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What carmakers will reveal at CES

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 22, 2015
Over-the-air-software updates for cars will be a US$45 billion business by 2022.

car augmented reality
Augmented reality combined with heads-up display technology will allow drivers to maintain eye contact with the road for navigation. Credit: BMW

Automakers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January are expected to push software-defined vehicle technology, offering new human-machine interfaces (HMI), artificial intelligence and automated driving features.

Virtual reality in the form of gesture recognition and heads up displays will also be prevalent at CES, according to several analysts from IHS Automotive, which held a web conference yesterday to talk about the event.

audi virtual cockpit 
Here's the most surprising Google Earth view: The open road in front of you. Audi's virtual cockpit is an example of the type of technology CES attendees should expect. Credit: Audi

"Augmented reality is more than just a buzz term," said IHS senior HMI analyst Mark Boyadjis. "Virtual reality and augmented reality will be everywhere around there."

Augmented reality, or taking a computer-generated image and displaying it to a driver, has its challenges. For one, processors in today's cars are unable to sense an object in the road and render it on a heads-up display in real time, Boyadjis said.

"What I'm looking for at CES around this are advances in processing power of some chip sets -- from NVIDIA and Intel," he said. "If they can nail processing and real time transactions across the [in vehicle electronic] system, that will make augmented reality a reality."

While there will be a lot of auto announcements at CES, IHS analysts warned that most will not involve automakers. Over the past few years, automakers have been showing off their tech advances either at auto shows or periodically throughout the year -- simply because there are so many advances to tout.

CES will be more of a venue for Tier 1 auto suppliers -- the makers of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, sensors and other electronics-related parts.

There will be about 464 automotive electronics exhibitors at the show -- a record number, according to IHS. The exhibitors will feature technology related to audio, robotics, wearables and telecommunications, among other things.

One area to keep an eye on is human-machine interface technology, which is rapidly changing the way drivers and passengers communicate with their IVI systems.

"The thing is, it's no longer about just having a navigation system or applications on it. It's about which [system] is easier to use and which one is easier to learn," Boyadjis said. "That why HMI is such a core component."

Cloud-based speech recognition technology that uses machine learning skills to identify speech patterns more quickly to accurately identify commands will become commonplace in automobiles.


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