Today's innovations: In-vehicle hair care, dating app, more
|007 and Bozobrain|
The auto industry was full of revolutionary technology and new product announcements today.
Honda and BMW said they are carving out new niches by putting hair-care and dating technologies at busy drivers' fingertips. Subaru announced a new BRZ variant and Volvo heralded a new safety system.
Honda's HondaHAIR feature aims to help drivers overcome bad-hair days. Drivers of the 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite can cut their hair while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway.
HondaHAIR is limited only by the imaginations of its users. The tool can craft any style, including a bob, pixie or buzz cut.
Affordability and convenience are the driving forces behind HondaHAIR, which turns the Odyssey into a "virtual salon on wheels," Honda said in a statement.
"We recognize that our Odyssey drivers are busier than ever, which is why we've packed the car with so many conveniences, including this HondaHAIR forward-thinking technology," said Parsley Thyme, head of public relations at American Honda.
That was the heading on the Mini press release this morning from BMW AG headquarters in Munich.
It announced an app for Mini called Connect Us, which "finds you the perfect partner for a hot date."
"Connect Us is like nothing else out there in planet dating -- and can only be used in a Mini. This is not just the world's speediest dating service, it is also the most reliable," BMW said in a statement.
The app finds the perfect partner by analyzing how drivers handle the accelerator, steering wheel and brakes and finds a "compatible co-driver on the journey of love."
After the app finds the perfect match, it can book a restaurant "that is guaranteed to be up both drivers' street," the statement said.
BMW offered downloads of sample matches. The market response? A Mini USA spokeswoman released this consumer's reaction:
"I strongly encourage you to stop distribution of this application. BMW NA may not be aware of the inherent danger of this app. Having tried in my vehicle with my wife, to our surprise, it deemed us not perfect pruners. It seems our driving styles are not compatible at all. Who would have thought that double clutching vs. speed shifting was so important to relationship; let alone trail braking and drifting. Which leaves us in a quandary -- who gets the Mini and who gets the Minivan in the divorce?"
"PS: Please don't introduce a BMW version -- we would not want the Ultimate Divorce Machine, would we?"
Subaru BRZ coupe
Subaru of America joined today's fray by announcing a variant of its BRZ coupe with every imaginable powerplant.
There will be "an awd twin-turbo convertible two-seater diesel hybrid BRZ for sale in 2015."
"The new model essentially takes all of the media and Internet rumors surrounding the highly successful BRZ sports car and delivers them in one fell swoop," a company statement said.
There's one option the new BRZ won't have -- a rear backup camera. "After shoehorning two convertible switches (up and down) onto the fascia there just wasn't room for any more instruments."
And only one color will be available: "noseeum black."
Volvo unveiled its new External Vehicle Protection System today that envelops a car in a balloon before collisions.
The system, still in testing phase, is housed in a container in the vehicle roof. Volvo said the container holds a "vacuum pulled balloon of similar material to existing airbags."
The balloon is triggered when it senses an unavoidable collision with another car, roadside object or water.
"This new safety feature is the embodiment of the Volvo brand philosophy, Designed Around You," says Thomas Broberg, senior technical adviser of safety at the Volvo Cars Safety Center.
"All we did was taking a very literal approach to Designed Around You. Instead of finding new areas inside the car where we could add more airbag-like safety systems, we asked ourselves: why not cover the complete car in an airbag-like solution?"
Vince "Don't Call Me James" Bond and Diana T. Kurylko might have contributed to this report. Maybe. Happy April Fools' Day from Automotive News!