Gesture controls, piloted parking, and CarPlay: VW unloads a techy ton at CES

And here we were thinking VW was just an economical car company.

Vee-dub just dropped a massive amount of technological highlights here at CES 2015 from inductive charging to gesture-based infotainment controls. Now, let’s waste no time and dig right in.


First up and perhaps most interesting of all is the announcement rollout VW’s next-gen infotainment system, which will be called MirrorLink, late this year. MirrorLink will be the second version of the German automaker’s “modular infotainment platform” (MIB II) in the United States.

The system will critically be able to integrate smartphone apps — including Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony — into the in-dash infotainment system. This, if you’re keeping track at home, sounds awfully similar to Jaguar’s justDrive app, which was unveiled at the Connected Car Conference before the LA Auto Show last year. When it is launched, MirrorLink will also enable to the rollout of both Apple’s CarPlay integration and also Google’s Android Auto for VW owners.

This is wholly good news for buyers, as we’ve found the brand’s current infotainment system rather lacking.

Golf R Touch – gesture controls

Keeping on the infotainment front, VW has also demonstrated its move from touchscreen to fully touch-less gesture-based controls for future infotainment systems. Shown in the Golf R Touch concept, drivers will be able to control their media, climate, and other systems without ever gumming up their pristine infotainment screen.

“The Golf R Touch is equipped with three displays: the 12.8-inch high-resolution infotainment system touchscreen; a Control Center (8.0-inch with touch feedback) arranged beneath it to control vehicle, climate control and media functions; and an Active Information Display (digitalized instruments, 12.3-inch),” VW brags in its press release.

The system uses both proximity sensors – something that VW has implemented in its cars for several years – and also onboard, interior cameras, which watch occupants hands for certain movements.

Sure, this might seem gimmicky, but it’s a surefire way to keep drivers’ attention on the road ahead. After all, it’s easier to gesture in the air than to refocus your eyes on a screen, seek out a button, and reach out to accurately push it.

Piloted parking

First demonstrated by Volvo a few years ago, piloted parking – a concept in which a driver gets dropped off by their car while the vehicle autonomously ventures forth to find a parking spot and waits for the driver to call the car back via smart phone – is now becoming a hot topic for automakers.

VW is no different. While some of its models will already use sensors and cameras to assist drivers in parking in a tight spot, VW is now showing a car that will – as mentioned above – will park itself in a familiar, mapped parking lot.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Home Theater

Plex is the latest player to contemplate the subscription streaming game

With massive reach thanks to its client app being supported virtually every media device on the planet, Plex is now looking at the future of its media curation platform. A future that may include free and subscription services.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.