BBC Autos


The top five breakthroughs in car tech from CES 2014

  • Technology in motion

    Amid acres of consumer gadgetry, automakers occasionally stole the spotlight from the tech heavyweights at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Audi, BMW, Hyundai, General Motors, Ford and Mercedes-Benz showed up in force, with some offering updates of previously demonstrated tech, others full re-thinks of what a car can do – with or without humans at the controls.

    Here are BBC Autos' top five car technology picks from this year's CES. (Photo: Hyundai Motor)

  • BMW teaches self-driving cars to slide

    BMW debuted a modified 2 Series Coupe and 6 Series Gran Coupe (pictured above) that can dodge traffic cones and perform controlled drift maneuvers around a track using the cars’ Active Assist feature. BMW's system uses a combination of radar, lidar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras to pinpoint the car's location before tapping into the vehicle's electronics to control throttle, braking and steering inputs. It may sound busy, but this demo video makes such complexity appear beautifully simple. (Photo: BMW Group)

  • Google forges an Android alliance

    General Motors, Hyundai, Honda and Audi (whose Android-based tablet is shown above) announced they would collaborate to bring Google’s Android mobile platform into their vehicles. The goal of the Open Automotive Alliance, as it is called, is to create a common platform through which the latest technologies can be delivered to customers. Although not as glamorous as other high-tech showings, the new alliance has the potential to truly transform in-car communications and infotainment. Apple is already working with car companies on its iOS in the Car initiative, but the market is still wide open. Look for the first Android-integrated cars by the end of this year. (Photo: Audi of America)

  • Formula E racing car makes Vegas landfall

    One of the sexiest spectacles at CES 2014 came in the form of the fully electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E racing car. The racer cruised down the Las Vegas strip driven by ex-Formula 1 pilot Lucas di Grassi, who has been a development driver on the 150mph-plus machine. Presuming all goes to plan – always a delicate matter with new racing series – enthusiasts will see the Spark-Renault in action come September at the inaugural Formula E grand prix in Beijing. (Photo: Formula E)

  • Corvette Stingray has got a file on you

    Chevy's new Performance Data Recorder for the 2015 Corvette Stingray records performance data, in-cabin audio and outside HD video so drivers can assess their racing chops. The system can record zero to 60mph and quarter-mile times, overall speed, g-forces, RPMs, brake force, lap times and throttle position, in addition to GPS-enabled lap positioning. Chevrolet claims that the GPS system works five times faster than the average unit to get the most precise car-location information. All the audio, video and telemetry data is then stored on a SD card, and can either be viewed on the eight-inch in-car display or uploaded to the Cosworth Toolbox racing software via a computer. (Photo: General Motors)

  • Hyundai taps Google Glass

    Building on its Blue Link app system, Hyundai will soon offer Google Glass owners the ability to unlock, start and perform other functions for their 2015 Genesis luxury sedan. Hyundai announced the new feature just before CES, but showed off the tech at the show. Glass users will be able remotely start their sedans, lock and unlock doors, pinpoint their vehicles, receive push notifications for maintenance and send points of interest from Glass to the car's navigation system. Though Google Glass is still in its early stages – and pairing the device with vehicles is a bit controversial – Hyundai has a track record of pairing must-have new gadgets with its products. It was only a few years ago that the company began shipping Genesis and Equus owners’ manuals on a device called the iPad. (Photo: Hyundai Motor)