The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is a chance for tech masterminds to show off the latest, coolest, weirdest innovations doing the rounds.
In recent years, car companies have been keen to use the event to show off their more out-there ideas and concepts — and there were some doozies this year.
As far as thinking outside the box goes, Hyundai was the boldest with its Star Wars-esque Elevate concept.
An electric “walking vehicle”, the Elevate can drive like an ordinary car but can also extend its legs to, as Hyundai puts it, walk in “both mammalian and reptilian gaits, allowing it to move in any direction”.
The company says the concept is aimed at emergency response, which could see the vehicle step over debris and traverse challenging terrain to rescue those in need.
Hyundai says it could walk over a five-foot (1.5m) wall.
“Imagine a car stranded in a snow ditch just 10 feet off the highway being able to walk or climb over the treacherous terrain, back to the road potentially saving its injured passengers,” design manager David Byron, said. “This is the future of vehicular mobility.”
Hyundai also showed off tech which is more likely to appear in the short term.
It teamed up with Swiss tech start-up WayRay to show off a “Holographic Augmented Reality Navigation System” on a Genesis G80.
The system uses holographic powered glass to project images such as directions which appear to be on the actual road — essentially something which would normally require wearing a headset. It differs from a head-up display by projecting an image through the windshield rather than projecting a reflected image indirectly through an LCD screen mounted on the dashboard.
Nissan also showcased a similar idea with its Invisible-to-Visible technology.
It uses sensors outside and inside the vehicle and data from the cloud to track the vehicle’s surroundings and also to anticipate what’s ahead, such as showing what’s behind a building or around the corner.
Guidance and information is given via avatars appearing inside the car. When visiting a new place, the system can find a knowledgeable local guide to communicate with people in the vehicle in real time.
It also uses augmented reality to make driving more pleasant; for example, when driving autonomously in rain, the scenery of a sunny day can be projected inside the vehicle.
Forget iPads — kids are about to become far more spoilt if Audi’s vision for the future comes true.
It says back seat passengers will soon be able to experience movies, video games and interactive content using virtual reality glasses which incorporate the movements of the car. Audi says if a vehicle drives through a right turn, the spaceship in the virtual reality experience does the same.
At CES, it allowed people at the show to enjoy Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run which sees them experience a trip into outer space and the car transform into a rocket ship.
Audi co-founded start-up company, holoride GmbH, to make this feature available to all car makers and content developers in the future.