What we expect at CES 2021: Autonomous cars, EVs, and a mind-reading bike?

What we expect at CES 2021: Autonomous cars, EVs, and a mind-reading bike?

The automotive world has been turned on its ear in recent years, as the greatest car shows of the world dimmed beside and ultimately vanished into the penumbra of CES. CES has truly taken over the world of transportation: The world’s greatest gadget show has become one of the world’s biggest car shows, where dozens of car builders and accessory makers come to show off their latest wares.

In years past at CES, we’ve driven self-driving cars and tractors, been wowed by futuristic autonomous busses, and seen some of the biggest tech companies dip a tentative toe into the automotive world – I’m looking at you, Sony. What will we see at CES 2021? Here are a few educated guesses at what to watch out for.

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Autonomous cars galore

In years past, we’ve tested autonomous car tech from any number of companies. Last year I cruised around Vegas in a custom Lincoln MKZ, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride, a handful of chips and a software stack that can fit into a box no bigger than your backpack and can tie together the cameras, communication systems, and navigation needed for autonomy. In 2018 we rode in an Aptiv-powered Lyft, which we found the best kind of boring.

Honestly, there are more companies working on self-driving vehicles than there are acronyms available; I counted two dozen in 2018 before I gave up in despair, and there are likely more these days. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements from the big tech brands behind this tech, notably Nvidia and Qualcomm, as well as the carmakers themselves. We also expect additional info from the raft of electric vehicle startups that have launched (and sometimes collapsed) at CES. Watch for news from Faraday, Fisker, and other brands.

Mercedes is unveiling something it calls “hyperscreen,” a wrap-around digital display for your cockpit that the company says “is representative of the emotional intelligence of the entire vehicle and is highly capable of learning.” What that means is anyone’s guess. Components are indeed a big part of the show, however, notably lidar, the eyeballs of the self-driving car and one of the hottest areas of innovation in tech. Expect to hear from dozens of companies claiming to make the best, the smallest, and the cheapest such sensors. Look for actual deals with carmakers to see which will succeed and which will fail…Read more>>
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