CES 2016 concept cars include battery-powered VW bus, gesture-controlled BMW
The BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept is shown at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016, in Las Vegas. (Newspress via Relaxnews)
Published Friday, January 8, 2016 3:37PM EST
From cars that come with their own pet drone or that respond to a wave of the hand to vehicles that provide real-time health diagnostics or can automatically interact with everything from smart ovens, lighting systems and thermostats around the home, automakers made an indelible impression on this year's Las Vegas Nevada technology extravaganza.
Audi is concerned about its drivers' health and with its Audi Fit concept can take data gathered from its owner's smartwatch or fitness tracker and combine it with information about driving conditions to understand stress levels and other potential distractions, even suggesting that the driver take a break if the seat massage or breathing exercise aren't working.
The BMW iVision Future Interaction Concept Car explores how drivers will keep control over the various in-car functions as vehicles become computers on wheels. The answer is panoramic touchless touch screens, responding to hand gestures instead. "This system is able to recognize 3D movements and relay them to the interface. This next step in gesture control will open up new possibilities," said BMW's Klaus Fröhlich.
Bosch is trying to solve the problem from the opposite side. Its future dashboard system is resplendent in touch screens but ones that manipulate the driver's finger when touched that it feels like pressing a real knob or button. The sensation is remarkable and this sense of touching a knob makes a control easier to find, meaning there's no need to take your eyes off the road. "We want to make people's lives better and easier, and the key to this is connectivity," said Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner.
Rinspeed's Ʃtos concept had a drone for collecting supplies, videoing drives and scouting out the road head. It sounds leftfield but Ford also announced plans to integrate car and drone technology at this year's show as a means of helping United Nations emergency response teams.
Faraday Future turned heads with its first car, the FFZERO1 -- a single-seat electric racer straight out of the future. "On our platform, electric vehicles will not only deliver on sustainability, but will be seamlessly connected and exhilarating to drive," said the company's Nick Sampson. The car has a Bugatti-baiting 1000bhp and similar acceleration and top speed credentials. However it is just a concept. The first production car isn't due until at least 2018.
That means it will arrive at the same time as Volkswagen's Budd-e, a battery-driven reimagining of its iconic Microbus. Revealed as a concept but one heading for production, the MPV can travel 500km+ on one charge and previews features, like gesture-operated doors and self-parking that are coming to the VW range shortly. "The original Microbus was the embodiment of peace, hope and happiness, an apartment on wheels. The future belongs to cars that make everyone happy," said VW head Dr. Herbert Diess.