Detroit loses out to virtual Vegas as cars go electric—and electronic
随着汽车走向电气化和电子化,底特律让位于虚拟的拉斯维加斯

钢与硅 Steel and silicon-书迷号 shumihao.com

THE ANNUAL Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas used to be a jamboree for gadgets you can put in your pocket or hang on your wall. This hasn’t been true for a few years. As vehicles morph from a lump of mechanical engineering to a digital platform for mobility services, and motor shows wane in importance, carmakers have sought new venues to showcase their wares. At this year’s (virtual) CES, which opened on January 11th, they once again joined makers of smartphones, smart toilets and smart dog flaps in showcasing their smartest tech.
一年一度的拉斯维加斯消费电子展(CES)上曾经满是各种可以放在口袋里或挂在墙上的小玩意。过去几年不再是这样了。随着汽车逐渐从一台机械工程设备演变为出行服务的数字平台,且车展的重要性也逐渐下降,汽车制造商已经在寻找新的渠道来展示自己的产品。在1月11日开幕的在线CES展上,它们再次加入智能手机、智能马桶和智能狗门制造商的队伍,展示自己最智能的技术。

CES has risen in significance because vehicles are changing. Bosch, a parts supplier, noted at the show that a typical car had 10m lines of code in 2010; today it has 100m. This month Ford had to idle a factory in Kentucky for a week owing to a global shortage of semiconductors that deprived it of the chips its cars run on.
CES地位提高是因为汽车在变化。零部件供应商博世(Bosch)在本次展览上指出,2010年一辆普通汽车有1000万行代码,现在是一亿行。本月,由于全球半导体供货短缺,福特在肯塔基州的一家工厂因为汽车所需芯片不足不得不停产一周。

Electrification of transport will speed up the transformation of vehicles into electronic devices. Battery power requires a new electronic architecture that will come with better integration of hardware and software, and improved connectivity. Harman, a car-tech firm, envisions a “third living space” between home and work, using the development to plug a connectivity gap and offer new in-car services, such as interactive concerts and gaming.
运输电气化将加速车辆向电子设备的转变。电池动力需要一种新的电子架构,能够更好地集成硬件和软件,并改进联通性。汽车技术公司哈曼(Harman)构想了在家和办公室的两点一线上的“第三个生活空间”,利用这种技术发展来填补一个联网的空白段,并提供互动音乐会和游戏等新的车载服务。

In other ways, though, cars remain a metal box. Although electrification has reduced barriers to entry in the car business—which were formidable for capital-intensive metal-bashing—vehicles are still best made by firms that can manufacture at scale and with a trusted brand.
但在其他方面,汽车仍然是个铁盒子。尽管电气化降低了进入汽车产业的门槛(资本密集型制造业曾经壁垒森严),但能生产出最优质汽车的仍是拥有大规模生产能力和可信赖品牌的公司。

As a result, car firms are wracking their brains over how much of the software that runs their vehicles’ new electronic functions they should develop in-house and how much to outsource to tech firms. At CES Daimler showed off Hyperscreen, a new touchscreen dashboard for its luxury electric models. Mary Barra, boss of GM, delivered a keynote speech reiterating the Detroit stalwart’s electric and electronic plans. In the autumn GM said it would invest $27bn in electric cars by 2025 and launch 30 new models. Ahead of CES it unveiled a new logo, repainted blue to evoke clean skies and with its “M” made to look a bit like a plug. During the event the firm made more announcements about its plans for electrification, including details about its BrightDrop electric delivery van and new electric Cadillacs (as well as, inevitably, a flying-car concept).
结果就是汽车公司为了一件事大伤脑筋:那些运行汽车新电子功能的软件有多少该在内部开发,多少该外包给科技公司?戴姆勒在CES上展示了为其豪华电动车型设计的新型触屏仪表盘Hyperscreen。通用汽车的老板玛丽·博拉(Mary Barra)在展会的主题演讲中重申了这家底特律老牌汽车公司的电气化和电子化计划。去年秋天,通用汽车表示到2025年将在电动汽车上投资270亿美元,推出30款新车型。在CES开幕之前它推出了一个新logo,颜色改为天蓝色,让人联想到纯净的天空,其中的字母“M”看上去有点像个插头。展会期间,通用汽车发布了有关其电气化计划的更多内容,包括BrightDrop电动货车和新型电动凯迪拉克的详细信息(以及不出所料地,一款飞行概念车)。

Tech firms, for their part, are mulling mobile hardware. Apple’s flirtation with electric cars exemplifies the complexities of the relationship. Rumours that it intended to make electric vehicles first surfaced in 2014. Two years later, when the trouble and expense became clear, it dropped the idea. On January 7th a news report of talks with Hyundai to build an Apple car sent the South Korean carmaker’s share price up by nearly 20%. Hyundai acknowledged it was in early discussions with the iPhone-maker. Apple has yet to comment. Just as carmakers look to Vegas, it seems, big tech is headed the other way.■
而科技公司这一边正在琢磨移动硬件。苹果试探电动汽车领域体现了这种关系的复杂性。有关苹果打算制造电动汽车的传言最早出现在2014年。两年后,当其中的麻烦和支出变得明晰之后,苹果放弃了这个想法。1月7日有报道称它正与现代汽车商议生产一款苹果汽车,消息一出这家韩国汽车制造商的股价上涨了近20%。现代承认它正与苹果做初步探讨。苹果方面尚未作出回应。看起来,就在汽车制造商转向拉斯维加斯之时,科技巨头正朝着相反的方向走。