The Consumer Electronics Show started off as a hub for the world of technology to showcase its latest innovations. But in the last few years, the show’s spotlight has been stolen by the various car companies, each competing with one another to create the most innovative automatic or ‘driverless’ vehicle. The show, to be held in Las Vegas this year, is looking forward to a host of big banner companies like Mercedes and Ford, alongside a wide number of startups like ZF, Autoliv, Valeo, Torc, and Byton, displaying their most updated vehicles.
The most anticipated car amidst this multitude of transport automaton is an SUV by the electric vehicle startup, Byton, founded by Carsten Breitfeld, former head of BMW i8 program, and Daniel Kirchert, former managing director of Infiniti China. Their SUV will be available in both front and all-wheel drive, with a 150 kW motor in front and a 200 kW motor at the back. It will have two battery options; a 71 kWh entry pack with a range of 200 miles and a 95 kWh extended pack, offering up to 310 miles. The base model is expected to start at $45,000.
Other conceptual cars on display will include the autonomous ‘robo-taxi’, the brainchild of a partnership between Lyft and Autoliv, which will provide free rides to volunteers; Mercedes’ Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept, a car without steering wheels and pedals; Ford’s autonomous pizza-delivery car, which has been experimentally operative in Michigan; and the French company, Navya’s driverless 8-passenger shuttle bus and a minivan called Autonom Cab.
To power these smart cars, chipset companies like Intel and Nvidia are competing with each other to build computers that will be powerful enough to provide full autonomy to the smart cars. Nissan is expected to display its brain-to-vehicle interface, in which a person sitting in a simulator can drive a car with his mind by wearing a skullcap full of electrodes.
Apart from transportation on wheels, the CES is also expected to host exhibits of ‘flying cars’, drones or helicopters with Vertical Take Off and Landings. This year’s CES promises to be abuzz with a futuristic vocabulary comprising of words like “urban mobility” and “smart cities” to put a name to the innovations it shall host.