Consumer electronics show the way forward
The annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES as it’s more commonly known, opened yesterday in Las Vegas, and will run through to Sunday. Being also a 50th anniversary event, it should be no surprise that it is the biggest yet, with more than 3,800 companies launching their latest innovations.
It’s also fast becoming the venue of choice for vehicle manufacturers to unveil their most advanced concepts, as the latest technologies are adapted into the self-driving and zero-emission cars of tomorrow.
Perhaps the most talked about so far, is the Faraday Future FF 91. It boldly promises a new breed of electric mobility that combines supercar performance, precise handling, the comfort of an ultra-luxury passenger vehicle, and a unique collection of intelligent internet features. With a suggested 0-60 mph of 2.39 seconds, and a peak motor power of 783 kW (equating to 1050 HP), it’ll still deliver a range of 378 miles. However, with the ground for its production facility barely broken, and rumours of financial woes, the proof of any pudding is in the eating, and dinner is yet to be served.
Chrysler on the other hand were almost decidedly retro in their futuristic offering, which in a nutshell, was a minivan. Named the Portal, it is an all-electric, semi-autonomous “third-space” for millennials set upon multiplying and creating their very own brat pack. With doors that move forward, backward, and outward, Portal certainly seems an apt name. This concept is all about the experience, with a community display that allows passengers to stream video, music, and images. There’s a zoned audio system, complete with headphones for each user. And with face recognition software, Portal will even configure itself to each driver’s set preferences.
Toyota designed their Concept-i vehicle from the inside out, with a specific emphasis on the driver – perhaps an unusual choice for an autonomous car. Chauffeur Mode can be engaged when the commute takes all the fun out of driving, with a gamer-style steering wheel beckoning for more open roads. It also profiles perhaps the most unique UI yet, in the form of Yui, Concept-I’s operating system. So, as well as scissor doors and mood lighting, your next Toyota might have a personality too.
BMW also put focus on the interior, with their i Inside Future concept, acting as a showcase for the latest style and personalisation technologies. It features BMW HoloActive Touch, a holographic technology that projects above the central console, working on an advanced version of BMW’s gesture control and using ultrasonic pulses to give tactile responses. There’s something about this we really like, but we can’t quite put our finger on it.
Overall, the future looks extremely bright (brilliant white or stylishly silver in most cases), and set to embrace even more consumer-focused technology. As more ways to make any journey productive, enjoyable and an opportunity to do anything other than actually drive are explored, we can expect more concepts based on using space and the overall experience to feature heavily in our automotive futures.