CES 2015: Connected Cars Take the Spotlight

Jan 06, 2015 08:30 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Washing machines may have been a showstopper at this year's CES, but the Internet of things trend that took over the event has given plenty of space to connected cars.

Ten automakers showing off their connected wares made for a CES record, according to the Globe and Mail. More than 900 exhibitors were scheduled to show products and technologies that link everyday devices to the Internet, said the Consumer Electronics Association.

"The 'Internet of Things' is the hottest topic in tech right now," Karen Chupka, senior vice president of International CES, said in a statement. "It's all about the opportunity to connect everyday items like cars, home security systems and kitchen appliances to networked devices like PCs and smartphones for greater control and management of our everyday lives."

Auto-Pilot Systems

Cars may not drive themselves just yet, but they're getting closer. CNET and other media tested a BMW i3 research vehicle that couldn't be crashed into a wall thanks to ActiveAssist technology that automatically hit the brakes. BMW additionally demonstrated a self-parking system that allowed the i3 to find a spot and back into it before returning to pick up its driver.

Updated Infotainment Technology

General Motors has launched a new OnStar feature called AtYourService that can book hotel reservations and find restaurant deals from your vehicle, while Volkswagen showed off a 3-D camera this week that allows passengers to control the car infotainment system through hand gestures.

Chipmaker Nvidia has unveiled Drive CX and Drive PX, two in-vehicle computer prototypes. The first will power infotainment displays, while the second will offer self-driving functions. Drive CX additionally played into the 4K trend that has been a major part of this year's CES by powering a display with 3D advanced navigation and infotainment and high-resolution digital instrument clusters.

Keyless Functionality

An app from Canadian startup Keyfree Technologies will purportedly replace your keys. After installing a small device in the vehicle, the app can be put on a select number of smartphones to open the car as well as track where it's taken and when it's used.

The Toronto company is looking to bring the technology to retail outlets by the second quarter of this year, starting around $199.

Mercedes-Benz's F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept

Mercedes-Benz is working on the ultimate luxury vehicle, one that is essentially an extension of your home. The silvery concept has a lounge-like, roomy interior intended to function like a living space.

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