Continental Looks to Future at 2017 State Fair of Texas

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You may not know the international technology company called Continental — although you may be familiar with its car tire division — but it's looking to change the way you interact with your pickup and trailer.

During the 2017 State Fair of Texas, Continental is debuting three innovative technology systems that could make it into the next generation of pickup trucks. Among the innovations that could make life a little easier for pickup owners is a wireless system that allows a driver to communicate with a pickup via a clever chip embedded in something like a belt buckle or small wristwatch (think Fitbit) or in a ring. The system would allow pickup owners to lock or unlock a truck, and start it, via a proximity sensor rather than a push-button key fob.

Continental also is showcasing a remote-control system for hydraulically assisted tailgates that allows owners to open and closed the tailgate much the way they do electric windows in a pickup. And if hands or fingers are on the tailgate, the system is sensitive enough to recognize that and prevent bodily harm. The system provides a bed-mounted computer-controlled strut that can be made smaller and less obtrusive, and could be quite handy when loading the bed with lumber or cement for a weekend project.

Continental also is showing a wirelessly controlled trailer module that operates trailer lights and brake controller functions. In much the same way we can use smartphones to control the lights, climate and security in our homes, the Continental setup allows the brake, turn signal and emergency lights to be controlled wirelessly, thereby preventing failure due to questionable wiring connections through couplers or hardwired connections. The system also allows for multiple cameras running through the pickup's navigation screen to provide views of the cargo inside a trailer as well as what's behind the vehicles.

Much of this technology will eventually make it into some next-generation pickup trucks — our money is on the next GMC Denali — but no doubt Continental will be collecting mountains of data from those at the State Fair of Texas willing to share their thoughts about the real-world technology that needs to be on the next generation of pickups. We've never found pickup truck owners to be shy about expressing themselves.

The 2017 State Fair of Texas runs through Oct. 22 at Fair Park and offers one of the biggest pickup-heavy auto show displays in the country.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams; Continental images

 

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Comments

GM already has an Apple Watch app for On star, so I would agree most of these features will probably show up in the next Denali-type truck.

Wouldn't it be cool if someone like Continental came up with a retro-kit that converts power windows to hand crank windows?

As much as I'm now addicted to power windows, I miss the utilitarian nature of old school pickups that I used to find so appealing.

Hmmmm... The tailgate lift could be a good thing; among others, a reduced risk of tailgate theft.

The wireless remote lock, unlock, etc. could be a good thing IF it supersedes and replaces the key fob entirely for remote access but could instead offer a second means of unauthorized entry if not. It's become quite clear that existing key fob technology has been hacked to the point that there's almost no reason to lock your cars any more since thieves have a cheap and easy way to bypass your hoped-for security by simply using a relay to make the car think your key fob is much closer than it is. For some brands, this even includes the ability to start and drive off with the car with no sign of forced entry.

The wireless camera idea seems a good one but it does now involve either replacing batteries on a regular basis OR mounting a marine battery on the tongue of your trailer to power the cameras. Either way, while the convenience factor is great, you now have another piece of 'scheduled maintenance' to keep in mind.

How is the wireless brake controller different from the Prodigy RF that has been available for 5+ years?

Also, on the camera, what we really need is a simple yet reliable camera to show what is BEHIND THE TRAILER ITSELF! There are a few aftermarket backup cameras that can do this, but they don't have a lot of history or reliability behind them yet. I believe they use a higher class of Bluetooth that allows 100m range. Power should be integrated through the trailer wiring harness. True, one can use oversized mirrors, but cameras are better for close-quarter backing, and much more aerodynamic!

@andwerken, do people still use onstar?

@Nitro, onstar is rip off. Who wants to pay money to have something the others have for free?

@andwerken, do people still use onstar?

Posted by: Nitro | Oct 2, 2017 11:04:37 AM

I can't speak for andwerken but I know tech savvy car companies like GM offer it for all their vehicles. You should take a GM for a test drive and experience how far behind you Ford folks are.

More expensive gadgets to go wrong...

Posted by: Nitro | Oct 2, 2017 11:04:37 AM
@Nitro, onstar is rip off. Who wants to pay money to have something the others have for free? Posted by: papjim | Oct 2, 2017

Papjim is not the REAL Papajim Papjim is a figment of Nitro the Idiot's imagination.

@nitro

I would agree it was not a very good model based on the price. I never kept it past the "free demo" when the vehicle is purchased in the past.

Recently they started giving away 3 years of free service so I tried it out. The phone app is great, offers remote starting, unlock, remote diagnostics, etc. Actually is a nice accessory. I have unlocked the doors to my Yukon with my phone due the dog stepping on the lock button while vehicle was running, and actually remote started the vehicle from 35 miles away because it was cold out and my wife did not have my truck setup on her phone yet.

They need to completely kill the cost going forward, and I believe the that will probably happen due to other companies finally coming out with competitive systems.

Sounds like a lot of stuff the Ford sissy men will love. Because their to weak and overweight to get out and open their tailgate, and might break a nail if their turn their fat necks to look in a mirror while pulling a trailer.

Any and all of this 'electronic' hardware can and is 'hacked' making it easier for identity and equipment theft. What ever happened to the good old days when people did things manually for themselves?

@anderwken, Thats my point, it is a good service, but I have never used it after the demo on my old GM products, because of the cost. Not a good business model at all.

@gms, Ford has the best tech, Ram too, much better business model than GM, I have tried the GM products, and they failed in that department, when you have to pay for electronics that work, the business model fails, I'm surprised onstar is still around, but then again, it takes GM a long time to do what everyone else already does.

@papa, I'm glad to see you holding the mirror in front of you when you talk.

@anderwken, Thats my point, it is a good service, but I have never used it after the demo on my old GM products, because of the cost. Not a good business model at all.

@gms, Ford has the best tech, Ram too, much better business model than GM, I have tried the GM products, and they failed in that department, when you have to pay for electronics that work, the business model fails, I'm surprised onstar is still around, but then again, it takes GM a long time to do what everyone else already does.

@papa, I'm glad to see you holding the mirror in front of you when you talk.


Posted by: papjim | Oct 2, 2017 2:22:53 PM

Nitro? Username?

OnStar was ahead of it's time. Ram and Ford ahead of the curve?

To that comment I offer you the critically acclaimed Sync system that helped push Ford into the basement for reliability.

Does Ram even have anything like OnStar or built-in WIFI?

"Does Ram even have anything like OnStar or built-in WIFI?"
---- Yes.

Free in Ford because it it never work's.

You should take a GM for a test drive and experience how far behind you Ford folks are.
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Oct 2, 2017 11:26:34 AM

Ford folks fall behind every time their unreliable Ford powertrain breaks down and they're stuck waiting for the tow truck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB6g6KiTI7U

I have posted details on a similar Australian wireless controller but the post disappear

Free in Ford because it it never work's.
Posted by: Frank, Chingon,Goofball | Oct 2, 2017 6:48:50 PM

Got that right! Nothing on a Ford works, that's why ex CEO of Ford even hated Ford my touch. HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

http://fortune.com/2016/10/07/myford-touch-lawsuit/

http://www.thedrive.com/news/5472/ford-ceo-mark-fields-may-have-hated-myford-touch-enough-to-smash-the-screen

Company is trail parts .com. Cannot post a link, post disappears

Here is another system by Camplify
"CAMPLIFY EXCLUSIVE

ElecBrakes is a full electric brake controller designed and assembled in Australia.

The system uses bluetooth technology to provide a reliable wireless connection via the main controller box mounted on the trailer draw bar.

This uniquely designed unit is then wirelessly controlled by any smartphone with bluetooth. Available on all phone platforms.

The ElecBrakes system is built and designed to conform to all Australian standards for caravans and trailers up to 4.5T ATM."

"Does Ram even have anything like OnStar or built-in WIFI?"
---- Yes.

Posted by: RoadWhale™ | Oct 2, 2017 4:01:49 PM

Ahhh,

Uconnect is a Panasonic product licensed by Ram.

So they really don't have anything in house like Ford or GM...

Does it work well? I have never really tried it.



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