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Bosch to Demonstrate "Personal Assistant" In-Car Technologies at CES

When the entire dashboard is a touchscreen.

As autonomous cars approach showrooms, automakers are beginning to rethink what a car interior needs to look like. Mercedes-Benz already envisions lounge-like cabins for its self-driving cars, and the Volvo Concept 26 shows how the Swedish manufacturer would reconfigure the interiors of self-driving vehicles. Technical supplier Bosch has its own ideas for the car interior of the future, which the company plans to highlight next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In the Bosch concept car, the entire dashboard and center console have been turned into giant touchscreen interfaces. The screens feature haptic feedback so drivers can "feel" buttons and operate some functions without looking away from the road. Bosch envisions this interface working as a personal assistant, for instance instantly providing directions to the next appointment on the driver's calendar, or allowing the driver to administer their home climate control system while on the road. The company even envisions a feature that would allow drivers to remotely unlock their front door so a delivery driver could leave a package inside.

If that sounds distracting, the good news is that the Bosch concept features an autopilot system. Bosch is already testing its own autopilot software Tesla Model S prototypes in Germany, the U.S., and Japan, and expects such systems to be available to the public by 2020. In this concept vehicle, a cloud-connected service will also allow cars to transmit information about road conditions, such as accidents or wrong-way drivers, so cars can "see around bends" and slow down proactively.

Finally, the Bosch concept has a feature called automated valet parking. On reaching his or her destination, the driver simply exits the vehicle, and the car drives itself to find a nearby parking spot. While it sounds like a fanciful feature, Audi, Ford, and Volvo have all demonstrated autonomous-parking concepts.

While some of these innovations sound far-fetched now, expect to see Bosch or other automakers integrate them into future vehicles over the coming decade.

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