It has only been a few years since car makers have started attending the high tech conference of CES in Las Vegas. Since that time, however, they have chosen CES to show the world their most cutting-edge technology.
Two trends show immediately when looking at the offerings of the large car makers. One is autonomous driving. Both Audi and Lexus have come up with cars that help humans drive.
The other big trend is apps. Not exactly new, but it is still new for car manufacturers, whose large size and regulation-heavy industry makes them slow to adapt to new technology.
These 2 innovations will drive automotive research for some time to come, and we will see much more new technology based on this research in the following years.
Inrix’ global park space finder
Using the online databases of ParkMe and Parkopedia together with Kenwood’s new dashboard wifi receivers, Inrix aims to help drivers looking for parking space. 50 000 parkings in North America and Europe have been included, and Inrix gives detailed information about each of them, such as the amount of spaces available at the time, opening hours and the price.
Integration with smartphones improves
Smartphone integration is important for consumers, and manufacturers are paying attention. Delpi came up with a wireless charger for cars. No need to put your cell phone in a special charger or to hook it up to a wire anymore, just leave it anywhere in the car and it will charge automatically.
Pioneer featured its new GPS system with integrated support for music streaming apps like Spotify and social media. What else can it do? It can for instance show your friends’ Facebook statuses while you are driving and read them out loud to you.
Possibly the biggest news in the automobile app-world is the announcement that Ford is making its Sync AppLink operating system open-source. If a standard like Ford’s for car apps is embraced by all manufacturers, we may soon see a similar boom for apps as we saw in the smartphone industry.
Better in-car displays
Amongst others, Sony presented their new UHDTV (ultra-high definition tv) screens. Bigger, higher-quality screens to project films for backseat passengers are one option. Another option is that, with more cameras around the car you might soon be able to see a 360° view of your car’s surroundings while you are driving or parking.
Autonomous driving: current state of affairs
2 manufacturers came up with a self-driving car at CES 2013. Audi’s car is fully self-driven under 40 km/h, but that’s not all. It can self-park as well, and its ability to be controlled by smartphone is what makes the Audi autonomous car really interesting. The idea of an autonomous-yet-controlled car is coming closer, with Audi having obtained a license from the state of Nevada to start testing their self-driving cars on the streets of the desert state.
Lexus is taking a different road with their autonomous car. It needs someone behind the wheel, but the car will correct drivers making mistakes: bad turns, high speed or late brake reactions are no longer a death warrant for drivers.
Other driver-assist technologies entering the market soon are Toyota’s Lane Keep Assist and Audi’s Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go.