The January 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) highlighted technological advancements in the automobile industry that will change how people drive in the future. With the goal to create more fuel efficient and connected vehicles, car manufacturers continue to explore new technologies. Major trends from this year’s CES included the increased use of smart car technology, new car infotainment systems, and advancements in electric powered and other alternative fuel vehicles.
Increased Use of Smart Car Technology
As car manufacturers continue to work towards fully autonomous driving vehicles, improvements in all areas of smart car technology continue to be made. In addition to retrofitting existing infrastructure to work with connected vehicles, companies are working towards automated valet parking technology and smart highways, which would use shared information systems to create cloud-based databases. Shared information can lead to community-based parking systems that monitor available parking spaces. Smart technology also has been used to create safety lighting systems in Ford prototypes, allowing the car to signal turning information to pedestrians.
New Car Infotainment Systems
New car infotainment systems upgrade automobile hardware and software that provide in-car audio and video entertainment. No longer will Amazon’s Alexa be stuck in homes as Panasonic continues to develop technology to allow its car infotainment system to work with both Alexa and the Google Assistant through Android Auto. Amazon debuted changes to its Alexa that would allow the device to control certain car features, including the music and temperature with simple voice commands without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. Garmin also has created its own car device, Speak Plus.
Advancements in Electric Powered and Alternative Fuel Cars
Electric powered cars remain one of the biggest automobile technology trends from CES. The move from hybrid electric cars to fully electric powered cars remains a top priority for many of the major car manufacturers, including Mercedes, Nissan, and Smart. With new design aesthetics, Nissan’s Leaf demonstrated that electric cars can be as visibly appealing as their gasoline dependent counterparts. In the alternative fuel market, Hyundai unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell SUV, Nexo, that takes five minutes to fill up and can get up to 370 miles. With statistics like that, it may not be long before hydrogen fueling stations start making their appearances across the country.
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