What was cool at CES

LAS VEGAS — The trade show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show now just goes by CES. That’s how cool it has become. It’s also arguably one of the most important auto shows of the year, with suppliers and automakers convening in this city of glitz to show off their most forward-thinking ideas. While the automakers hog the spotlight at other auto events, suppliers get a lot of attention here. And so we picked a few of our favorite technologies displayed at CES this year, some of which may show up in vehicles soon.

> HoloActive Touch
Company: BMW AG
Market: Luxury vehicles
What makes it cool: A free-floating virtual image of the center console display allows motorists to activate infotainment without touching the console.
Prospects: It’s unclear why virtual controls are better than the real things, but BMW has a taste for gee-whiz technology. Stay tuned.

> Augmented reality head-up display
Company: Continental AG
Market: Luxury vehicles
What makes it cool: Conti shrank its head-up display equipment by a factor of three while increasing the size of the displayed image.
Prospects: Conti has taken a big step toward comercialization. Expect to see this in cars within a couple of years.

> Solid-state lidar
Company: Continental AG
Market: Autonomous vehicles
What makes it cool: A solid-state lidar is smaller and cheaper than the costly revolving “coffee cans” used by Google’s mapmaking vehicles.
Prospects: Conti expects to put it into production in 2020.

> Biometrics identification
Company: Gentex Corp.
Market: Cars, trucks
What makes it cool: Gentex says the mirror-integrated system will identify the driver and, if authorized, start the vehicle and personalize the vehicle settings.
Prospects: Solidly possible. With vehicles offering more connections to the home and the introduction of shopping services, this is one way to ensure vehicles keep personal information secure.

> ZF ProAI
Company: ZF TRW
Market: Autonomous vehicles
What makes it cool: It’s the first production version of Nvidia’s Drive PX controller chip, featured earlier in Audi’s self-driving prototypes.
Prospects: ZF says it will be production-ready in 2018.

> Delphi’s self-driving tech
Company: Delphi
Market: Autonomous vehicles
What makes it cool: Delphi’s autonomous driving technology is seriously improving, and could merge onto the highway. It has 25 sensors, long-range radar and lidar.
Prospects: The system is still considered preproduction, but it is markedly improved from the demonstrations given a year ago.
Source: Automotive News

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