[CES 2008] In-Vehicle Tech

By Evan Ackerman

I covered a lot of emerging automotive tech at the LA Auto Show back in November. Most of the stuff on display in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center wasn’t really new or innovative; there was a lot (a lot) of audio systems, in-car video, GPS, etc… But there were a few pretty cars around, and a couple interesting things. First, the interesting things:

General Motors Hydrogen Powertrain

GM Hydrogen Powertrain

The GM people I talked to didn’t seem to have a clue about this, but apparently it’s a hydrogen version of the Chevy Volt. Maybe we’ll hear more tomorrow, after the GM keynote. [ Chevy Volt ]

FLIR Dash Cams

Thermal infrared cameras are good for more things than just taking weird pictures of hot people. Their ability to see in the dark makes them useful when you’re driving way, way too fast at night. FLIR systems are already optional on some 5, 6, and 7 series BMWs (where it adds about $2000 to the sticker price), and if you like the idea but don’t like BMWs, you can buy a kit to install a small FLIR camera on your dashboard with an attached video screen. Seems like it might be distracting, but when I talked to some of the FLIR guys a little later that night, they described it like using a rearview mirror: you’re peripherally aware of it until something shows up. In the case of the FLIR system, it usually spots animals, which show up as bright white since they’re warm. FLIR says they’re working on a system to partially automate obstacle detection by looking for telltale thermal movement patterns that indicate an object might collide with the car. [ FLIR Driver Vision Enhancement ]

Kicker Subs

Kicker Bass

As you might expect from a hall full of car audio, there was a relentless undertone of bass pounding away everywhere. The winner when it comes to sheer pain, though, was Kicker, with this van, which was overstuffed with amps and subwoofers (notice the giant box o’ amps on the floor). I stuck my head in to get the full effect, which was a huge mistake… The air pressure oscillations practically shattered my skull. [ Kicker ]

Eye Candy

And then there were these cars just lying around, looking slick:

Ford GT
Ford GT

Shelby GT500
Shelby GT500

Porsche Cayman S
Porsche Cayman S Design Edition

Lotus Exige
Lotus Exige, spotted at the Cobra exhibit.

[ CES ]