The best auto tech of CES 2016
Cars are big at CES every year, and this year more than ever. Whether it’s self-driving technology, advanced safety systems, smartphone-linked entertainment or cool concepts, the show has something for everyone. Here’s our pick of the best.
The dashboard of the future
Denso’s dashboard of the future is quite something. Imagine sitting in front of this high-tech curved screen and the car adapting the display to you. For example, glance at the entertainment controls and they pop up. You can make selections with controllers built into the steering wheel so you never take your hands off the wheel. It also includes live feeds from rear-facing cameras.
Behold, a car from the future
It’s a concept, but could it be the future? Toyota’s FCV Plus is the automaker’s idea of a future environmentally friendly urban transporter. It’s powered by hydrogen and can do double-duty as a power generator, supplying electrical power to a home or office if needed.
Smaller, better eyes for self-driving cars
For a self-driving car to navigate, it needs to be able to see, and that’s done with a laser-scanning LiDAR (light detection and ranging) unit. At CES, Velodyne introduced its third-generation sensor (in the front) that’s small enough to be built into the wing mirrors of a car. This should mean an end to those spinning sensors that cover the top of prototype autonomous cars today.
Toyota's self-driving car
The Mobility Teammate Concept might have a clunky name, but it’s packed with technology that represents the future of Toyota’s autonomous driving research. The company just committed $1 billion to artificial intelligence and accessibility research, and in doing so made a serious bet on the direction of mobility. At CES, the company also announced it had hired away Google’s Robotics chief to its new lab.
A supercomputer for your car
Nvidia’s Drive PX2 is a powerful two-chip computer intended to sit at the heart of a self-driving car. The unit can process live feeds from video cameras and laser imaging so they can be processed by autonomous driving software. It’s Nvidia’s big push into automotive electronics, and Volvo has already announced plans to use it.
An all-electric concept car slash Batmobile
Faraday Future’s FFZero1 all-electric concept car was one of the most awaited “unveils” of CES. The car manages 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds thanks to over 1,000 total horsepower and a top speed of more than 200 mph. There’s also the distinctive styling that had many likening the car to the Batmobile. You probably can’t afford it.
The latest in infotainment tech
The entertainment system in Volkswagen’s e-Golf Touch is built around a 9.2-inch touchscreen and comes with natural-feeling voice interactions and gesture control. It’s also compatible with MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The “Keyword Activation” voice recognition allows drivers to control the system by saying “Hello Volkswagen,” so no button pushing is required.
Audi's dream of the future
Audi’s E-Tron Quattro is a fully electric sport utility vehicle concept that can drive itself through traffic jams and find parking spots. It has a futuristic dashboard that is full of curved AMOLED screens that replace the buttons and knobs in most cars. The car has movable panels that shift to make the vehicle more aerodynamic, and Audi says it can learn driving patterns from its owner. But it’s just a concept. Don’t expect it soon.