The annual CES in Las Vegas is arguably the world’s best showcase for new technology, much of which usually never makes it into production. But some of the coolest stuff unveiled at this year’s event could end up becoming a reality in the next few years.
There were some wild ideas, such as a flying taxi and a dog-shaped robot. But many of the new offerings from suppliers and automakers were more subdued examples of how they will keep advancing the development of self-driving cars.
Here are Automotive News Europe’s picks for the coolest auto-focused technology in Las Vegas last month.
Being called a back-seat driver may soon become a compliment rather than an insult. Veoneer’s autonomous test car, LIV, short for Learning Intelligent Vehicle, can be driven from anywhere in the car using a smartphone.
It is possible to accelerate and steer the car with the phone, which we did from the backseat with limited success -- it was more difficult than it sounds. A green dot on the phone screen accelerates and decelerates the car, while a circle on the screen controls the steering. Veoneer, which was formed when Swedish supplier Autoliv spun off its active-safety business into a publicly traded company last year, used CES to show all of LIV’s advanced systems, which included facial recognition to identify the driver so that it could make sure all of that person’s preferences were ready.
LIV can also park itself using a system called Autonomous Valet Parking, which includes Veoneer’s hardware and software from Zenuity, a joint venture between Volvo Cars and Veoneer. The suppliers aim to offer a system that allows the driver to exit the car near a store entrance and send the vehicle to find a parking space.
The system can also be used to have the car retrieve the driver at the store’s entrance. Zenuity’s Jon Demerly told Automotive News Europe that once the company has a customer it would take two to three years to have the valet parking production ready. Continental also gave reporters in Las Vegas a chance to see how its system automatically parks a car with a couple clicks of a smartphone. One difference was that the cars with Veoneer and Zenuity’s technology parked without anyone in the car while Continental played it a bit safer and had an engineer in the vehicle during the exhibition, but the engineer put his hands out the window during the exercise to prove he was not influencing any of the maneuvers.