5350508748_3ae97f4f87_m.jpg If you had a chance to see the stream of headlines from this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, you had to notice a distinct automotive flavor.  The venerable tech industry show, which actually began in 1967 in New York, is held every year in January  -- but this year in some ways, CES almost felt like an early version of the Detroit Auto  Show.

Ford was present in a big way.  Audi was present.   And bloggers and pundits who usually focus on tech were suddenly writing about the automotive industry. 

What’s going on? 

Certainly, pundits say technology has and will continue to affect many parts of our lives  -- and automotive tech is no exception.  There appears to be a general trend towards new and different technologies that affect how cars work (hybrid and electric technology) not to mention how drivers interact with vehicles. 

Car companies also appear to be focused more than ever on technology as a way to drive differentiation.  Car consumers appear to be changing how they evaluate cars, and increasingly they are looking at a car company’s ability to deliver compelling features that make cars more efficient, cheaper (hopefully) and also allow people to stay connected, safe and entertained as part of the overall driving experience.

Tech blogger Robert Scoble was in Las Vegas and spent a lot of time looking into what car companies were up to.  Below is an interesting two-part video from one of his posts from CES.  Here Audi executives sit for lunch and just chat with bloggers about technology, car consumers and what they are planning.  An interesting conversation – and likely only the start of what we’ll be seeing at the intersection of automotive and technology as 2011 unfolds.