstrations of some of this new technology, even if it was not ready to be deployed to the consumer. So I would expect demonstrations of self-parking cars, cars which were autonomous for long distance driving, cars that were autonomous for city driving. These demonstrations might not be using real, full-size cars. They might be short films on a large display, mini-documentaries if you will, or they might be radio controlled model cars, or even films of radio controlled model cars. I think that would have been very entertaining and would have the result of helping to associate that brand with innovation in the eyes and minds of their hard-core customer base.

I might expect expect to see a time line of the future of these technologies at the brand. What is often called a “road map”. I would expect a company that published such a road map to hedge their bets in numerous ways, but it might indicate when they thought a new drive train (e.g. hybrid, electric, solar) might be available, or when a new brand for a new technology might come into existence. Public companies have to be very careful about what they say about the future and I do not know all the rules, but still I would expect some of this road map to ba available, however hedged.

I might expect to see live demonstrations of such things as new displays for car control, or eye/head tracking so that they knew where the driver was looking.

I might expect that the different power trains already in production might be clearly marked out: what was a traditional gasoline engine, a rotary engine, a hybrid engine, an electric one, and so forth.

I might expect that the insurance industry would have some sort of presence to explain how they are working with industry and government to evolve this incredibly important aspect of driving.

I might expect some sort of discussion of the gross violation of trust that Volkswagon was guilty of, and how that is being handled for the future both by Volkswagon and other brands.

Since it is an open secret that people are reprogramming their cars to change engine and other parameters of a vehicle away from those set by the manufacturer, I might expect some sort of statement about where the car companies stood on this practice.

Since I knew that some of the car companies are performing trials with new technologies, I might expect some description of these trials and what is expected to come out of them and when.

And finally here is one more.  We are in the midst of the Paris Climate Talks. What positions are the various car companies taking with the respective governments on climate change?  Well this is a critical thing to know.  How can they not know?  How could they not tell us?  Are these the same old lying pieces of garbage car companies like the ones that destroyed mass transit in LA?   (Yes they did.  The counter rumors are just lies, they really, really did destroy mass transit in LA all those years ago).

But none of the above was visible at the car show. It was as if they expected nothing to change, no information needed to be communicated. All was well in the garden.

Total zip.

Not quite. There were, if you knew where to look, completely without any description, some cool vehicles that I happened to know were a part of tests. You had to know what they were, and what they represented and make your own guess about whether this might really ever become available but there were a few there.

There were many examples on the floor of innovative technologies, but essentially none of them were active and you had to know enough to even realize they were there. For many years now, apparently, certain high end cars have had a display that allows you to see your odometer, etc, without refocus from far to near distance. There were several, possibly even many, examples of this technology on the floor, but none of them were on, and you had to know they were there.

My friend pointed out in their defense that the show was as popular as ever, that people were buying more cars than ever before, that in some sense of the word, this show was serving the purpose that it was meant to serve, and I had to agree with him.

But for those of us who went because we thought in light of all these new technologies, changes, and violation of trust, that this car show would also present some vision of the future, we left disappointed. Perhaps we were wrong to expect such a theme at the car show.

But it seems to me in light of the tsunami of change that is coming down the road for these companies, that a vision of the future would have been a very smart thing to have on display for the attendees of this show, who were self-selected to be the most interested in the automobile in this city, the most car oriented city of the Union.

But I am happy to say that there was one redeeming exhibit: a magnificent statue of Satan, Lucifer himself, the fallen one, in the middle of all the car exhibitors laughing, laughing at the impending disaster that will wipe them off the face of the earth and straight to the hell that they so deserve.

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