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Vehicle technology is now a major part of the CES 2020 in Las Vegas this year.  CES promo pieces, encourage attendees “to go full gearhead to discover a full car show inside a technology show.” The first days of this massive trade exhibition give a glimpse into changes in mobility, automobiles and technology.

“Over the last few years CES has evolved into one of the most important gatherings for automotive and mobility executives, supplanting many of the more traditional automotive shows and proving to be a terrific forum for launching new innovations and meeting with technology start-ups,” says Brian Collie, BCG’s Global Automotive and Mobility Leader. 

“The automotive mobility industry is in the midst of the greatest disruption it has seen in well over 100 years and for traditional automakers and suppliers to survive they will need to be much more nimble in embracing new technologies and innovating their business models, a tall task for companies burdened with the need to meet daily production targets and quarterly financial targets.” 

Collie is excited to be speaking at CES because, he says: “the energy is palpable, I always meet interesting people, and I always learn something new.”

Dazzling Media Daze

During the media days there was a major announcement from Qualcomm the company that dominates the wireless space with chips that pack efficiency.

Qualcomm has been quietly testing autonomous vehicles for years in San Diego, says Anshuman Saxena, Director, Product Management and Product Line Manager at Qualcomm.

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Qualcomm announced an open end-to-end autonomous, telematics, infotainment, cloud-connected and safety system platform using its chips that allows OEMs to customise it for their needs.

I’m scheduled to for a ride in one of their vehicles on Wednesday and I’ll compare it to previous rides in self-driving cars in previous CES visits. 

Hyundai is going into more spaces including the air space with a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV). Hyundai announced it is partnering with Uber for air taxis. The air taxi is huge and hovers over the entire Hyundai booth. The PAVs are uber popular, proven by the number of phones held in the air for photos and selfies.


CES Great Expectations

The smartphone experience has shaped the expectations of users.

“CES illustrates the convergence of consumer tech design and automotive,” says Chris Schreiner, Director, UX Innovation at Strategy Analytics.

“Consumers are expecting more personable technology from their cars, and expecting them to keep up with smartphones and other consumer electronics. They want quick, easy, and reliable access to their content across their devices, and therefore are expecting greater connectivity options in their next vehicle.”

Car connectivity is getting more sophisticated in order to make lives easier. 

Mike Radomiski, Global Director, Strategy & Advanced Marketing – Connected Car Division at HARMAN International, says: “We want to help elevate the number of experiences per mile, to extend the work and work experiences into the car, makes lives richer.”

He says the HARMAN Ignite Marketplace, brings together media, messenger, POI and productivity. Using a voice interface reduces distractions. To illustrate how it works, an actress plays a mother who is going to pick up the kids.

The boss calls and tells her increase the sales quota. She asks “What clients are nearby?”

The car shows clients nearby, connects in the cloud and to their schedules. Then it schedules appointments. To get ready for her appointment, she asks “Where is the nearest Starbucks?” and then pays for the coffee from the dash.


Continental also understands the importance of consumer-focused automotive interfaces.

Nikolai Setzer, member of the executive board Continental’s automotive divisions, says: “We’ve seen over the last decades, that consumer electronics is merging with automotive products. It is getting more and more importance for consumers. It means consumer electronic software is core competence we need as an automotive supplier.”

New Vehicle Experiences and Intros

CES is also proving to be ‘the place’ to introduce new vehicles.

Henrik Fisker is revealing the Fisker Ocean to the public for the first time. The Ocean and Henrik Fisker were drawing crowds on the CES show floor.

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CES is an ideal place to to show the Fisker Ocean says Natasha Fisker marketing manager for Fisker Inc., who notes that Fisker Inc. is digital car company.

BYTON in a media event on Sunday – revealed the production ready version of M-Byte and is showing hourly live demos of the ‘Your Platform for Life’ user experience.

On the Vegas Strip and in the other halls of CES there are a plethora of large screens. No other audience except for CES would fully appreciate the 48 inch screen of the BYTON M-Byte.

The humongous  screen is not distracting explains Mark Duchesne, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at BYTON, “Whatever the driver needs is right in the driver’s screen right on the wheel. You don’t have to look over to the side or down. The information you need is right in your field of vision.”

He notes that old the great stuff the screen can do doesn’t do it while driving but is great to watch while charging.

Partnerships and long lines abound in the North Automotive Hall at CES. Daimler is partnering with the movie industry. Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG in a keynote address talked about the movie ‘Back to the Future’ when introducing The VISION AVTR inspired by the movie ‘Avatar.

The longest line was waiting to see a demo of the concept car that has a multifunctional control element in the center console that allows human and machine to merge. By placing the hand on the control unit, the interior comes to life and the vehicle recognizes the driver by his or her heartbeat and breathing.

Inspiriert Von Der Zukunft: Das Mercedes Benz Vision Avtr Inspired By The Future: The Mercedes Benz Vision Avtr

Atonis Smiley one of the designers of VISION AVTR chatted with excited fans. He says that driving it is more immersive and passionate like riding a horse. The vehicle connects with the driver and vice a versa. I would love to have seen the demo closer however the queue was way too long.

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Meanwhile, when I talk to people who live in Las Vegas and see all the news stories about CES, they say they would like to go, they would surely wait in lines.

The public is welcome to attend the LA Auto Show, New York Auto Show, and the North American International Auto Show while CES is for trade and media only.

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