Because I’m such a fan of radio and of cars, my interests intersect in the connected car, the coming avalanche of car gadgetry that will transform the way we drive–and what we do while we’re driving.
Anyone who’s shopped for a car recently will know that manufacturers are jamming all kinds of technology into the dashboard, especially when it comes to auto infotainment systems. Over the last couple of years, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been the place where we get our first taste of bleeding edge car tech. The Financial Times has this preview.
Now cars are among the main attractions at the International CES that opens Jan. 6 featuring vehicles with touchscreen dashboards and others controlled by smartwatches. Fields is making a triumphant return as Ford’s chief executive officer, where he’ll deliver a speech about the dawn of the connected-car era. Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche will be there, too, discussing the latest concept of a self-driving Mercedes- Benz. They join a record 10 automakers showing their wares on an exhibit space the size of three football fields.
“CES has become a major launch point for a lot of the big automakers,” said Mark Boyadjis, technology analyst for researcher IHS in Minnetonka, Minnesota. “CES is a way for them to get on a global stage for technology.”
The evolution of Ford’s CES exhibit tells the story of the automotive ascent at the trade show that attracts 140,000 visitors. Five years ago, Ford displayed its new Taurus on a 20-foot-by-20-foot piece of carpet. This year, Ford has a two-story display with five vehicles, a wall of digital screens and private offices for conducting business.
“We’ve come a long way from a single car on a carpet,” said Alan Hall, a Ford spokesman who manned that first basic booth.
There’s more to read here. Meanwhile, my Geeks&Beats compatriot, Michael Hainsworth, will be in Las Vegas for CES. When our Geeks&Beats podcast gets rolling again in about ten days, he’ll report back.