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 (pictured above)

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 commercialization. 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.

> Alexa integration

Companies: Amazon, Ford

Market: Cars, trucks

What makes it cool: Ford touts its integration of Amazon’s Alexa into its Sync system as an industry first. Using Alexa in their vehicles, consumers will be able to control their home lights, garage door and security systems. And from inside the house, they’ll be able to lock or unlock the vehicle and start it.

Prospects: On its way. Alexa will be able to control vehicles in a couple of months, and consumers will be able to control their homes from their vehicles by summer, Ford says.

> 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.

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