CES is an electronics show, not a car show, but you wouldn’t know it if you perused the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Car manufacturers have elbowed their way in with an array of high-tech vehicles, from affordable electric vehicles to fully autonomous cars that will drive themselves. Let’s take a look inside with the 360-degree magic of virtual reality.
VW Budd-e electric microbus
Remember the iconic Microbus of the 60s and 70s? This is that, reincarnated for the 21st century. But if you see any smoke billowing out of this one, it’s coming from inside. This thing is fully electric. The battery pack sits in the floor to provide plenty of flat, livable room inside, and don’t think road trips are off limits just because it’s an EV: VW claims it will get 373 miles of range on one charge, and can recharge to 80 percent in 15 minutes. There’s even a drop box for deliveries, should you decide to take “home on the road” literally.
Ford autonomous vehicle prototype
No, you can’t hop into a car and have it drive you to work while you nap … yet. But we’re getting a lot closer! And technology like this is how. See those swirling cans on top of the Ford? Those are LiDAR sensors, and they’re constructing a 3D map of everything around the car, in real-time. The monitors above the car show exactly what the car sees – in this case a ton of people. With that kind of resolution, it’s no wonder that semi-autonomous cars like this are already able to prevent you from running into another car or pedestrian, even if it’s not quite KITT yet.
Welcome inside the Chevy Bolt, winner of Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2016 award. In a show this dense, competition to win is fierce, but our editors landed on the Bolt for one simple reason: It’s going to send electric vehicles mainstream. It only costs $30,000, has a range of 200 miles, and you can recharge it to 80 percent battery life in under an hour. It’s the everyman’s EV we’ve wanted for years. You can also see that inside is a pretty comfortable place to sit. The 45-degree angle on that touchscreen makes it pretty comfy to operate with your elbow propped on the console, and cameras all around the car stitch together a “surround vision” view that makes it easier to park. Free up a spot and an outlet in your garage: This thing is coming in 2016.
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