It has four wheels, is always connected and the driver is optional: the car of the future is starting to take shape from collaboration between automakers and their technology partners.

At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a new breed of cars with nearly complete autonomy and elaborate gadgetry has provided a peek into transportation solutions in the coming years.

One of the most ambitious of the prototypes on display comes from German auto giant Daimler (IW 1000/16), which rolled its electric-powered Mercedes-Benz F 015 through the streets of Las Vegas without a driver to show how four occupants can converse face-to-face while leaving the driving to an on-board computer.

The interactivity extends beyond the vehicle itself: the car can project a virtual crosswalk to assist pedestrians in its path.

"Obviously we talked about autonomous cars before. We have shown that we can do it and we dominate the technology" Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said in an interview with AFP.

"But now this is more than technology. We want to show where mobility goes all together and the two most important things that we're giving people back: space and time. So they can focus on whatever they want to do, working, relaxing, video conferencing, sleeping."