Dr. Z at CES Pseudo Live-Blog / by Damon Lavrinc

  • Hey! I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes. The major parallel between CES and NAIAS: Both feature overfed, self-important journalists. Surprise!
  • Also, the auto PR ladies have it way easier than tech PR. No real explanation needed.
  • We’ve been watching a text exchange on a massive screen for the last 6 minutes. The first message was “I am so hang [sic] over.”
  • Also, no time stamps.
  • Lights dimmed! Here we go!
  • Geoff Day is on stage! Who knew he’d make it out.
  • Jokes for Geoff “Welcome to the 124th presidential debate!”
  • Oooooh. Interactive conference. With live tweets appearing on screen. This can’t go well.
  • “If you’re one of those low-tech people, we like to call them ‘Audi owners’”
  • And…. Dr. Z is on the stage.
  • New SL on the stage. I’ll quote Lieberman by saying “It’s like the designers had 20 styling elements and ran out at the doors.”
  • Dr. Z just flew in from Detroit and boy…
  • “Just as a smartphone can be more than a phone, a smart vehicle can be more than just transportation.”
  • OIL BAAAAAADDDDD.
  • “Physical space is a scarce resource.” This is said in the middle of Nevada…
  • The digital lifestyle extends to the digital drive style. DRIVE STYLE!
  • Dr. Z pointing out that you’ll drive a classic car, you aren’t using a classic phone.
  • Admits to developing vehicles 7 years out and why the tech just can’t keep pace. Hmmmm… Audi said the same thing at last year’s keynote. And Ford at the one before.
  • CLOUD!
  • Over the air software updates are coming to cars. “Imagine having to go to Google to get your phone updated.”
  • VPN!
  • Second generation mBrace system video.
  • APPS!
  • KID TRACKING! GEO-FENCING! Teenager in video is not pleased.
  • Freedom of speech. Not just talking to your car but communicating with it…
  • MB wants to play a Top Gear clip with Clarkson fighting with Linguitronic. BBC said no. Sad Z.
  • Dr. Z looking at his glass teleprompter looks like he’s staring directly into my soul. I feel The Fear.
  • SWIPING!
  • SF Embarcadero featured in the interactions video. There’s the ferry building! Mmmmm… Blue Bottle.
  • Now pimping Car-to-Go. Because everyone should be able to drive a ForTwo just once. 
  • Dear Lord! There was just a pic of Che Guevara with a 3 pointed star on his hat. Camera wasn’t at the ready! Motherfucker!
  • CAR2GO…. yadayadayada
  • Now… Freedom of Energy.
  • “The Republic of Drivers is larger than the Republic of Facebook”
  • Battery range is an issue. But smart apps that keep you abreast of your charge is helpful. Sure. For now…
  • “Where my F-Cell peeps? HOLLLLA!”
  • Fifth bullet point is Freedom of Information. If Dr. Z comes out against SOPA, we all win.
  • STOP STARING AT ME!
  • It’s not about promoting automotive abstinence, but automotive intelligence.
  • Now… more videos.
  • (If you’re wondering why this isn’t appearing on Autoblog, here’s a hint: fuck)
  • Crowd-sourcing safety data. The car in front of you skids, you’re alerted in real-time.
  • Going from automobiles to auto-mobility. 
  • Powered by apps that figure out your specific mobility need.
  • Going to launch the first pilot project for this program in Germany this year.
  • The coolest cars are still built in Germany and the U.S. M-B wants to keep its electronic operations in house rather than outsourcing to China.
  • THE DECLARATION OF AUTOMOTIVE INDEPENDENCE. Should be written on aged parchment. Also, in the blood of Audi executives.
  • Oh, and final message: Fun to drive. 
  • That’s what turns an appliance into a hot product. 
  • He just quoted the Dec of Independence. “The pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of mobility.”
  • Now… Q&A.
  • Why is an auto company at CES? we need to bring together the two worlds.
  • Does the tech take the fun out of driving? Mercedes would shut down if it was reduced to a commodity (same with every premium brand). “We don’t believe autonomous driving is the final goal.” Switching to autonomous driving on a Kansas freeway should be a choice.
  • Gary Shapiro, CEA CEO, is on stage. Oh! He asked the last tweet-question.
  • Banter. Jokes. Awkward laughter.
  • “I’m a proud auto geek” Dr. Z.
  • Mentions Silicon Valley office predates Google.
  • “Changing part of the iPhone is like changing part of the Holy Grail.” (budumbum)
  • Do you think M-B will become a consumer electronics company in the end? Short answer: Not really. 
  • Aiming to completely eliminate accidents.
  • And… that’s a wrap.