The Best Car Gadgetry from the Annual Technology Conference in Las Vegas
The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is an annual melting pot of futuristic technology, featuring developments from 3D printers to robotics. The automotive trade is always well represented, so we’ve brought you the highlights of what to expect in your car in the next few years. Say goodbye to touchscreens and say hello to gesture control, piloted driving and Big Brother watching you driving.
As touchscreens are becoming so ‘last year’ the new way to control the functions inside your car will be with ‘gesture control’. Think Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Volkwagen’s Golf R Touch concept car’s interior controls are nearly all made up of touchscreens and sensor switches. It can recognise certain hand movements via a camera, enabling you to keep your eyes on the road rather than looking at the screens in front of you. You can also re-arrange the layout of your screens as you would on a tablet or smart phone. A dream come true for some, a potential nightmare maybe for others.
BMW has also been developing gesture control. They also have ‘Touch Command’ just a few years away from production. This allows the passengers in the rear seats to adjust the climate control, change the radio station using a separate Android tablet docked in the rear seats. ‘Remote Valet Parking Assistant’ allows your car to park itself by using four laser scanners to map the area around the car. This enables the car to find a space and park itself allowing you to focus on your shopping. Once you’ve returned, you can summon the car via your smartwatch and your car will meet you at the exit.
‘Piloted Driving’ by Audi
Impressively the A7 concept actually arrived at the show after driving the 560 miles from Silicon Valley mostly self-driven. The futuristic Mercedes F015 limo concept received a lot of press. The idea being that the four passengers could enjoy their journey in a relaxed lounge setting featuring four swivelling armchairs whilst the car pilots itself. Already we’re warming the glamour of the Mercedes and not so much the Google self-driven option which announced itself sometime ago.
Ford announced a number of ‘experiments’ which they will run across the world. The first is an on-demand city driving scheme enabling drivers to book an electric Fiesta or Ford Focus via their smartphone to make a journey. Priced by the minute the scheme will be available 24/7. Ford shall also look into how motorists could improve their insurance premiums by using Big brother style monitoring again in your phone to reveal your true ‘risk profile’. These promising advances can sometimes feel a little scary. But isn’t that the thrill of the unknown?