Over the past decade as computers and cars have slowly merged into one, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as become as much about cars as gadgets. And this year was no different, with car makers and companies showing off what they think is the future of our highways, cities, and vehicles.
Here are the biggest trends from this year's event that just might change the way humans move.
The last several years have been about making the car smarter, more connected, and more fuel-efficient. Today a new sedan is full of driver-assisting technologies that will eventually form the backbone of future, fully-autonomous vehicles. But we still need the rest of the world to work around them.
At CES 2018, the “smart city” was at its center with car and tech companies brainstorming ways to retrofit existing infrastructure to work with always-connected cars. Bosch talked up a plan for “community-based parking” where cars automatically report empty parking spaces they drive past and send data to a cloud-based database of free parking spaces. Also Automated Valet Parking technology that would allow cars to park themselves, letting you hop out and get on your way.
Panasonic also spent the last year working with the state of Colorado on an experimental stretch of “smart highway” along Interstate 70, where cars talk to each other and share information about traffic jams and hazards along the road. Ford showed off a lighting system mounted on its self-driving cars that signals the vehicle’s intention to people around it, like telling pedestrians that it plans to turn.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant were everywhere at CES 2018, including your car's dashboard. Panasonic announced its car infotainment system tech would start to work with both Alexa and Google Assistant via Android Auto.
Amazon developed an offline mode for Alexa that would allow the voice assistant to control car features like the music and the temperature without the need for an internet connection, and Garmin made one of our favorite third-party Alexa devices for the car called the Speak Plus.