CES Las Vegas: Tech Shift To Bits And Bytes

    The automotive highlights of the CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. Matching the location, the manufacturers offer a lot of bling-bling.

    At the place where the first video recorder was shown more than 50 years ago and where the DVD also began its triumphal march, the big car manufacturers are exceptionally only in the second row. No wonder – at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the gambling metropolis Las Vegas from January 5th to 8th, the big stages naturally belonged to the leading suppliers of entertainment electronics. And yet the world’s most important meeting point for the industry is becoming increasingly important for car manufacturers. While performance and luxury were the main focus at the traditional car shows of the past, today digital competence and the ability to drive autonomously decide who gets the worldwide attention.

    Sony Enters The Car Industry

    It is therefore all the more fitting that one of the most exciting car premieres at this year’s CES could be admired at the stand of consumer electronics giant Sony. Together with the car manufacturer Honda, a new premium brand for electric cars was announced. Under the name Afeela, a 4.90 meter long sedan is to be launched in the USA from 2026, which should primarily impress in terms of connectivity, self-driving technology and the seamless integration of the infotainment system. Whether the Japanese, who only finally gave the green light for their entry as a car manufacturer in 2022, will expand to Europe in the medium term is still up in the air. From today’s perspective, it seems almost certain that Apple has long since been chosen as the main competitor alongside the US industry leader Tesla. The iPhone producers from California were the big absentees in Las Vegas, but had recently announced the market launch of the long-awaited Apple car for 2026.

    The VW ID.7, which was also presented at CES, is likely to poach in the same segment as the upcoming Sony electric car. In addition to a range of up to 700 kilometers, Volkswagen promised a revised operating system, but was otherwise stingy with details on the electric Passat counterpart. Rather, the focus in Las Vegas was on the luminous camouflage paintwork of the ID.7, which was applied in a whopping 40 layers and led to a real wow effect: when energized, the outer skin of the ID.7, which is divided into 22 segments, lights up like the proverbial Christmas tree.

    iVision Dee – Varnish with color change:

    It quickly became clear at the BMW stand that this year’s CES was not about displacement and horsepower either: the i Vision Dee concept vehicle shown there also has an exterior paint finish with a color change function. Thanks to the advanced e-ink technology, a total of 32 different colors can be displayed if desired – with the difference that the Bavarian chameleon only uses electrical energy when changing color. The interior of the BMW study is much closer to reality. Here, an advanced head-up display replaces all touch displays. This technology, with the help of which relevant information is projected across the entire width of the windscreen, is expected to come onto the market in the “new class” as early as 2025 and ensure a better overview and safety when operating the countless functions.

    Stellantis was also represented at the CES with selected brands. While the Peugeot Inception Concept, trimmed for maximum sportiness, with its 680 hp gave a glimpse of the futuristic design and the new electric platform of the French brand, the sister brand RAM was more in the foreground for the US trade fair visitors. The RAM Revolution Concept is the preliminary version of the RAM 1500 BEV series pick-up with a purely electric drive that is expected for 2024 and is intended to compete primarily against the Ford F-150 in the USA in the future.

    Mercedes-Benz was represented in Nevada without its own concept vehicle. As part of a presentation, the Stuttgart-based company announced that it would set up its own global ultra-fast charging network. The construction of the 350-kilowatt columns for internal and external customers will therefore begin in the USA.

    The trend away from pure machine builders towards digital IT companies can also be seen among automotive suppliers. Above all, the company ZF presented itself in Las Vegas as fit for the future and, together with the US mobility service provider Beep, presented an autonomous shuttle bus for 22 passengers, which is to be used as a means of transport in thousands of large American cities in the near future. Radar, lidar and cameras as well as sophisticated noise detection should help with orientation. There is no longer a steering wheel or pedals, and the range of the “People Mover” is around 130 kilometers, according to the manufacturer.

    Morphing Surfaces For Efficiency And Functionality

    The Austro-Canadian group Magna also used the CES stage to showcase future-oriented solutions. One of the highlights of the Magna booth was the first public demonstration of morphing surfaces, shown alongside the “Mezzo Plus front panel”. This aerodynamic system can change and adapt a vehicle’s exterior shape to improve efficiency and functionality. The company also unveiled a new SmartAccess solution that eliminates the B-pillar and improves access to the vehicle interior.

    Modern Mobility Services From Bosch

    Bosch, among other things, also wants to get into the field of modern mobility services. The Stuttgart company presented the “Ride Care Companion” interior monitoring system for commercial driving services and robotaxis. The mix of e-call emergency call and dash cam uses a camera to monitor the vehicle interior and saves images in the cloud in the event of an unusual event. A voice and video connection to a call center employee can also be established via an SOS button.

    The chip manufacturers established in the field of entertainment electronics also became the focus of interest at this year’s CES. The new Snapdragon Ride Flex chip from the manufacturer Qualcomm should be available in the first vehicles from 2025 and act as the central interface in the vehicle.

    This article is originally published on

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