In what has become a trend, automakers rolled out a spread of innovations at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, rather than hold them for the Detroit auto show, where press previews begin 14 January.
Audi announced what it called a piloted driving system, a major step for the company's autonomous-driving programme. When a driver selects the pilot system, the car will conduct itself through traffic jams or parking maneuvers. Audi already received the OK from Nevada to test self-driving cars in the state, so there is promise here.
Chevrolet debuted its latest version of its MyLink infotainment system, which displays in-car apps like a smartphone screen and allows drivers to customise the arrangement of icons. Users can save up to 60 favourites, from navigation to phone numbers or radio stations. The new system won a Best of CES Award this week, and Chevy will roll it out in the 2014 Impala later this year.
GM and Ford followed on their previous smartphone and tablet-app successes by announcing their infotainment platforms would be open to developers. The thinking is that opening up the systems will help keep them fresh, allowing programmers to create apps the automakers themselves may have never considered. Scott Fosgard, Communications Director at GM, told BBC Autos that the company wants to "create a captivating world where you are customising a place that used to be the radio".
Not to be outdone by the car companies, Garmin showed off its latest
dashboard infotainment concept, the K2. The 10.4-inch touch screen can display maps, of course, when the car is in motion, and web data and social media when the car is stopped. The K2 also includes voice command, Bluetooth connectivity and a suite of virtual gauges. It is merely a concept at this point, but Garmin is looking to team up with car companies to make the K2 platform real.
Texas Instruments showed off its rear-projection screen with infrared touch technology. The "screen" can take on varying shapes, meaning it can contour to specific dashboard designs, as well as display navigation, audio features and phone controls. The company also demonstrated how the same tech could be used for heads-up displays.