Car companies had more of a presence at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas than ever before. Here are just some of the ways that carmakers are upping the ante on automotive tech.
Cars that don't need you
Driverless cars won't be hitting the roads anytime soon, but they hit the show floor in a big way. As CNET's Kara Tsuboi reports, Audi rolled into CES with a car that drove itself from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas, and BMW's electric prototype will find its own parking space.
Meanwhile Mercedes showed off a new concept car that is so comfortable with its autonomy that the driver's seat faces backward. Its interior panels are covered in touch screens and any navigating you might actually do can be accomplished through eye movements and hand gestures.
Improving control over the control
BMW and Volkswagen showed off dashboard panels that put the hands back in hands-free. The displays use gesture recognition so drivers can adjust the volume of the stereo, or take and dismiss phone calls with simple waves of the hand.
Cars that self-diagnose
Chevrolet revealed new diagnostic technology that can predict when certain engine components need attention and alert the driver before it starts affecting the car's performance. Slated to appear in Tahoes, Suburbans, Corvettes and other models later this year, it will start with a focus on the battery, starter motor and fuel pump before being expanded to other parts.
Connected, even when you're not in the car
Nokia's HERE navigation subsidiary partnered with BMW to create cloud-based services that start before you get in the car and keep going after you get out. "Intelligent Drive" syncs mapped routes between your mobile phone and the dashboard nav, recommends where and when to fuel up and park, and helps you get from your spot to your final destination on foot.
Going beyond vehicle-to-vehicle communication, Volvo is developing technology that alerts drivers to the possibility of a collision with a cyclist, and vice versa. Coordinating GPS locations from the car and the biker's smartphone in the cloud, an algorithm determines the potential for an accident and alerts the driver via head's up display on the windshield and warns the biker by flashing LEDs and enabling vibration in a Bluetooth-connected helmet.
"Connected safety is a totally new domain," Klas Bendrik, Group CIO at Volvo Cars told CBS News. "We are taking the next step in connecting road users outside the vehicle. We are protecting the unprotected."
"To bring this to a large scale, there needs to be standardization of how to communicate these types of solutions," he continued. "We are not waiting. We want to be in the lead of the technology."
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