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The best automotive news of CES 2014

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The auto industry has been slowly invading the Consumer Electronics Show over the course of the past several years — but in 2014, they've taken it to an entirely new level. The amount of attention CES is getting from top-tier car brands from around the world now rivals big auto shows, with a special focus on self-driving tech and the connected car. Here's the most interesting four-wheeled news we've encountered here in Vegas this year.

14 updates and 1440 comments below.

Jan 17 8:36a

BMW i3: driving the electric rebel in Munich's stable

This mass-production EV fights decades of tradition Continue reading »

Jan 14 10:00a

The car of the future is in Detroit and the desert

CES is an interesting new venue for the auto industry, but traditional car shows are still going strong Continue reading »

Jan 10 11:08a

Automakers want to see through walls in the name of safety

The cars we found parked on a closed course across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center this week can't actually see through walls, but they come pretty close: Ford is here at CES demonstrating Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication (V2V), a promising technology under development that could have a significant impact on road safety.

V2V has been in development for a number of years, using 802.11p — a simplified form of Wi-Fi geared specifically at the automotive industry — to beam...

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Jan 08 11:23a

What happens if you fall asleep in a self-driving car? Audi knows

Audi brought several high-tech car demos to CES this week — as it did last year — including two that took us out into the mean streets of Las Vegas, subject to the whims of rush hour traffic. Fortunately, we had a couple interesting new features making our bumper-to-bumper commutes just a little bit easier.

First, we tested a system that feeds upcoming traffic light data directly into the cockpit. While driving, the next light on your road is indicated in green with a suggested speed next to...

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4:28p

The self-drifting car: taking a BMW to the limit in Las Vegas

Self-driving cars aren't supposed to make you puke, are they?

A couple laps in BMW's latest autonomous driving demo, taking place here at CES this week, are all it took to get me feeling a little woozy. And there's a good reason for that: the car was whipping itself around an infield road track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the very outer limits of its capabilities, guided only be its own high-resolution GPS and the usual array of sensors found on every automakers' self-driving cars.

T...

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1:36p

A tablet for your car? Audi shows Android-powered Smart Display at CES

Audi didn't show a new car today — it showed a new tablet. The so-called Audi Smart Display integrates with the car's systems via Wi-Fi, letting passengers control the radio and access the internet via the car's built-in LTE connection (the company just announced a new partnership with AT&T for connectivity yesterday evening) on the 10.2-inch display. It's also a ruggedized unit that can be used in extremely cold temperatures, so it's clearly meant to be taken beyond the car once you reach...

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11:57a

Mercedes-Benz announces in-car integration with Nest thermostat

At CES today, Mercedes-Benz announced that it will be adding Nest support to its vehicles, meaning that drivers will be able to tweak the temperature at home right through their dashboards. The integration makes quite a bit of sense — remote control is one of the big features of Nest's popular connected thermostats — but Mercedes is taking it a step further: you'll be able to set your house to automatically heat up or cool down when you're on your way home.

The connected car has been one of...

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Jan 06 5:32p

Google's Open Automotive Alliance: the battle for the dashboard is now

Last night's announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance — a new industry group helmed by Google and top-tier automakers like Audi, GM, and Honda — served as the loudest call yet of CES's rapid transformation over the past couple years into a car show. Yes, not just a car-friendly show, an actual car show: automakers from BMW to Volvo have announcements lined up for this week. More than ever, keynote addresses and press conferences from auto industry executives now stand shoulder-to-shoulder...

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4:00p

Toyota will sell a fuel-cell car around the world in 2015

For automakers, CES is often dominated by self-driving and the ever-growing notion of the connected car, but Toyota's taking a more environmental tack with today's announcement: it's reiterating the call that it will have a hydrogen fuel-cell car for sale to consumers next year that produces nothing more than water vapor from the tailpipe. Toyota has said in recent months that it would have fuel-cell tech in consumers' hands "around 2015," but this is the first time that it's locking next...

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10:41a

Lean into it: test driving Toyota's i-Road concept car

Three wheels, two passengers, no gas, and a serious strut Continue reading »

3:56a

Google launches the Android-based Open Automotive Alliance with Audi, Honda, GM, and more

Google and a number of automakers are planning to bring Android to cars with the launch of a new group called the Open Automotive Alliance. The alliance consists of Google, GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai, and chipmaker Nvidia, and will focus on bringing the successful mobile operating system to in-car entertainment systems "in a way that is purpose built for cars." The first cars with Android integration are planned for launch by the end of 2014.

Jan 05 11:00p

Cars are the new smartphones: Chevrolet adding LTE and app store to 2015 models

Apart from the engine, wheels, seats, and enormous difference in size, 2015 Chevys will be nearly indistinguishable from smartphones: General Motors is announcing at CES today that next year's lineup with be available with built-in LTE and an app store. The so-called Chevrolet AppShop is the end result of GM's news at CES a year ago when it first offered an app SDK to developers; LTE, meanwhile, has been in the works since an announcement in February of last year.

AppShop looks and feels...

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12:01a

Corvette's Performance Data Recorder turns your drive into a video game

You've heard of the quantified self, but what about the quantified car?

Chevrolet brought journalists to Spring Mountain Raceway this weekend — some 60 miles beyond the glitz of CES and the Vegas Strip — to demonstrate the 2015 Corvette's Performance Data Recorder, a GoPro-on-steroids that's integrated directly into the car. The system includes a high-resolution GPS receiver that's five times more sensitive than the Corvette's standard navigation system, a mic recording the cabin, and a...

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Jan 02 12:01a

Ford's C-Max Solar Energi concept car is a sun-powered hybrid

Ford will be using CES as the stage next week to show off its new C-Max Solar Energi concept, a plug-in hybrid with a twist: instead of actually plugging it into an outlet when it's parked, you can just let the sun do the work. The company worked with the Georgia Institute of Technology and California solar energy firm SunPower on the project, which uses Fresnel lenses to concentrate the sun's rays on a relatively compact panel atop the C-Max's roof. The system is also capable of tracking the...

Continue reading »

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