Self-driving cars, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take over CES 2015
It was a stunning CES for automotive tech, with major advances in self-driving car technology being shown off by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and a number of automotive suppliers. In addition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will connect with your favorite phone in many cars.
Wayne CunninghamManaging Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
On the road to fully self-driving cars, it seems that self-parking may be the next big innovation. As shown at CES 2015, you would pull up to a parking garage entrance, then get out of your car and send it to find a parking place. When you left the restaurant, theater or office, you would summon the car, and it would be waiting for you in a special pickup zone in front of the garage.
Self-driving technology from automotive suppliers Delphi and Valeo at CES 2015 suggest that current adaptive cruise control systems may soon add self-steering, so drivers can let the car take over in stop-and-go traffic and on long highway runs. Delphi even showed the full capabilities of its self-driving technology in an urban environment, but that likely won't hit production for many years.
Mercedes-Benz's F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle, unveiled at CES 2015, showed the German automaker combining self-driving, advanced electronics in the cabin and a clean-energy drivetrain in its prediction for what a car might be like in 2030. You can't accuse Mercedes-Benz of being short-sighted.
Cabin tech improvements included the unveiling of the Virtual Cockpit cabin Audi designed for the next generation of its Q7 SUV. That Virtual Cockpit included implementations of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, letting drivers mirror their phones on the car's LCD.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto signs were in abundance around the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall, the domain of automotive electronics. Hyundai was showing off a new low-end head unit supporting both features, which will appear in its least expensive cars. And if you are not ready to buy a new car, aftermarket stereo makers Parrot, Pioneer and JVC Kenwood had systems supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Unlike the many makers of personal and home electronics at CES, automakers and equipment suppliers tend to focus less on product announcements and more on future tech. At CES, we get to see what the car of tomorrow can do. See all of CNET's car tech coverage of CES 2015 here.