Back to the future at CES in Las Vegas
Honda’s 3E Robotics Concept will offer a bevy of bots that could function as personal assistants.
The new year has arrived, and with it comes the migration of tens of thousands of tech engineers, executives, analysts, media and other industry watchers to Las Vegas for the largest tech trade show of the year — CES. The show runs from Jan. 9 to 12.
While auto shows are the primary platform for manufacturers to show off their latest vehicles and detail short-term product plans, CES has become the forum for bombastic announcements on future technology.
In 2017, we saw Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Portal minivan concept and Toyota Motor Co.’s artificial intelligent assistant Yui, along with a string of announcements of partnerships between tech and auto companies.
This year, Ford, Nvidia, Intel and Baidu are expected to make announcements at the show, though the companies have been tight-lipped about their plans.
In the meantime, here is what we know to expect at CES 2018.
Honda 3E Robotics Concept
The Japanese giant is no stranger to humanoid robots and will showcase a bevy of bots that look pulled right out of a Pixar film. The 3E Concept — for “empower, experience, empathy” — looks like it will be more focused on robots as personal assistants than in automotive capacities. One of the robots, however, is an autonomous off-roader concept, designed to “support people in a broad range of work activities.”
Mercedes’ infotainment system, shown in the A class, will use artificial intelligence.
Mercedes-Benz’s new infotainment system
Mercedes-Benz will debut an infotainment system for its compact cars. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, will utilize artificial intelligence and be included in vehicles on sale as early as this year. The luxury carmaker also will bring the Concept EQA electric hatchback, the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo city car concept and the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar to Las Vegas.
Rinspeed’s Snap Mobility allows different bodies to be “snapped” onto a platform.
Swiss company Rinspeed has shown off some kind of out-there concepts at CES in the past, and this year will be no different. The company will show off its Snap Mobility concept, which has a bunch of different body types that can be “snapped” onto a platform. The platform, called a skateboard, will hold the computing system and parts such as the powertrain, but the upper “pod” will be interchangeable. And, of course, the concept will be electric and autonomous.
Toyota’s open-source entertainment platform
Toyota will showcase its Linux-based infotainment platform that will be included in the 2018 Camry. Automotive Grade Linux is an open-source project by The Linux Foundation, which is the official authority of one of the foundational programming languages for modern computing.
Faurecia self-driving vehicle interior
Faurecia will display a concept interior for self-driving vehicles in a modified Renault Espace minivan. The seats will have biometric sensors to monitor the passengers’ health. A dashboard screen will display videos and other infotainment options when the vehicle is in self-driving mode. And a control panel on the armrest will allow the driver to operate infotainment, climate control and other cockpit functions.
Nissan’s autonomous electric concept
The Japanese automaker will bring the IMx concept, which it unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, to the U.S. for the first time. The crossover is a preview of Nissan’s plans for mobility technology and is intended to be self-driving with at least 373 miles of battery range. Nissan also will showcase the second-generation 2018 all-electric Leaf.
Byton’s first vehicle introduction
After Faraday Future’s failed autonomous parking demo last year, expectations may be pretty low for Chinese EV startups showing at CES. However, Byton, a startup from Nanjing, China, run by two German automotive veterans, is hoping to change perceptions with the unveiling of its first vehicle, an all-electric crossover due in 2019. The company also will announce its partner for developing Level 4 autonomous driving, which requires no human supervision under defined conditions.
David Sedgwick contributed to this report.