This is going to be fun!
Each year the tech industry kicks off the new year with the largest convention in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s where you’ll see toilet paper that will replenish itself when you need it, robot dogs that can help veterans recover from PTSD and TVs can’t get too rich or too thin.
And, increasingly it’s where the auto makers roll out tech innovations that we’ll see inside the car—some that will make your life better, some designed to make our cars safer and more efficient.
We did say this is the largest convention in Las Vegas, so obviously there’s a lot to see. Just seeing all the automotive gee-gaws can be a challenge, never mind sorting through the ones that are actually beneficial and interesting. So we boiled it down for you. Here’s what we are excited about at CES this year.
A See-Through Sun Visor
This one I personally can’t wait for; often blocking the sun also means blocking out the things you need to see, like the car ahead of you. Bosch introduced the Virtual Visor that uses transparent LCD screens to track the sun on your face and block it from your eyes. Brilliant, or actually where it matters most, not brilliant at all!
Related: The Michelin Tire of the Future is Here: The Uptis is Sustainable, Puncture-Proof, Airless and Will be on GM’s Cars Shortly
An Electric Jeep
FINALLY. A plug in electric Jeep. Looks like our friend Emme Hall of RoadShow will finally get her electric off-roader!
Yes: taxis that fly. Hyundai and Uber teamed for this helicopter-ish flying car that’ll ferry people to and fro from its base hubs.
A Car That Drives Sideways
Mercedes-Benz introduced an electric car that can drive forwards as well as sideways. Based on the movie Avatar, this car is a virtual visual show on wheels. Our friend Roberto Baldwin of Engadget tells the story:
Rear View Mirrors That Show the Whole Picture
Aston Martin teamed with Gentex, the maker of lots of great in-car tech such as live view mirrors and surround view camera systems, to create a live-view rear view mirror that displays images from three camera views at once.
A Speakerless Sound System
So, no, it really is like Rhianna is singing just to you. Continental (which you might think of as a tire company, but they develop all sorts of automotive systems) and Sennheiser have teamed to develop this system that deflects, reflects and projects sound from the surfaces of the car, making the sound ambient and immersive rather than pointed at you. How cool is that?
A Whole New, Experimental, Sustainable, Utopian City
Toyota announced plans for a city that will host all the new technology the company is developing, including fuel cell cars, robotics and smart homes. Set at the foot of Mt. Fuji, the 175-acre city is being called Woven.
Every Car You’re In Really Gets You
No matter where you are, or whose car you’re in, Harman’s One For All technology will let any car you get into— a rental, an Uber, your boyfriend’s car— recognize you and plug in your preferences. It’ll know that you prefer to listen to Chill and not the Uber driver’s rap demo and that you want the seat set to heat, not cool, which is where your boyfriend always has it set.
Alexa Can Now Make Your Kids Stop Fighting
Well, maybe not, but soon you’ll be able to ask Alexa to do a whole lot of things that it can’t yet. Like turn on the heated seats, navigate to your favorite coffee shop and turn up the music so you can’t hear the kids fighting. The first car makers to adapt the technology are electric truck maker Rivian, which says it’ll have the integration available when its trucks roll off the line in 2021, and Lamborghini.
Related: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Explained: All You Need to Know About the Most Popular In-Car Phone Systems
And of Course There Was a First-Ever Car Revealed!
Sony introduced its first ever car, the Vision-S Concept, a fully electric car filled with Sony screens, sights and sounds.
And for those who just can’t wait for the future when all this tech hits the market? They got to take a spin at the show. Driverless Lyft rides were available for the lucky few.