Holographic interfaces, facial recognition, 5K display dashboards and augmented reality windscreens. Nope, they’re not the components of a budget sci-fi thriller but the latest automotive innovations from the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Each year, the world’s biggest technology trade show becomes more significant for car manufacturers as the tech and motoring industries continue to collide. From the launch of a new production car from start-up Faraday Future to electric Ford Mustangs and driverless pods – this year’s CES was a showcase for what we may be driving – or be driven in – in the not-too-distant future. Amid the swathes of nifty household gadgets and personal devices, here are the top 5 innovations from the world of car tech.
Faraday Future FF91
Wind the clock back three years and Faraday Future didn’t exist as a company. Almost exactly a year on from revealing its FFZERO1 concept car at CES in 2016, this automotive start-up from California has managed to pull together a fully electric production car to rival the Tesla Model X. Called the FF91 Faraday Future, it boasts a range of 378 miles while also being the fastest accelerating electric car in the world. Some fighting talk from the new kid on the block, but all will be revealed when production starts in 2018.
BMW HoloActive Concept
Building on BMW’s gesture control, as features on the current 7 Series, the Munich-based marque has added a holographic infotainment screen, which relies on similar technology to that used in head-up displays. On top of being able to control all of the car’s screens without physical contact, the driver should also experience ‘tactile feedback’ when scrolling through menus via ultrasound waves.
2016 was a big year for the American manufacturing giant with a win at Le Mans 50 years on from its first victory against Ferrari, with a new mass-market Fiesta and the first production Ford GT supercar off the line. Not wanting to disappoint in 2017, Ford confirmed its plans to build a hybrid version of its iconic Mustang. Due in North America in 2020, the hybrid Mustang promises power and torque levels above that of a V8. Anyone for a hybrid muscle car?
Rinsed, the Swiss car design think tank, may not be the best-known name in the business but the Zurich-based firm has been creating concept cars for the past 25 years. This year, the firm revealed its Oasis concept – a small, self-driving city car with a lounge-like interior and a small garden plot in between the dashboard and augmented reality windscreen.
From Japan, Toyota revealed its Concept-i as a vision of what cars might look like in 2030. Aiming to provide a home on wheels experience with in-car artificial intelligence called Yui as a virtual companion and assistant. Designed to learn your characteristics, likes and dislikes by using biometrics, Yui can chat to the driver to keep them alert or warn them of upcoming dangers. Moving away from the traditional focus on the centre console, the Concept-i projects information ‘wherever, whenever’ in the 3D head-up display, the dashboard or even the seats. Unlike other manufacturers who rely on partnerships with tech companies, Toyota has invested in developing the system in-house at its research institute.