Apps to control cars of the future

DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 09:55 10/01/2013
Fairfax Australia

Cars controlled by smartphones are part of a raft of new car-related features at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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Valet parking could soon be done by your phone. 

Drivers might be able to hand over control to smartphone apps and WiFi parking programs within a few years.

Audi has shown off technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today that allows cars to drive, find a space and park at the touch of a button - all from outside the car.

Designers have examined the possibility of radical changes to automotive lighting.

The luxury car maker says the technology will be in cars by 2020.

The “piloted driving feature” is not yet available in production cars, but has been tested and is expected in showrooms within years.

Audi promises to take the hassle out of parking at shopping centres, though a system in which “the parking facility’s central computer takes over part of the control function and guides the vehicle via WLAN to the nearest available parking space”.

The feature may not be a hit with nervous luxury car owners who already twitch at the sight of a hotel valet.

Audi also teased drivers with footage of its piloted driving system taking over in heavy traffic, allowing commuters to take their hands off the wheel and relax while their car tackles rush hour.

The prototype system differs from existing driver aids in that it can steer the car to an extent.

Designers have also shown off OLED tail-lights which “flicker like a swarm of fish” – or possibly a school of bees – that follow the movement of the vehicle and give following drivers a better indication of what is happening up ahead.

Another feature under consideration will let tailgaters know when they have crossed the line.

The fan-shaped laser tail light will project a mark onto the road which, according to Audi, “prompts the driver behind to maintain sufficient distance – similar to a stop line”.

The brand has not yet said exactly when the new systems will come into effect, but we’re keen to give them a try.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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