For two and a half years, engineers at Cisco in San Jose have been working on what they call "smart connected vehicles." They're cars that can talk to each other, using wireless networks. By doing so, the goal is to avoid collisions and to alert drivers of danger ahead.
Some of those issues are being addressed by a new breed of self-driving car. Google has been test driving them in the Bay Area and Nevada. Next week, Toyota and Audi will unveil theirs. But Cisco says there's more to be done.
"Self-driving cars, if it's only a segment of the cars and not all cars, doesn't really solve the problem, but if we enable all cars to be connected and have those self-driving mechanisms build into them, then the future is much closer," said Helder Antunes, from the Cisco Smart Connected Vehicles Initiative.
Cisco has been collaborating with automakers, parts suppliers and government agencies both in the U.S. and Europe. Universal standards will need to be developed. Cisco estimates it could cost $6 to $8 billion to create an intelligent transportation network.
The future of TV will also be in the spotlight at CES. Los Gatos-based Audible Magic will be announcing new partnerships that will test interactive advertising. The technology is able to identify the video and audio of a commercial and then deliver pop-ups to allow consumers to obtain additional product information. The idea is to capitalize on a viewer's interest instantly.
"'That commercial is interesting or they're offering a coupon. Let me take advantage of that coupon offer right now.' It's the immediacy and spontaneity that you're leveraging that people respond to," said Jay Friedman, the marketing vice president from Audible Magic.
So this is a real shift in consumer electronics, using new technology and integrating it into devices we already use.