Automotive Tech Takes the Stage at CES 2014

Every year in January, the world’s consumer electronics companies congregat in Las Vegas at the International CES Show to show off their latest and greatest products. Everything from digital cameras and tablet computers to washing machines and televisions are on display.

In past years, car manufacturers occupied a small part of the show to demonstrate the latest in-vehicle technologies. For 2014, automotive companies reserved 140,000 square feet of floor space for their booths – a 20% increase compared to 2013!

Here are some of the top automotive headlines from CES 2014:

Audi Introduces Self-Driving Car

Audi was at CES 2014 demonstrating a self-driving car, which uses a combination of RADAR, LASER, and imaging technologies to be aware of its surroundings. Last year, the car’s entire hatch was filled with computers to process this information. This year, it’s been shrunk down to a computer in the trunk no bigger than an iPad. Audi calls their new technology “piloted driving,” and it looked very close to production-ready on this A7 sedan.

Toyota Shows Off Fuel Cell Vehicle

Toyota pretty much stole the show with their stunning Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) concept car. The electric blue paint and wild body lines indicate that this is clearly a concept car, but in a press conference Toyota said that they expect to have a fuel cell car in production by 2015.

The car will have an on-board system for separating liquid hydrogen from oxygen which will power an electric drive motor. With a range of approximately 300 miles and a refueling time of just 3 minutes, this could be a serious contender in the alternate fuel race.

Toyota i-ROAD

Toyota also showed off the i-ROAD, a fuel-efficient commuter vehicle that’s basically a motorcycle for people who don’t want to deal with all the compromises of riding a motorcycle. It makes a SMART car look spacious by comparison.

Ford Exhibits New 2015 Mustangs

Ford plans to reintroduce the Mustang fastback in 2015, along with a cool new futuristic body style. I’m glad to see them finally moving away from the retro-inspired 2005 era design and into something way more modern. Ford also plans to debut a special twin-turbo 2.3L inline-4 cylinder EcoBoost motor, designed specially for the Mustang. With 350 HP and 300 ft-lbs of torque, it will offer significantly more power (and better fuel economy) than the current V6.

Also on display at the Ford booth was the new 2015 Mustang Convertible.

General Motors Shows Off MyLink

General Motors was showing off their latest MyLink In-dash infotainment system, which is featured in the new Corvette and Impala. Their booth was mostly the same setup as the 2013 CES show, only with a new Corvette Stingray.

Kia Shows Concept Cars

Kia had a pretty big booth at the 2014 CES show with lots of wild concept cars on display. This KND-7 is an overstyled little hatchback that features suicide rear doors. I think the 19-inch wheels would offset some of the gains of having a fuel-efficient 1.6L Turbo engine.

Chrysler Partners with Pandora

Chrysler was showing off their Uconnect in-dash system which features improved integration with Pandora and iHeartRadio. I was too busy ogling the new 2014 Viper GTS-R and its 455HP V10 engine to pay attention to much else.