The cars of the future cruised to center stage at CES 2016, the huge consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. These vehicles are sleek, cool, and have unique high-tech innovations that offer new takes on traditional car features.
For instance, take the BMW i8 Concept car. Its two side mirrors have been replaced by cameras, with two additional cameras in the back of the car. The rearview mirror is now a screen.
"Instead of just single images from each camera, they've actually fused the image to one display," CNET Senior Editor Wayne Cunningham said. "This actually looks like the imagery from one single camera and it's showing everything that's behind me."
From BMW to Volkswagen, the new VW Budd-e Microbus similarly does without a standard feature of most cars -- door handles. When CNET Editor Emme Hall went to open the car she was struck by how the car opens up on its own with just the wave of your hand over a sensor.
This all-electric car also lets you open up its trunk with your foot.
This kind of gesture-control is a recurring theme among smart cars. The BMW i8 concept car can be parked with just the wave of your hand. A special Apple Watch app detects the motion of your hand gesture and authorizes the car to start parking. All of this is activated through iCloud.
"It's always activation like that. To get the car in the parking space, it's like the tennis forehand and to get it out, it's activation again and waving two times toward yourself," Philipp Reinisch of the BMW Group said.
Further adding to this interconnectivity between mobile devices, personal households, and people's cars, Ford CEO Mark Fields demonstrated technology that can get your house ready for your arrival with just a voice command. A partnership between Ford and Amazon could let you operate Amazon's new Alexa digital assistant from your car to control things like lights, appliances or the thermostat in your home.
"From inside our vehicle, we can control our connected smart home devices," Fields said. "Alexa, turn on my kitchen lights," he commanded in the demo, and instantly the lights came on.