For aftermarket car technology, the SEMA show, held in Las Vegas, is the harbinger of CES. It gives us a good idea about which products will come to market in 2020. SEMA is also the place to see the most customized vehicles on earth. Wheel manufacturers will try and out-size each other. Forget plus-one sizing; we are talking plus-eight fitments. Paint manufacturers are vying for the ultimate best-of-show trophies, and vehicles are shown with paint jobs so deep you can lose yourself in the reflection. Jeeps are set up to be able to cross the roughest terrain our planet has to offer. And on the mobile electronics front, the manufacturers are represented to tap into the lucrative customization market.
The winner of the best new Mobile Electronics Product at the show went to VAIS Technology and their SEER (Smart Entry Exit Recognition) product line that combines automated door-locking at the driver’s departure and automated unlocking when driver is approaching. There is also available hands-free liftgate opening/closing, illuminated entry, and four inputs and outputs that are fully customizable to trigger any electronic accessory in the vehicle – all based on driver proximity. SEER uses RF communication to determine the driver’s proximity to the vehicle and to authenticate the user. Proprietary software analyzes the driver’s behavior around the car. Communication to the vehicle is done over the CAN Bus to execute factory door locking, unlocking, headlights, dome, puddle, and sentry lights on or off. SEER recognizes a pre-programmed pattern by the power liftgate to activate factory opening or closing without pressing any buttons. The product requires a driver to carry a small tag on a key chain for authentication purposes. Installation includes placing RF antennas and a sensor behind the front and rear bumpers, then connecting it to the VAIS ECU module placed behind a trim panel. In addition to the pre-programmed functions, SEER has 4 AUX inputs and outputs to allow electronic accessories customization based on driver proximity. Popular features could include motorized steps, sliding side doors, electronically locking compartments or tool boxes. “SEER is an automotive grade device designed by our in-house engineering team and manufactured at an automotive certified facility,” Dennis Hopper, executive vice president at VIAS, says. “We plan to ship the product in Q1 of 2020 starting at $319.99 for a version without the hands-free liftgate option, and at $449.99 with the hands-free liftgate option.”
Pioneer & Metra Intros
As more and more factory-embedded vehicle systems are becoming harder to replace because of depth issues, Pioneer introduced the DMH-C5500NEX to make the lives of installers easier. The unit features a shallow-mount screen connected by a cable to an outboard chassis. To similarly make the lives of installers even easier, Metra Electronics unleashed 20 new TurboKits on display at SEMA specifically designed for the DMH-C5500NEX. These patent-pending kits allow installers to seamlessly install the modular Pioneer touchscreen display panel into customers’ vehicles with minor or no dashboard modifications, making for a more cost-effective installation process. Several kits are available in multiple color options to maintain the cosmetic appearance. They match the factory color and finish for different trim level options. There are options for the Jeep Wrangler, Ford F-150 and Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tacoma, Tundra, Highlander, Corolla and Camry. Additionally, Metra is featuring six new TurboTouch dash kits to fit select Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang models. TurboTouch dash kits feature integrated electronics and have a 4.3-inch touchscreen display with hard buttons that retain and control most climate-control and vehicle functions usually lost when removing the factory radio. An Axxess interface is built into the touchscreen and Axxess ASWC technology retains the factory steering wheel audio controls. Metra has introduced a universal trim ring and universal mounting kit for the Pioneer DMH-C5500NEX to cover even more vehicle applications with installer creativity.
AudioControl was on hand demoing a classic Ford van with AudioControl’s latest five-channel amplifiers. The new amps offer 125 watts X 4-channels RMS at 4-Ohm (200watts RMS X4 at 2-Ohm) and 500 watts X1-channel at 2-Ohm along with eight speaker level inputs with selectable summing capability. The D-5.1300 delivers onboard DSP control of all amplified outputs through the DM Smart App, and a pair of low-level outputs as well. The LC5-5.1300 offers the same horsepower but without the DSP features. The company co-hosted a training event at the Orleans Hotel with master fabricators Bryan Schmitt, Gary Bell, and Chris Pate. “The facility at the Orleans worked out very well for our co-hosted event — we were able to accommodate more than 150 attendees in a classroom-style setting in addition to seating for casual conversation and networking,” Chris Bennett, national sales director at AudioControl, said.
Vehicle safety has been a hotbed for the SEMA segment, as the category blends in with the bolt-on philosophy of their industry. If a truck shop is installing a new rear bumper for a Jeep, they might as well offer them a rear-camera solution. Echomaster was at the show displaying 16 new products at SEMA 2019. The new products included General Motors solutions, Jeep solutions, and an AHD high-definition camera product line. All new products are scheduled to be available in Q1 2020. The Intellihaul 2.0 Blind Spot Camera Towing System was engineered to add visibility into those blind spots while towing in new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. The system features proprietary, factory-matched side mirror pods with built-in HD blind-spot-elimination cameras. They are activated by the turn signals to display blind spots onto the factory radio, similar to the Honda Accord. The integration module that allows the safety cameras to be connected to the factory head unit is a plug-and-play affair. This makes the installation seamless without affecting the audio system or voiding the factory vehicle warranty. For the super-popular Jeep Wrangler, the company introduced three new blind-spot-detection solutions. They include a Microwave Blind Spot Sensor Kit for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK/JKU. Blind-spot sensors are not a factory feature on these Jeeps. This kit gives the installer the ability to add an OEM-grade sensor system into the factory rear bumper. Also displayed was a full-view HD rearview mirror monitor kit for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JKs and one for 2019+ Jeep Wrangler JLs. Just like the OEM Cadillac CT6 mirror, the monitor provides visibility behind the vehicle so that the customer can see through obstacles such as a spare tire, headrests, passengers, or even a big stash of balloons from Party City!
AAMP Global & Directed
Echomaster’s parent company, AAMP Global, was the runner-up winner of the SEMA Best New Mobile Electronics Product. The Ford Third Brake Light Camera with Cargo and Side Blind Spot Viewer uses one camera to show three different viewing angles. The ability to take a peek at what is happening inside the bed while under way is awesome, especially when carrying precious cargo. The left and right blind-spot viewer will automatically activate when using the turn signal. The ultra-low LUX video sensor provides superior day and night use. The unit also has applications available for GM and RAM trucks.
Directed Electronics was at SEMA showing its new lineup for the cold winter months. The company was promoting its DS4 remote start and security technology. This included the industry’s first wireless siren, DS4WS. The installer provides power and ground to the unit but there does not need to be a physical connection to the brain on the unit. CEO Bob Strubel notes, “With the DS4 platform you are looking at unprecedented expandability and compatibility which ultimately will translate to fewer SKUs to stock and faster installation times for your techs. Obviously, faster install times translate to more profit.” The company also showed off its Viper Powersports GPS Recovery and Viper Powersports Security systems installed in a 2018 Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX side-by-side. These products were specifically designed to protect and track popular powersports vehicles – motorcycles, ATVs, side by sides, watercraft and snowmobiles. Strubel said: “We always look forward to exhibiting at SEMA, one of the hottest and most important gatherings in our industry. We’re here to meet with our longtime 12-Volt retail partners and share with them our latest connected car and DS4 offerings. We’ll also be focused on growing our relationships and building new business in the powersports channel, as we highlight our innovative powersports products.”
Alpine announced at the time of the show and through its Jeep accessories partners the release of 9-Inch X409-WRA-JK Weather-Resistant Navigation System with Off-Road Mode. The X409-WRA-JK is a mech-less in-dash audio/video/navigation (AVN) system that is a direct-fit solution for the 2011 – 2018 Jeep Wrangler. The unit features faster screen transitions from previous models. It is built to handle tough outdoor conditions. The weather-resistant X409-WRA-JK is rated IP53 for protection against dust and ingress. The vehicle-specific dash bezel is precisely fitted to house the screen so no water or dust can enter the electronics assembly. The high-visibility screen delivers cleaner, brighter images even when off-roading on rugged terrain. On a trail ride, the X409-WRA-JK comes equipped with Off-Road Mode with off-road centric vehicle information like vehicle tilt, tire pressure, optimized camera view, and FunTreks trailhead POI database displayed on the large, 9-inch screen. Drivers can revisit their favorite off-road adventures through Off-Road Trip Recording.