Global automakers are back to battle it out at the world’s largest technology event this month in Las Vegas, Nevada, which has grown into one of the biggest stages for these companies to present new vehicles and concepts as the industry continues to undergo its transformation. Gone are the days where we had to wait for the Detroit and Frankfurt motor shows to roll around just so we could see what these auto giants had been working on behind closed doors. Last year saw nine major automakers and over 125 auto-related companies from around the globe fill The International Consumer Electronics Show’s 200,000 square ft. exhibition, the largest presence ever at the show, with even more scheduled this time around. Personally, I love that we have another major automotive show on the scene, with less of a focus on gas-guzzling performance cars and more on clean, efficient and, now, quicker EVs as well as highly-advanced connected technology that will transform our day-to-day lives.
However, what I think makes CES so important in the business sense is that it is closed off to the public. This may sound strange, however this is an executive's dream as it creates a professionally-focused event that is filled with companies to meet, whilst there are also a number of media conferences that allow them to further demonstrate their new ideas and products. Many journalists know that, most of the time, the second day of an event of the same calibre as CES is almost a write-off in terms of talking to the top dogs, as they usually jet-off once the main press day is over and the public are allowed to visit. However, CES overcomes this as it instigates a strictly industry-only event, meaning that the people under the huge exhibition’s roof will all be worth talking to, especially for automakers who are looking to collaborate with software specialists and vice-versa. Ultimately, it is a petri dish for old and new players within an increasingly challenging market.
Although some automakers and their counterparts have been secretive about what will be revealed in Las Vegas, expect to see Rinspeed’s latest mobility concept, the Snap, Fisker’s Tesla-rivaling EMotion, Volkswagen’s MOIA-branded ride pooling concept and Honda’s 3E Robotics Concept, which have all been announced prior to the event. This is, like last year’s line-up, great news for the automotive industry, which is quickly developing into a hyper-connected and efficient industry thanks to a new wave of innovation propelled by events like this. We have seen this shift at more established automotive shows, such as in Frankfurt last year, however I cannot see them keeping up with the likes of CES, thanks to its primary focus on technology inside and outside of the vehicle. CES is the perfect representation of what our industry is becoming.
Alex Kreetzer - Editor