Every January, the latest technology innovations are introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in (where else?) Las Vegas. Across its 2.9 million square feet, CES is the place to see the most innovative and useful new ideas, and the completely ridiculous—and everything in between.
One of the most interesting parts of CES is always the automotive category—new cars are often unveiled there, as well as countless new features and accessories. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights for drivers at CES 2020. (Spoiler alert: a lot of them are made by Bosch. Sometimes we forget that they do a lot more than just headlamps and wiper blades!)
Okay, so the name is not the innovative part. Bosch was too busy creating tech that enables, you know, autonomous flying cars. (Really. That’s what this box does.)
This SensorBox doesn’t look any more complicated than your average gaming console (less so, actually), but Bosch says that with this technology “cars learn to fly,” and it makes “civil aviation with flying taxis affordable for a wide range of providers.” We think that’s equal parts amazing and terrifying.
And flying taxis are apparently not that far off—this year, testing will be happening in Dallas, Los Angeles, and several major cities outside the U.S.
Bosch Virtual Visor
Another Bosch innovation that got a lot of attention at CES was the Virtual Visor. It’s basically a transparent LCD screen where a visor would normally be, and it has cameras that track shadows as they move across the driver’s face. It darkens only the part of the ‘visor’ needed to protect the driver from glare, maintaining a much larger field of view; it only darkens about 10% of the area a traditional, solid visor obscures when folded down.
Huracán with Alexa
There was a Lamborghini with a built-in Alexa system at CES… so apparently if you’re busy cornering at warp speed, you can say “Alexa,
Maybe it’s just us, but… if we had a Huracán (or any supercar, really), the last thing we’d want to hear amid the roar of the exhaust would be Alexa’s disembodied, singsong-y voice. That’s just the polar opposite of badass.
Bmmpr smart security alerting
Bmmpr is a plug-and-play accessory that adds some advanced security tech to virtually any modern car (it works with most models years 1996 or newer.) The features it adds are similar to what you get with much more complicated built-in systems like OnStar.
Bmmpr will notify you if your car’s broken into, getting towed, or if it detects an impact. It also has GPS tracking to locate your car.
Bosch 3D display
Another Bosch innovation that will likely be finding its way into various manufacturers’ driver information centers in the coming model years is its 3D display technology.
As the in-car experience becomes more immersive, three-dimensionality is proving to be an effective way to organize information in a safer way that’s easier for the driver to process. (And no, you don’t have to wear silly cardboard glasses to see it!)
Cobra Road Scout Elite
And if you were under the mistaken impression that radar detectors went out with the 80s (and/or with The Sharper Image), Cobra begs to differ. Exhibit A: the Cobra Road Scout Elite.
It’s not only a radar detector, but a high-def dash cam and a turn-by-turn nav system. So you can get where you’re going fast, without risk of a ticket. And document the whole journey for YouTube. All from one device.
And then there are the actual (concept) cars that made their debut at CES…
Automotive designer Henrik Fisker previously founded the company now known as Karma (formerly Fisker), and now has started up a new company under the Fisker marque. Its first model, the Ocean, is an all-electric crossover that seems very practical, futuristically good-looking, and has a really intriguing price point: it starts at $37,499.
Fisker is billing it as the “world’s most sustainable car,” so it should appeal to buyers who are concerned about their carbon footprint, as well as those who’ve been considering making the leap to an EV but want something a little more unique or well-appointed than the entry-level Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which starts at a higher price point ($39,990.) The Ocean’s 250-300 mile claimed range would be slightly better than the Tesla’s claimed 250.
The AVTR moniker stands for Advance Vision Transportation (making that acronym work was clearly more important than the actual words), but if you thought of blue people on Pandora, you’re absolutely right—Mercedes legit worked with Avatar director James Cameron—and a design team from Avatar—in developing this concept. (Probably a better collaboration project than building an unsinkable ship with him…)
The AVTR is made from 100% recycled materials (so no unobtanium here), and can drive sideways.
It’s obviously still very much in the “future perfect” concept stage, and will likely never make it to production, but many of its features are actually to being a reality, and some already are.
Sony Vision S
Sony, out of nowhere, showed up with not just audio or visual automotive tech—they built a whole car. (Did anyone even know they were working on this?) This prototype—which looks like the offspring of a Porsche Taycan and a Tesla Model 3—seemed to be one of the biggest surprises of CES.
The car itself seemed mostly to be a (literal) vehicle to showcase a lot of new tech—sensors abound, dedicated to everything from safety/external navigation to passenger comfort and climate and infotainment preferences.
Whichever innovations and concepts actually reach production, it’s clear that there’s a lot of exciting car tech in both our near and distant future!