The best new technology we saw at the show came from Kia, with its "Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving" tech, or READ.
READ scans passengers in the car, detecting their heart rate and facial expressions, to provide a more customizable driving experience tailored around how you're feeling.
Cars are soon going to be able to drive themselves - and that means automakers can start designing vehicles that don't need steering wheels, or even traditional seats for that matter.At CES, the biggest annual tech show in the world, we saw lots of car companies presenting their ideas for what driverless cars could look like, or do.
But the coolest car concept we saw at CES 2019, and easily the best new technology we glimpsed at the show, is what Kia calls "real-time emotion adaptive driving," or READ.
READ, which was co-developed by Kia and researchers from MIT, uses artificial intelligence to customize the in-car experience based on the passenger’s emotional state.
The car can monitor heart rate and read facial expressions, and it uses that data to adjust the lighting and sounds in the car to complement your mood.
If you’re tired, or stressed, for example, Kia’s READ system could dim the lighting and turn on some relaxing music.
Kia’s READ system is totally hands free — but if you want to control it, you don’t need to reach for a physical display.
The car has interior cameras to watch your eyes and hands, so you can perform finger gestures to change different aspects of the car, like temperature, lighting, and entertainment.
To make the car even more immersive, the seats can vibrate and move in rhythm with whatever songs you’re playing.
The seats also have a massage function as well, in case you need help getting more comfortable.
What it is: The Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving system, or READ
Who makes it: Kia, based in Seoul, with help from MIT researchers
Why it's the best: Self-driving technology is cool, but the freedom it provides inside the car is even cooler. And while we saw lots of automakers playing with the concept of modular seating, no other company embraced the in-car experience like Kia. If you find driving at all stressful, Kia's READ hopes to provide the opposite experience by scanning your bio-signals to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Where and when you can get it: The READ system is currently in its "concept" stage, so the name and appearance are likely to change if and when Kia decides to use this technology in a real car.
How much it will cost: We don't know the price of the READ system just yet, but don't expect it to be cheap — if we ever see it hit the road. Given all of the high-tech sensors, cameras and screens packed inside this concept, we'd expect any Kia car with the READ system to be a premium offering.