LAS VEGAS — The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is overflowing with gadgets that can change a car's radio station with the wave of a hand, monitor a driver's heart rate and charge an electric car using solar power.
But there's something even bigger in the works — nothing less than a redefinition of mobility and the automobile's place in a rapidly changing landscape.
"The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space," said Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche.
Ford President and CEO Mark Fields echoed that sentiment on Tuesday when he told attendees in a keynote address that the Dearborn automaker is "driving innovation in every part of our business to be both a product and mobility company — and ultimately, to change the way the world moves just as our founder Henry Ford did 111 years ago."
He added: "The experiments we're undertaking today will lead to an all-new model of transportation and mobility within the next 10 years and beyond."
A top priority for Ford is to make "the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the masses."
Ford announced its "Smart Mobility" plan at CES, saying it is studying the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.
Many automakers are making significant commitments to connected cars, voice recognition, wearable devices and smartphone apps as the definition of mobility shifts and consumers demand even more high-tech equipment.
While the 2015 Hyundai Genesis may appear to already have a futuristic head-up display, there's an even more sophisticated version in the works from the Korean automaker.
Hyundai showcased a production-ready augmented reality HUD concept that uses animation to describe road conditions ahead.
"On the augmented reality HUD, drivers will see warnings when a car is about to unexpectedly enter their lane, arrows leading to exit ramps, highlighted street signs, Smart Cruise Control distance bars and one-way street markings," it said.
The upgraded HUD is linked to a wearable band. The band vibrates when the lane departure warning system is activated and can also monitor the driver's heart rate and take action in case of an emergency.
The Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept vehicle at CES features an infotainment system that uses gesture control.
"All it takes is a hand movement in the space in front of the Golf's infotainment display to make human and machine interact as one," Volkswagen of America said. "Volkswagen is thereby extending touchscreen operation into a third dimension."
Another VW concept, the Connected Golf, is laden with apps, smartphones and tablets designed to show the "maximum networking potential of the car."
Edmunds says: The 2015 CES Show is providing a look into the future of the automobile, something that's just beyond the horizon for today's car shoppers.