LAS VEGAS,Nevada--AOL Autos this week launched a new award, Technology of the Year, which will be given to the company judged by a unique panel to have the best technology application launched in 2012. The award will be given out at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next January.

To help get the program started this week at CES 2012, AOL Autos is offering readers the chance to win a Samsung flat-screen TV and a Roku2, the #1 selling streaming player that allows TV viewers to watch streaming video on their TV. Readers must register at http://autos.aol.com/award/ to accept a free Technology of the Year bi-weekly e-newsletter in order to be eligible for the prize.

A panel of judges that includes editors of AOL news channels: AOL Autos, Autoblog, Engadget, Translogic and Huffington Post, as well as some guest judges, will evaluate technology in the categories of connectivity, telematics and active safety. The technology must satisfy specific criteria, including being made available to the public between September 1, 2011 and September 15, 2012. Finalists in those categories as determined through a unique scoring system will be presented during the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show this November. The overall Technology of the Year winner will be given out at CES 2013.

"AOL Autos is the obvious source to bring together the best and brightest arbiters of automotive and electronic communications hardware into one industry award," explained AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley. "Tapping into the expertise of AOL Autos, Autoblog, and Engadget, and The Huffington Post, AOL is uniquely positioned to evaluate and ultimately name an annual Technology of the Year winner."

New tech brings new controversy

The timing of the award program taps into a convergence of a waterfall of new technology from automakers and their suppliers to turn our vehicles into rolling smartphones and stepped up concern by Federal regulators about distracted driving that could result in a substantial curtailment of technology that is allowed in vehicles.

"The debate over the amount and kind of technology we can and should have in our vehicles is far from over," said Kiley. "As car buyers seek to learn more about how well each new system works, we hope our website, and this new hub of articles and video, will be indispensable to them in helping them make their decisions."

What are examples of technology that AOL will be judging? The connectivity category includes systems like Ford SYNC, Toyota Entune and Cadillac CUE; The telematics group includes systems such as General Motors OnStar, Mercedes-Benz mBrace, and Hyundai BlueLink. The active safety category include systems such as lane-departure-warning and collision mitigation.

Meet the judges

The judging panel includes Kiley, Autoblog editor-in-chief John Neff, Engadget editor-in-chief Tim Stevens, Autoblog senior editor Damon Lavrinc, AOL Autos Tech Editor Jeff Sabatini, and Huffington Post auto industry senior editor Sharon Silke Carty. The judging board also includes Tony Fadell, founder of www.nest.com, who is also the former Apple engineer often referred to as "The Father of the iPod." Author Lauren "The Car Coach" Fix, and Shelby "The Teen Car Coach" Fix are also judges.

Readers of AOL Autos, Autoblog, Translogic and Engadget will also be judges. After announcing finalists at the LA Auto Show, the public will be asked to vote for one of the finalists for the overall top award. The winner of the pubic vote will carry the weight of one judge, explained Kiley. "I know that most of the public will not have tested the technologies themselves, but we want to hear and factor in the voice of the consumer about the idea of the technology based on what they read on our sites," says Kiley.