Automotive Tech Takes the Wheel at CES 2017

EYE ON INNOVATION

Take a stroll through CES 2017 and you might think you accidentally entered an auto show. As cars become venues for the latest tech, they’ve turned into centerpieces at the world’s largest consumer electronics showcase.

This year, auto manufacturers captivated attendees with demos of self-driving cars, high-performance electric vehicles, and even holographic dashboard displays. Here’s what caught our attention at the show.

The HoloActive Touch system uses reflections to produce a holographic interface.

BMW Makes Holographic Displays a Reality
Seeing new tech from BMW has become somewhat of a tradition at CES. This year was no different. Attendees were introduced to the HoloActive Touch system. It’s a free-floating, holographic display not unlike something you’d find in a “Star Wars” film. The user interface enables drivers to control the car’s functions without making physical contact with the vehicle.

A camera installed in the dashboard detects users’ movements and registers the position of their fingertips. When a fingertip makes contact with the virtual surface, a pulse is emitted and the function is activated. BMW has yet to announce a release date for the new dashboard concept, but its current gesture-controlled system will do for now.

Hyundai Announces Affordable Autonomous Vehicle
Hyundai is taking a pragmatic approach to designing a self-driving car, so that it’s affordable for everyone. The vehicle, called Ioniq, uses cost-effective sensors and less onboard computing power to maintain a relatively low cost.

Hyundai hopes to launch its first autonomous vehicle by 2020.

The car makes up for the lack of onboard tech by leveraging detailed map data and a high-quality GPS. Like most autonomous vehicles it has three LiDAR sensors, which use lasers to measure the distance between the vehicle and adjacent objects. How accurate is the self-driving system? Hyundai says that Ioniq can stay within 50 cm of the correct path.

No laws currently forbid autonomous vehicles from the streets of Las Vegas, so media members and attendees can take a test ride at CES. Hyundai expects Ioniq to hit the market in 2020.

Ford Integrates Mobile App for Cheaper Auto Insurance
Think you pay too much for car insurance? Ford might have a solution for you. They made headlines by announcing the integration of the DriverScore app, which gives users a way to reduce their rates with good driving behavior. The application was initially developed for and used by commercial fleets, but has since been expanded for the consumer market.

If you share the car with a family member who has a need for speed, you don’t need to worry about that affecting your score since the application runs on a smartphone, so data is tied to the individual—not the vehicle. The user can also choose to let the app’s algorithm access vehicle data like speed, acceleration, location, and time of day to analyze and improve driving patterns.

In addition to automotive tech, other hot topics on the show floor included artificial intelligence, home automation, and virtual reality. CES is still in progress through the weekend. We recommend keeping an eye on the #CES2017 hashtag on Twitter for the latest developments. The show runs January 5-8.

Eye on Innovation is a monthly look at new technology and products.

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