Calling All Auto Parts Specialists: 3 New Technologies Revealed at the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) has long been the playground of tech nerds eager to get their hands on the latest phones, TVs, and gadgetry before they hit store shelves. In recent years, though, car companies have taken on much more prominence at CES, using it as an opportunity for showing off the ways they’re integrating technology into new models to take the driving experience even better.

The 2017 edition of CES was a particularly interesting one for fans of cars and car technology. Here’s a look at some of the interesting stuff that car companies were showing off.

1. Future Auto Parts Specialists: Toyota Wants “Yui” to Be Your Best Friend

Toyota’s take on the future of cars includes the Concept-i—a car that focuses on helping human drivers do better behind the wheel, instead of on replacing them altogether.

Toyota explains that the Concept-i will be home to an AI assistant named Yui, who will interact with the driver and take proactive steps to ensure the driving experience goes as well as it can. If it notices the driver is upset, tired, or distracted, it will take steps to ensure the driver’s attention returns to the road or else take over driving for a while.

This is just a concept, and it would take a lot of advanced sensors to make this kind of system work anyway, so there’s no telling whether anything remotely like the Concept-i will ever be made. If nothing else, it’s at least an interesting look at where auto tech could go.

2. Auto Parts Specialists Might Think the Hyundai Ioniq Looks Like a Regular Car, But it Has a Secret

If you look at the Ioniq that Hyundai was showing off at CES and aren’t impressed, that’s okay—it’s a pretty regular looking car. That’s actually part of what makes it so interesting, since it’s secretly got advanced sensors hidden in its body.

Meant to show off the potential for affordable self-driving vehicle technology, the Ioniq packs a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensor under its bumper. LIDAR shoots out infrared light and then analyzes the way it bounces off of nearby objects to determine how near those objects are. By hiding the LIDAR underneath the bumper in such an affordable car, Hyundai’s showing off a look at what you can expect to see as an auto parts specialist once this technology becomes widely adopted.

3. Hey, Alexa! Amazon’s Voice Control Service Is Getting Thrown Into Tons of Cars

A lot of people are familiar with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant/Now, but Canadians haven’t really gotten a chance to check out Amazon’s offering for the voice control space: Alexa. Alexa is the voice assistant that was formerly only found in Amazon’s Echo speakers, and can perform thousands of different functions—everything from telling you the weather, to ordering pizza, and beyond. Now, Ford is looking to make Alexa a part of the driving experience.

What’s she doing in cars? Pretty much the same thing as before, according to Ford. If you encounter Alexa-enabled cars after auto service college, you can expect them to offer hands-free music selection, to relay information about weather and traffic, and even to talk to smart gadgets drivers have at home. As more and more things get connected to the internet, the potential this technology offers is huge. It will make cars a bit more like a home away from home.

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Including Alexa in cars could help drivers focus on the road

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