It's an exciting time to be an automotive journalist and car reviewer, but it's an even better time to be an automotive consumer. The pace of technological innovation is accelerating flat out in such areas as advanced powertrains, convenience features, driver assist technologies and in-vehicle infotainment. Much of the recent uptick in automotive innovation is driven by the rapid pace of consumer electronics development, such as we see on display every January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. And that's why Edmunds and CES have teamed up this year to create the Edmunds CES Tech Driven Awards.
The Tech Driven Awards focus on new vehicles and systems that are available this year and that were developed and brought to market by automakers represented at this year's show. But the most powerful ideas aren't merely future concepts; they're fully baked products that consumers can actually buy and benefit from during their daily drive. These are vehicles or technologies that our editors have been able to drive and experience for themselves during the run-up to the show.
All told, there are seven categories that make up the Edmunds CES Tech Driven Awards.
The Most Innovative Car, Most Innovative Truck and Most Innovative SUV of the Year are given to specific 2018 model-year vehicles that bring an array of advanced technology features to consumers, and do so in a way that makes them easy to use. Availability is important, so we look favorably on applications that are associated with affordably priced products, not just top-level flagship models.
Our Most Innovative Automaker award goes to the manufacturer that shows a strong commitment to advanced technology development and implementation. Such an automaker is typically among the first to bring innovative features to market with an eye toward making them available across its entire product line. We also consider the ease of use and desirability of the automaker's features and systems.
Two awards are related to specific areas of rapid automotive technological advancement. Our Most Innovative Driver Assist Feature award goes to the feature or system that best improves the ease, efficiency or safety of the driving experience. The Most Innovative Infotainment System award is given to the most advanced new entertainment and information system that best integrates the outside world of consumer electronics into the cockpit.
But there's one more award to hand out, and it could be the most exciting. You almost never see the Next Big Thing before it arrives, and any number of automotive features we take for granted started out as futuristic concepts. For those potentially groundbreaking ideas that reveal themselves here at the show, we have the Hackomotive Award. The winner of this award is selected after our editors have had a chance to wander the halls and take in everything this year's massive CES show has to offer.
Congratulations to the following inaugural 2018 recipients of the Edmunds CES Tech Driven Awards.
As we progress toward fully autonomous vehicles, one automaker has pulled ahead of the pack: Audi. With the 2018 A8's Level 3 automated system about to hit the road and its history of innovation, Audi looks to maintain this lead for a while.
Our future mobility is best sustained on diversified, renewable fuel sources. The 2018 Honda Clarity is one of the best embodiments today of how innovative design can provide real flexibility and forward-thinking transportation solutions.
Trucks are a demanding crucible for hardware and software alike. Yet the 2018 Ford F-150 offers many advanced driver assistance features, and its adaptive powertrain calibration and Sync 3 infotainment system enhance an already sophisticated truck.
Few compact SUVs offer advanced driver assistance and active safety features at an affordable price. Only one includes deftly balanced ride and handling, class-leading fuel economy, and a large and clever storage space.
Porsche's InnoDrive combines adaptive cruise with predictive powertrain control.
The Audi MMI system provides a clean, contemporary high-tech experience that's full-featured but easy to use. It also keeps distraction to minimum and pairs with Audi's Virtual Cockpit to create a cabin with unrivaled integration.
Edmunds presents the inaugural Hackomotive Award from the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show to the Toyota e-Palette concept.