Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 CES Review

Alexander Carabitses

The Consumer Electronics show has become more important for the automotive industry ever since the current decade kicked off.  Most of the industry's newest innovations are showcased here, particularly electric car technology and autonomous car technology.  Cars like Ford's recent update to their autonomous test Fusion and BMW's autonomous 5-series offer a glimpse at the progress being made, but in reality, the beautiful thing about this years show is that it felt more like a GM Motorama of the 1950s because of all the impressive concept vehicle, many of which will never reach production, at least not in their current form.
(Image credited to BMW)
(Image credited to Ford)

One of these concept cars was the Honda NeuV Concept.  It may not look all that special on the outside, but inside, its a different story, as the car feature technology that can sense your emotions and play music that ties together with those emotions. Honda also showed a self leveling motorcycle at the show.
(Image credited to Honda)

Another interesting concept came from BMW.  Dubbed the i Inside, this stationary thing shows off what the future of anonymous car interiors could look like.  Hyundai also showed off an interesting concept called Smart House.  The cool thing about this car is that it can blend in with one's living room furniture, so you can essentially park a car inside your house.  How cool is that?
(Image credited to BMW)
(Image credited to Hyundai)

Toyota showed a fun new concept car called the Concept-i.  The artificial intelligence in the car is the most interesting piece of technology inside, and it can apparently be used to communicate all sorts of information to the passengers and those outside.  I still need an explanation for why they are calling the system Yui.
(Image credited to Toyota)
(Image credited to Toyota)

Personally, speaking, I think that FCA stole the show (at least on the automotive side of things) with their new concept call the Portal.  This MPV was supposedly designed from the inside out and offers a clear indication of what the interiors of anonymous cars will be like.  It features seats that will slide in various direction, Panasonic speakers for each occupant so that people can be antisocial, a retractable steering wheel, and a transparent floor.
(Image credited to Chrysler)
(Image credited to Chrysler)

 In recent times, concept car like these have become more and more scarce, but CES could actually restore the goodness that enthusiasts used to know and love, as little as 10 years ago.  Unlike the previously mentioned GM Motorama, these cars are more than just design showcases, as they point towards a not too-distant reality.  One can argue whether or not that reality is good or bad, but despite one's opinions the change in still here to stay.

Speaking of here to stay,  Faraday just launched its first car, or at least a prototype of that car.  Called the FF-91, this crossover is meant to challenge the Tesla Model X, and it already has 64,000 pre-orders in the books.  However, Faraday is currently running out of money and is relying on funding from investors and potential consumers at CES to keep the company alive.  It is still unclear how much these 64,000 pre-orders will help, but I can safely say that whether you may like it or not, Faraday's future is in doubt at the moment.  Meanwhile, the 1,000 horsepower Lucid Motors Air prototype seems a bit more promising, although I don't know all the specifics of the company.  I can say that the cars will be much faster than any Tesla that currently exists.
(Image credited to Faraday)
(Image credited to Lucid Motors)

That wraps up the major highlights from CES in 2017.  This year was all about previewing the car and the car interior of the future, and to be quite honest, I think that Detroit has been upstaged this year, at least in regards to concept cars and I think that given what we've seen this year, the trend will continue.

That's all for now.  Thank you very much for reading and have a great weekend.

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