Editor's choice
12 jan 18

CES 2018: hotter than NAIAS for car innovations

Traditional motor shows seem to be losing ground to fairs that focus on a wider, innovation-inspired theme altogether: intelligent connected technology. In Europe, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is competing with Frankfurt, Paris and Geneva. In the USA, the Las Vegas CES is stealing NAIAS’ thunder.

There is no denying that innovative cars have become one of the major reasons to visit CES over the past three years. Not only OEMs, but many other companies showcase their vision on tomorrow’s mobility, which everyone believes to be autonomous and electric, with digital PAs becoming the new human-machine interfaces and a 5G network opening up a plethora of new services.

Byton: BMW i-infused Chinese e-SUV

We haven’t heard the last of the Chinese. Byton is yet another brand-new carmaker from the People’s Republic – and yet again one that involves experts from a German premium OEM, in this case BMW. It revealed a prototype of an all-electric SUV with level 4 autonomy in Vegas. Will it fare better than the Faraday Future?

Fisker EMotion: Henrik is back

Fisker has risen from its ashes. The prematurely deceased plug-in hybrid Karma gets a successor in the shape of this EMotion, an all-electric Tesla Model S rival. Founder Henrik Fisker promises 640 km of range, 200 km of which can be charged in just 9 minutes thanks to a solid-state lithium ion battery.

Hyundai Nexo: hydrogen 2.0

Next to Toyota and Honda, the South Korean car maker Hyundai is an equally strong believer in hydrogen-based electric mobility. This Nexo is the successor to the ix35 FCEV and features autonomous driving tech, an enhanced powertrain and better packaging for the hydrogen tanks.

Hyundai-Soundhound personal assistant

Forget about conventional human-machine interfaces: with autonomous driving becoming reality, digital personal assistants will rule the cockpit. Hyundai and Soundhound developed a so-called Intelligent Personal Agent that not only listens to the driver, but also acts proactively.

KIA Niro EV: a mini Tesla Model X

Hyundai gets an electric version of the B SUV model Kona, sister brand KIA wraps its Niro-body around the shared lithium-ion battery pack and powertrain. The CES prototype also features level 4 self-driving capabilities and V2X technology allowing it to communicate with its surroundings.

Lexus LS 600h L Platform 3.0: Audi A8 killer

Audi rushed to become the first OEM selling a level 3 autonomous car, i.e. the new A8, but Toyota is stepping up the game with the Lexus LS 600 h L featuring ‘Platform 3.0’. 360-degree Lidar technology with a 200-metre range combined with more sensors allow full autonomy – at least by 2020, when the first vehicles will be produced and used during the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mercedes MBUX: Nvidia-powered intelligent infotainment

Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is the name of the next-gen connected infotainment system that the OEM will be introducing in its vehicles already this year. AI and deep learning promise a revolution in how you interact with your Merc, which will respond to your every wish expressed vocally.

Nissan Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V): reading your mind

Autonomous vehicle tech is one thing, the interaction between vehicle and human another. Nissan has developed a system that analyses brain waves to proactively respond to the driver’s intentions, saving 0.25 to 0.5 seconds in reaction time whilst driving in manual mode.

Rinspeed Snap: Swiss army knife

Would it not be great to have a vehicle that can adapt to the situation and specific needs of the moment? Swiss Porsche and Subaru tuner Rinspeed presents the Snap at CES 2018, a level 5 autonomous vehicle with interchangeable bodies, or ‘pods’. When not attached to the chassis, these can also be used as office space, pop-up store, sleeping unit or storage.

Toyota e-Palette: driverless deliveries

The Japanese OEM has developed a platform for autonomous vehicles that can also be used by other car makers. In fact, the system is flexible enough to allow sharing by different operators offering very different services. Pizza Hut, Amazon, Uber and Didi have already officially shown interested in Toyota’s e-Palette, which will be available in three sizes.

Valeo: low-voltage EV-for-2

French automotive tech supplier Valeo came to Las Vegas to show its vision of an affordable electric city car for two. Interestingly, the two-seater uses a 48V architecture instead of a conventional high-voltage one to save production costs. China is the market Valeo is eyeing, but it won’t be building the car itself. Instead, it is looking for local production partners.     

Volkswagen-Nvidia-Uber build self-driving cars together

VW will be working together with Nvidia and Uber to take a leading position in the self-driving arena. Facial recognition, gesture recognition, voice control and gaze tracking are amongst the promising capabilities of the Nvidia-built AI platform, which is likely to be introduced on the electric I.D. range in 2020.


Authored by: Dieter Quartier