Automotive Drives CES 2017

January 19, 2017  |  By Frank Gonzalez  |       

 

CES 2017 went off with a bang with 175,000+ attendees and nearly 4000 exhibitors including the biggest names in not only the electronics industry but also automotive. This year the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center had me thinking CES might stand for Car Electronics Show. 

Most major automotive companies came to CES to showcase their vision of the future.  Many of them focused on the driver's experience in a fully autonomous driving environment.

BMW shared their BMWi Inside Future Concept. 

Honda had the NeuV concept.

Fiat Chrysler had their Portal concept.

Toyota had the Concept-i.

Volkswagen had their ID concept. 

Artificial intelligence and the ability to have a personal assistant who knows you and can deliver on your wants and needs was the key theme of these concepts. Toyota took center stage with their Concept-i concept vehicle which will be your trusted companion. Concept-i will understand your current mood and make suggestions to help you feel happy and relaxed. For example, today might be the anniversary of a specific event. Concept-i will present media that was associated with that event such as pictures, movies, or music.

The in-vehicle “cockpit” experience was also an area for innovative solutions. High resolution displays of all shapes and sizes were placed throughout the vehicle from traditional center consoles to passenger centric displays designed to entertain and inform the rider. Panasonic's interior design utilized modular configurations based on drive mode.   When the driver became a passenger, their seat would rotate to face the other passengers and a shared table with individual screens for entertaining and informing would be created.   These demos promise a future where we can be much more productive during our daily commutes.

Cloud based voice services such as Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant played a major role in many of the demos at CES. Cortana was highlighted by BMW and Nissan. However, Amazon Alexa stole the show with literally hundreds of devices using the voice service to control everything from refrigerators, lights, robots, cars, and more.  Amazon's open ecosystem has made it an attractive solution to bring voice services and cloud content to just about any connected device. Amazon announced that there are over 5000 custom skills which seems to be growing exponentially as more developers gravitate to the platform.  Ford, Hyundai, and VW demoed Alexa integrations at the show floor. We are just scratching the surface of what will be possible.

Microsoft announced their Connected Vehicle Platform which is powered by Azure. This cloud powered platform provides automakers with telematics and predictive services, customer insights and engagement, advanced navigation, productivity and digital life, and connected ADAS.  Microsoft promises to do all the heavy lifting in the cloud to let automakers focus on the customer experience. What’s interesting here is that Microsoft is offering its suite of services as part of the platform including Cortana, Skype for Business, and other Office products such as Office 365, Dynamics, and Power BI.

Ford and Toyota announced the creation of the Smart Device Link Consortium or SDLC for short. As part of the announcement, Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries and Suzuki also announced they have joined  the consortium. There is excitement from the automakers as the industry tries to find a neutral solution to bring apps safely and efficiently in to the vehicle. I look forward to seeing the same excitement from the app developer community as they will be instrumental in creating the content which customers are expecting.

From an automotive perspective, the show gave us a glimpse into what the future of driving will be. Self-driving, intelligent, and conscious vehicles don’t seem to far from reach. At Abalta, we look forward to being part of this connected car evolution.

Topics: Automotive Trends

Frank Gonzalez

Frank Gonzalez is Director of Product Marketing at Abalta Technologies. When he’s not thinking about products, he’s playing drums in the band Dub8 and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

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