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Cars evolve at CES 2013

With several major automakers showing their latest electronics integration and suppliers displaying new products for manufacturers and the aftermarket, CES 2013 promises to host a significant car component.

Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM
Magellan promises new versions of its RoadMate GPS devices designed for RVs at CES 2013. Magellan

The automotive presence at CES 2013 looks to be stronger than ever, with an array of aftermarket and GPS companies joined by some of the leading tech pioneers among automakers. In addition, equipment suppliers such as Nvidia, Intel, and Freescale show off their latest automotive-oriented chips.

Big iron
Both Ford and Audi will run major press conferences at the Mandalay Bay. During last week's Los Angeles Auto Show, a Ford spokesman told us to expect big tech announcements at CES without being specific on what they were. We expect Ford to show off the latest iteration of its MyFord Touch cabin tech interface, which it continues to update even for existing owners. Ford can also look to new app integration with its Sync system, as the company adds new functionality almost monthly.

At this stage, we would not expect a new car unveiling, unless Ford has been hiding a Fiesta electric in its garage. It certainly already has a significant portfolio of electrified cars to talk about, from the Focus Electric to the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Last year Audi showed off a very a innovative tech interface for its A3 model, so if we are lucky the company will show off the new A3 model we've been waiting for. However, that car would most likely be reserved for the Detroit auto show following in the next week. We recently had the opportunity to drive an electric car based on the most recent A3 generation, so it is possible Audi could show off the next A3 with an electric drivetrain.

Audi is most likely to show off more advanced versions of the Google Earth integration it has deployed in its current cars. We would also like to see some sort of social media integration.

Other automakers with floor presence at CES will be Subaru, GM, Kia, Hyundai, and Lexus. Subaru will most likely be showing off its new camera-based collision prevention technology, coming out on its new Outback and Forester models.

PNDs are not dead
With smartphones handling navigation services very capably, portable navigation device companies such as Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom seemed under a big threat. However, Magellan seeks to stay relevant by showing off new Roadmate GPS devices intended for trucks and RVs, where drivers might want a larger format screen than found on smartphones. It will also show off new products in its eXplorist line of outdoor-oriented GPS devices, which tackle activities not generally covered by smartphone navigation.

TomTom and Magellan will also be showing off product lines at the show.

Pump up the volume
In past years, CES saw plenty of carryover from the SEMA show, with car stereo vendors blasting bass from mammoth subwoofers. This year looks to be no different, as Kenwood promises to show new head unit products boasting Pandora integration. Alpine and Clarion will also be displaying their wares.

Metra will be on hand to show solutions for installers, while Pyle and Rockford Fosgate promise thumping sound, the latter showing its speakers at an offsite location.

Tasty chips
Nvidia gave us some hints about how its chips can enable new driver assistance systems during the Los Angeles Auto Show, and we hope to see actual demonstrations on the CES floor. In addition, we will be looking for parallel processing Tegra chips from Nvidia designed for the automotive market.

Intel is also pushing its Atom processors as an automotive solution for infotainment systems, and will likely have some sort of demonstration tucked away in its massive floor area. Freescale, which has a strong automotive chip business, has dedicated floor space in which it is likely to show next generation automotive solutions.

Join us to see the latest in automotive electronics, and the future of the automobile, during our coverage of CES 2013 beginning January 5.