Automotive Highlights from CES 2020

by Michael Satterfield

The Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, CES started out as a tradeshow in back in the 60s where you could find the latest gadgets and pocket radios for your independent electronic store. But by the 2000s it became like many big tradeshows, a massive media event and as electronics began being more integral to the automotive space, more car brands started showing at CES, technically making it the first Auto Show of the year in North America and a place where many concepts make their debut.

From Uber Air-Taxis to headless humanoid robots that we will likely have to fight off in a future war, here are some of the highlights from automakers at CES 2020.


AUDI:

 The fully automated Audi AI:ME is being touted as a third living space, as you can see in the picture above the driver and passenger, or are they both passengers, have on VR goggles which allow the passengers to avoid interacting with reality in any way shape or form. Are you tired of driving past the homeless encampments in Los Angeles or San Francisco? Don't worry, instead of dealing with reality you can be on a virtual drive through the Swiss Alps until you get to the safety of your gated community.


BMW:

BMW continued the theme of taking normal words and put a lowercase letter i in front of it, thus making it much cooler and then it was previously. The most interesting display of this is the "BMW i Interaction EASE." BMW's autonomous mobility system with a mock-up of their vision of autonomous vehicle transportation in the near future. Like most autonomous mobility fantasies BMW sees a future where models will be driven in luxury lounges through soulless dystopic cities.

The new iNEXT 5G capability which will become standard in future BMW models "paves the way to the next level of control inside the vehicle and beyond" and will be a major component of the BMW i Interaction EASE features.

The Bavarian automaker also declared that the i3 was the "iconic ambassador for electric driving pleasure, sustainability and intelligent connectivity in urban areas." To showcase this BMW is having 20 special i3 "Urban Suites" are being used as taxis, anyone can use the special app and summon a driver for a ride while they are at CES.


FIAT:

Making its North American debut the Fiat Centoventi Concept which outlines the brand's vision for their electric vehicles of the future. The car's modular design means that customers can customize everything from the interior and exterior panels to the battery pack/range of the car. The car also has been designed to integrate with social media and car-sharing platforms. With a maximum range of 300 miles, we could expect to see a number of really interesting EV options from FCA on the market.


FISKER:

Fisker is back with an all-new, all-electric SUV called the Fisker Ocean. The company is claiming a 200-mile range on a 30-minute charge and the largest charging network in America thanks to Electrified America. They also claim to have a patent-pending "California Mode" which will allow "passengers to experience the sun, fresh air, and an open feeling without being in a convertible." It sounds like they have a big sunroof and that "California Mode" is a setting that opens the sunroof and rolls down the windows.


FORD:

Keeping with the theme of a humanless future, Ford showcased its latest robots from Agility which Ford is hoping will be used in conjunction with autonomous vans to deliver packages and other products and services. The humanoid robot could be dropping off packages at your door sometime in the near future. I can't wait to get pulled over by the Police Interceptor version driving a Mach E.


HONDA:

Honda introduced an Augmented Driving Concept which it hopes will help ease the transition towards autonomous vehicles. Honda's system will allow drivers to still feel like they are driving but be in standby mode ready to intervene and control the vehicle if needed. The steering wheels in the concept is more like the yoke on an aircraft, in addition to controlling steering, pulling the steering wheel towards you, and the vehicle will slow down; push the steering wheel in to accelerate.

Honda also had a number of interesting displays in the Honda Innovation Pavillion from swappable battery packs for electric cars to new smartphone technology.


HYUNDAI:

Hyundai like all carmakers is trying to brand itself a "mobility company" but instead of electric scooters or investing venture capital in an ambiguous mobility startup, they decided to unveil a full-size aviation concept that is a mix between an Osprey and a Bell 206. The Hyundai S-A1was unveiled in partnership with Uber who plans to use the all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft concept in their future air taxi business, which is set to begin commercial flights in 2023. With seating for four passengers, Hyundai claims it will have a range of 60 miles and a top speed of 180 mph.


JEEP:

Three all-new electrified vehicles from the Jeep brand will carry the "4XE" badge. The plug-in hybrids are the first for the Jeep brand's plan to offer hybrid and electric options on all models by 2022. Externally there is no difference from the gas and diesel counterparts, and according to Jeep, the new 4XE models will still have the brand's legendary offroad capabilities.


KARMA:

California carmaker Karma had seven vehicles on display, including collaborations with Panasonic, Amazon, and even Blackberry (yeah Blackberry is still a thing). What doesn't seem to be on display anywhere is the recently unveiled Karma SC2, but you can check out the roofless SC1 at the Panasonic booth.


MERCEDES-BENZ:

Mercedes-Benz decided to release VISION AVTR a virtual concept inspired by the film AVATAR and was designed in conjunction with the film production team. Literally, everything about this concept is fictional from its organic battery technology to the "bionic flaps" which Mercedes says would be used to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians "through naturally flowing movements in subtle gestures." Someone may want to let Ola Källenius know that drivers are already using subtle gestures to communicate.


NISSAN:

Nissan featured its Ariya Concept, the all-electric crossover that is more realistic than most of the concepts shown at CES. Their booth also featured their new Formula E car and LEAF e+ vehicles including a zero-emissions ice cream truck.


SONY:

Sony unveiled the electronics company's first car the Vision-S, the all-electric sedan features a new EV platform, which would be able to support other body styles. Sony hasn't given any details on if the car is planned for production or just a platform for testing their sensor and vehicle technology, but it was one of the biggest surprises to come out of CES.


TOYOTA:

Toyota announced the LQ, a concept vehicle they claims builds an emotional bond between car and driver. The concept is equipped with automated driving capabilities and AI system they call “Yui,”  designed to learn from the driver and personalize each driving experience. The styling looks like an odd mix of the Toyota Mirai, McLaren Senna, and a Subaru SVX.

Via newpressUSA

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