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Volkswagen demos new displays, personalization features at CES 2017

Volkswagen debuted a host of new tech at CES 2017 aimed at personalizing cars for their users and anticipating a future of shared, connected vehicles.

One of those features is the User-ID, which allows owners to import their personal settings for things like dashboard displays and ambient lighting. It also allows passengers to bring their own media into the car from an external device. At CES, Volkswagen is demonstrating these capabilities with an app that lets users reconfigure different displays at its booth.

The Used-ID also works in combination with an updated version of the Digital Key VW first showed at CES 2015. The Digital Key previously allowed owners to lock and unlock the doors of their own cars with a smartphone, but now it also imports those previously mentioned User-ID preferences. Owners can also give family or friends access to the car for specific periods of time, or allow unlocking of the trunk so delivery services can drop off packages.

Another familiar tech concept receiving an update is the Digital Cockpit, which first appeared on production cars from Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand and is now trickling down to the main VW brand as well. The Digital Cockpit replaces analog gauges with a reconfigurable digital display, but this new version uses two stacked screens to create a 3D feel. It also utilizes eye tracking to detect where the driver is looking and turns off animated graphics when the driver isn’t looking at the screen.

The updated Virtual Cockpit was shown alongside an elaborate heads-up display, which features two levels for information displays. Information that is relevant to driving, like navigation directions, is projected in a way that makes it appear to be several feet in front of the car. All other information is presented in a more conventional format, hovering closer to the windshield.

Rounding out the list of new tech is Amazon Alexa voice-control integration. VW connected Alexa to its Car-Net telematics system, allowing owners to control functions of that system from wherever they have an Amazon Echo set up. It’s unclear when this, or any the other tech displayed by Volkswagen at CES, will make it into production cars, but it may start appearing in showrooms over the next few years.