In previous years the emphasis of CES, driven ultimately by consumer demand, has been entertainment in one form or another. Motoring has been left out in the Los Angeles car lot. But this year the talk has been of how the motoring fraternity has finally made it into the building. In the process, the story has become not just of how the motors have entered the building, it has become one of how the technology that sustains the digital leisure industry is making its way into the driverless cars of the near future. The hot topic is now intelligent, self-driving vehicles crammed with sensors and software that leave everyone on board free to play as never before. Enjoying life in the fast lane has just taken on a whole new meaning.
CES 2015 lifted the lid on the now blossoming relationships between the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz and tech powerhouses such as Sony, LG and Samsung. The days when tech in a car meant an iPod dock and a satnav are long gone - a mere spec in the rear view mirror. At last, the gears are meshing. Here are just a few of the eye catching ideas that we were treated to:
- Mercedes Benz F 015 self-driving 'de luxe room on wheels'
- BMW's automated walkaway parking system
- Lazer guided lighting systems that can 'see' round corners
- Universal smartphone plug ins
- An Audi branded tablet computer (with added crash safety features)
- VW Golf's fully digital touch screen cabin controls system
A whole new experience
Ford were the first to pioneer the presence of motors at CES eight years ago and it has, in truth, taken a while for the two worlds to work their way to their happy state of embrace. But like all the best romances, there is no going back from where we are right now. The level of on-board assistance demonstrated by Mercedes and Audi in particular means that - in a strange rewriting of history - we will soon be able to travel in our cars without having to focus on the tedious business of actually driving them. It means we'll be able to max out at our favourite online casino or even enjoy a spin on GTA even as we make our way around the streets of Vegas.
CES 2016 will take place in Vegas from Jan 6 to 9 - set your coordinates now.