Is the Car Hijacking CES?

Auto-Related Booths Take 25 Percent More Floor Space Than in 2015

CES_lCES 2016 kicks off in Las Vegas this week, and remains one of the most important annual gathering of technology industry professionals. This year, 25 percent more floor space is being taken by auto-related companies than in 2015, including showcases from major car makers such as Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Toyota.

Auto technology advancements have captured mainstream attention and the imagination as high-profile Internet companies like Google and Uber join the fray. CES has become a must-attend event for anyone selling or buying high-tech hardware, software or services, and this now includes auto stuff. The North American International Auto Show remains the forum for unveiling production cars and design prototypes, but auto makers are increasingly choosing CES to showcase the technology that’s becoming embedded in even ordinary cars.

Connected, autonomous and electric vehicles will all be on display at CES 2016, with some of the world’s most talked-about companies in the field looking to make a big impression. Some companies specialize in self-driving cars, and others are introducing gadgets to help motorists to navigate the roads. Dallas-based Vinli, for example, is presenting a product that plugs into a vehicle’s data port to create a “smart” car. The company is also expected to provide 500 Uber drivers with devices that will turn their cars into mobile Wi-Fi hot spots.

Faraday Future unveiled its concept vehicle on 4 January. The company — a competitor to Tesla — will have its first manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Las Vegas and plans to manufacture and ship cars by 2017. Chevy is expected to showcase the production-ready version of the electric Bolt, and Volkswagen has already revealed the Budd-e electric concept car.

A large number of companies with ties to Silicon Valley are using CES 2016 to show automakers their potential and demonstrate possibilities for the public. Broadcom, Nvidia, NXP and Qualcomm will share their latest chips, powering everything from navigation to autonomous driving. Here, now owned by a consortium consisting of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, will showcase digital maps that claim to work even in adverse road and weather conditions.

We expect companies at CES 2016 to demonstrate how computer chips can enable a wealth of new features in cars. The technologies won’t be available in models produced in 2016, but are anticipated to enhance the industry.

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