High-tech cars steal the show at CES consumer electronics extravaganza

The annual CES Electronics Show in Las Vegas has long been a fantastic country for HDTVs, drones, video games and audio devices, but in recent years it has also become a place where you can see the latest in high-tech automotive technology.

In all, more than a dozen new production and concept cars debuted at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, including some from as far away as Turkey and Vietnam. There is a lot of news about autonomous vehicles, the latest infotainment programs for cars and “nose robots” that can help create “superhumans” factory workers.

Here are some of the most significant CES news from the automotive front:

Electrification

It’s a high-profile word at CES this year, and, with one exception, every new concept car and production model on display is exclusively electric.

GM’s Chevrolet Silverado EV is a big draw. It will go on sale in 2023 and will be an alternative to General Motors ’best-selling battery-powered product. Some may be surprised that at 664 horsepower and 780 pound-feet of torque, the electric pickup has much more power than the top V-8 Silverado.

Power reserve is considered one of the biggest problems for widespread EV, but the Mercedes-Benz EQXX concept suggests that next-generation electric vehicles will address distance concerns – and then some. The sleek prototype gets 625 miles on a single charge, and its batteries are 50 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than the recently released Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan. No production plans have been announced, but officials say batteries and other technologies will find their way into Mercedes ’future electric cars.

Performance is another place provided by the new EVs: the BMW iX M60 crossover with 532 horsepower will gain 60 in 3.6 seconds, and the Silverado – just 4.5 seconds.

Starting from scratch

Cordless cars can help some brands redefine themselves – starting with Chrysler. The once popular brand has almost disappeared from view: today from 12 models to only two. Now one of 14 brands owned by Euro-American automaker Stellantis, it only has a short time to prove why it can’t be abandoned. Based on the initial response to the Airflow concept car, it does its thing. The name was borrowed from the breakthrough model of 1934 and may reappear as Chrysler’s first EV in 2025. The brand plans to switch to a fully electric car in 2028.

CES also cited several automotive startups from abroad. VinFast, Vietnam’s first car company, was introduced to two electric SUVs in November. He has entered three more at the Las Vegas Convention Center and plans to launch his dealer network in the U.S. later this year. The company not only plans to reduce price competition, but also offers an unusual battery leasing program, the company said. Another foreign entry was Togg, a Turkish startup that showcases the concept of a high-tech sedan in the style of the legendary design house Pininfarina.

The Sony Vision-S 02 electric car during CES 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 5, 2022.Steve Marcus / Reuters

Sony has long been present at CES with products such as the Walkman, Trinitron TV and PlayStation game console. This year, however, the Japanese giant has highlighted its Vision-S concept car and announced plans to release Sony Mobility this spring. A version of the all-electric SUV could go into production over the next few years, and, not surprisingly, it will have hands-free driving capabilities and plenty of infotainment technology to keep passengers busy.

Technology for cars

It is difficult to find a new car that does not have at least one video screen. Some models presented at CES have seven or more. In the Mercedes Vision EQXX and Togg Transition Concept, their displays run from column to column on the dashboard. One version of the battery-powered SUV BMW iX is designed to allow passengers “Netflix and Chill”, according to the manufacturer, with a 31-inch panoramic display mounted on the ceiling, connected to 5G, up to 8K and Smart TV.

Along with these essential screens, tomorrow’s cars will be able to upgrade over the air in smartphone style. CES participants outlined a number of applications, including the ability to download software that can remotely fix a recall. Future cars will allow motorists to load new features, increase the range and performance of EVs, as well as broadcast entertainment programs – all for a fee.

Hands off

While this is slower than many had hoped, GM’s Ultra Cruise system will be launched next year on a Cadillac Celestiq handmade supercar, said CEO Mary Barr. Although its functions will eventually be upgraded – using continuous broadcast technology or OTA – the plan is that motorists will be allowed to drive hands-free on “every paved road in the US and Canada.”

GM is not the only one talking about standalone technology. A variety of self-propelled prototypes filled the convention center, as well as exhibits showcasing the latest Lidar sensors, radars and other automotive sensors that could make drones a reality this decade.

Finally, BMW has demonstrated a possible way to keep your car fresh. Instead of the usual paint, the iX version of the electric car was made in E-ink, the same product used in e-readers. It contains microcapsules of dyes and, by supplying electric current, the SUV can become black, white or any shade of gray. There are no immediate plans to put it into production, the company said.

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