There is also concern that loading smart cars with even more navigation features, cloud-linked data services and social media functions will only increase distracted driving. But those features are also seen as desirable, because as cars drive themselves more, drivers will need to be entertained. Android apps in the new OAA alliance will soon be competing with apps under the iOS in the Car standard announced by Apple last summer.
BMW's i3 electric production car, available in the second quarter 2014 with a list price starting at $41,350, can already link with driver smartphones via the BMW i Remote app, sharing info on battery charge, whether doors are open or closed and other vehicle features. In a spin on this, still at the concept stage, BMW and Samsung showed how the phone maker's Galaxy Gear smartwatch can link to the i3 and display information on drivers' wrists, allowing them to command the car's horn to sound if they've lost their i3 in a large parking lot.
If CES 2014 is anything to judge by, cars are getting increasingly connected to drivers and increasingly autonomous. This new relationship between car and driver evokes many science-fiction scenarios, but if you ask automotive insiders when the future of completely self-driving cars will arrive, don't hold your breath.
BMW's Frickenstein answered that with a laugh. "Ask me in 10 years," he said.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.