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What Does CES 2024's Automotive Tech Spectacle Have in Store?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 is officially underway in Las Vegas, showcasing the latest technological innovations across various industries. As the automotive industry is undergoing a transformative period, CES has emerged as a crucial platform for unveiling groundbreaking technological advancements. Even as traditional auto shows decline, CES stands out as the premier event for automotive announcements, attracting major brands from around the world.

For automotive enthusiasts, this event is a window into the future, revealing the cutting-edge developments that major car manufacturers have in store. This year, the focus is not much on flashy vehicle debuts but on in-cabin tech innovation, reflecting the industry's shift toward connected, electric and autonomous vehicles.

Notably, the Detroit Big 3 automakers — including General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — won’t be participating at the CES this year following disruptions caused by the historic UAW strike in late 2023. Despite notable absences, including major U.S. automakers and industry disruptors like Tesla, the stage is set for an exciting showcase from global giants like Honda HMC, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen VWAGY, BMW AG BMWYY and Mercedes-Benz MBGAF.

Honda's Leap Into the EV Future

Among the automakers, Honda is expected to take center stage at CES 2024 with the debut of its all-new global electric vehicle (EV) series. Aligned with its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, Honda plans to introduce 30 EVs globally, targeting a sales volume of 2 million units by 2030. This move is part of Honda's broader strategy to achieve 100% zero-emission automobile sales by 2040, a mix of battery and fuel cell electric models.

The CES debut of this new series marks a significant transformation in Honda's approach to sustainable mobility. Honda's CES showcase will not only feature the new EV series but also highlight key technologies shaping the brand's transformation.

Kia's Visionary Mobility Platform

Kia’s showcase at CES 2024 revolves around its groundbreaking modular EV platform, the Platform Beyond Vehicle (PBV). This platform underpins three all-electric concept cars — PV1, PV5 and PV7, each catering to different segments of personal and B2B mobility. PV5, set to be launched in 2025, is a three-row van combining futuristic design and practicality. Kia's partnership with Uber and the announcement of a robotaxi version by 2028 underscores its commitment to revolutionizing mobility.

Hyundai's Software-Defined Vision

Hyundai stands out as a prominent player at CES 2024, showcasing its vision for a technologically advanced, environmentally friendly future. Its concept of "software-defined everything" illustrates a future where technology seamlessly integrates into our lives. At CES 2024, Hyundai is set to unveil its new E/E architecture for software-defined vehicles (SDV), a testament to its innovation in vehicle technology.

The company's vision extends beyond cars, with a focus on hydrogen-powered transformations and the potential of AI in advancing mobility solutions.Hyundai will present its waste-to-hydrogen production and hydrogen value chain, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to future mobility concepts. Hyundai Mobis, a subsidiary, is contributing to the display with 20 new mobility technology concepts, highlighting innovations ready for immediate mass production.

BMW's Digital Inward Focus

BMW is turning its attention inward at CES 2024, spotlighting interior technologies such as gaming, streaming, augmented reality (AR) and AI-powered features. Demonstrations include remote driving experiences, AR glasses for passengers and an Intelligent Personal Assistant enhanced with generative AI. The German auto giant’s focus on the digital customer experience emphasizes the integration of cutting-edge technology in everyday vehicle use.

Mercedes-Benz's AI-Powered MBUX Virtual Assistant

Mercedes-Benz is set to impress with the unveiling of its new MBUX Virtual Assistant at CES 2024, aiming to redefine the digital passenger experience. This AI-powered feature represents a leap in personalization and human-like interaction between driver and car. The MBUX Virtual Assistant, part of Mercedes-Benz's vision for connected driving, promises an empathetic and responsive in-car experience.

Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, emphasizes the empathetic qualities of the MBUX Virtual Assistant, stating that it complements the driver's style and mood. This technology is set to gradually appear in passenger vehicles over the coming years, marking a significant leap toward connected and personalized driving experiences.

Volkswagen's ChatGPT Integration

Volkswagen will take a leap into artificial intelligence by integrating OpenAI's ChatGPT into its IDA voice assistant. This move makes Volkswagen the first volume manufacturer to offer ChatGPT as a standard feature, starting in the second quarter of 2024. The integration of OpenAI’s chatbot across VW’s lineup, including Tiguan, Passat, Golf, and its ID family of electric vehicles, highlights the automaker's commitment to cutting-edge technology and enhanced customer experience.

The AI-based chatbot enhances the voice assistant's capabilities, providing relevant responses and control over entertainment. Volkswagen's partnership with Cerence ensures a robust integration of ChatGPT, marking a significant step toward AI-driven interactions within vehicles.

Flying Cars on Display

CES 2024 will showcase two companies presenting "flying cars." XPeng AeroHT, an affiliate of China's XPeng Inc., will introduce an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Hyundai's Advanced Air Mobility company, Supernal, will also showcase an eVTOL vehicle prototype, highlighting the growing interest and innovation in the aerial mobility sector.

Conclusion

CES 2024 paints a futuristic picture of the automotive industry, with a focus on technology that goes beyond traditional vehicle design. As the world watches these innovations unfold at CES, it's evident that the automotive industry is at the forefront of the tech revolution, where EVs, AI, and software-defined technologies are not just concepts but imminent realities.

From global EV series and modular platforms to software-defined vehicles and AI-powered virtual assistants, major car manufacturers are showcasing their commitment to shaping a connected, electric and autonomous future. The integration of AI in vehicles, both in voice assistants and advanced chatbots, signals a paradigm shift in how we interact with our cars.

The convergence of technology and automotive expertise at CES 2024 underlines a clear message — the future of mobility is here and it's electrifying.

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