There are several factors that could make the annual CES show in Las Vegas the top North American show in the near future, replacing the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the first important show of the year.
Originally called the Consumer Electronics Show when it started in 1967, CES gained the attention of the auto industry back in 2007, when Ford used the venue to introduce SYNC simultaneously with its usual press conference at NAIAS.
As more and more manufacturers introduced new automotive technologies at CES, the attention of the automotive media started to become split between the two shows, and with vehicles now becoming tech-intensive entities, many manufacturers are choosing to introduce not just new automotive systems at CES, but the vehicles themselves (since the two are increasingly interdependent and will soon be completely so).
The other factor that may likely shift the auto focus to Las Vegas is that the Detroit show has signalled its intent to move its show to June starting in 2020, to attempt to attract more visitors by adding outdoor displays.
In recent years, European makers have stayed away from the show and this year’s version will mark important absences in Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though all will be prominent at CES, with their autonomous and EV technologies.
Mercedes will unveil the new CLA, which will feature an updated version of the MBUX infotainment system, which was introduced at CES 2018 without a model attached to it. The new MBUX will be able to be controlled by hand gestures and uses augmented reality for its navigation system (where it overlays directions over a real-time street scene to give more precise information to users), as will infotainment systems from other manufacturers, including BMW.
Another noteworthy introduction at CES 2019 will come from Nissan, which is rumoured to be debuting a new Leaf (the Nismo Leaf racer will have its North American debut at the show), as well as the latest IMx KURO concept crossover that advances Nissan’s ProPilot autonomous system and the company’s brain to vehicle (B2V) technology that interprets signals from the driver’s brain for more precise autonomous control.
BMW will be showing off its Intelligent Personal Assistant, allowing show-goers to try out the advanced technology ahead of its launch in BMW vehicles in the spring, as well as providing mixed reality virtual test drives in the fully autonomous Vision iNEXT concept.
And as previously announced, Kia is showing off its emotion-based environment that judges vehicle occupants’ state of mind through biometrics and artificial intelligence and adjust the cabin environment accordingly.