Car junkies do not just look to auto shows to get their fix. Nowadays they are increasingly turning to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) to get their fill of all things vehicle. This is only logical, as today's cars and trucks are becoming increasingly interactive. Automakers realize this and are more than willing to meet this demand.
Each year, they are coming to the CES held in Las Vegas in increasing numbers. This year, no less than Audi, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Kia and Mercedes-Benz graced the CES floor. In fact, auto industry executives have delivered some of the more popular keynote addresses at the CES in recent years, with Daimler AG chairman and Mercedes-Benz leader Dieter Zietsche speaking at this year’s show. Meanwhile, the car electronics being showcased this year showed one main theme: the connected car is here.
Much of the connectivity power is to come at this stage in the evolution of this technology from smartphones and apps. Just as apps have transformed the phone and tablet market, industry prognosticators believe they will do the same with the electronics within vehicles.
The services that our vehicles will connect us with run the gamut from the purely practical to those that are cool and fun. Properly equipped cars can already provide drivers with weather, driving condition and traffic updates. Now, this capability can be driven by voice commands, which should help fight-off any possible anti-tech legislation. The fun apps are some that many of us already know, such as internet radio, Yelp!, Facebook and Google Music, and also newer services such as National Public Radio on demand. Also, something that is sure to attract the eyes of consumers is the trend towards large, voice-controlled touchscreens. These screens are able to display maps along with anything else that can show on a tablet.
Of course, as vehicles become more and more interactive, a few key safety issues arise. Distracted driving is already gaining ground as a serious issue on today's roads. Hopefully automakers will keep in safety in mind as they dash to keep up with our increasingly "wired" world.