CES 2024 served as a platform for the seamless integration of artificial intelligence into the next generation of automobiles. The event, held in Las Vegas, underscored that the future of mobility is undeniably influenced by AI, as intelligent assistants emerge to guide, plan, and engage with their human occupants.
In recent years, exhibitions like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and even the Salone del Mobile in Milan have stepped in to fill the void left by the decline of traditional global auto shows. Recognizing the significance of design and technology in private mobility, the CES 2024 halls were brimming with innovative concepts aimed at enhancing entertainment and information accessibility while ensuring safety during driving.
Revolutionizing Mobility: AI Takes Center Stage at CES 2024
Consequently, there was a heightened focus on leveraging AI and autonomy to enhance the efficiency of cargo hauling and deliveries. Here are various ways AI is anticipated to find its place in future dashboards and influence the conceptualization of vehicles.
Volkswagen’s Date with the Future: Unveiling ChatGPT
Volkswagen was among several manufacturers boldly asserting that AI integration into future cars will revolutionize voice recognition and information reception. Collaborating with tech partner Cerence Inc, the company developed a uniquely intelligent automotive-grade ChatGPT integration.
The initial vehicles to feature VW’s IDA voice assistant are expected to debut later in 2024, including the ID range of electric cars, as well as the latest Tiguan, Passat, and Golf models – with the GTI Concept showcased. The objective is to endow cars with voice recognition quality comparable to Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, fine-tuning the system for model-specific, location-specific, and context-specific optimization.
Kia’s Low-Impact Logistics: Unveiling the PBV System
Kia introduced a collection of five new electric vehicles, all utilizing the same modular system. The Platform Beyond Vehicle (PBV) debuted as the Concept PV7, PV5, and PV1, catering to various commercial applications such as robotaxis, last-mile delivery, and larger logistics operations.
There is potential for passenger versions in the future. The design language, emphasizing simplicity, was driven by the need to maximize interior space and accessibility, incorporating bio-plastic, recycled fabric, and innovative materials in the interior.
Hyundai’s Soaring Ambitions: Getting Ever Closer to Take-Off
Kia’s parent company, Hyundai, made significant announcements, unveiling the latest iteration of its proposed eVTOL craft, the Supernall S-A2. This five-seater, part of an ongoing program to reshape urban mobility, seeks a reliable, efficient, and safe alternative to conventional helicopters.
Hyundai also revealed major strategic tech initiatives, including the development of large-scale green hydrogen production methods and ways to transform environmental pollutants into clean hydrogen. The ‘Software-defined Everything’ (SDx) strategy was introduced, detaching software development from automotive hardware to enable independent updates. AI plays a crucial role, with the company’s Large Language Model (LLM) forming the basis of a new in-car assistant and navigation system, along with open-source kits for third-party apps.
Honda’s EV Reset: Exploring the 0 Series Concepts
The world of concept cars thrived on the Honda stand, announcing a new ‘0 Series’ of electric cars set for global sales. The first Honda 0 Series models are slated for release in North America in 2026, previewed by the elegant Saloon and Space-Hub concepts. The Space-Hub, a spacious people mover with a fashion lounge-style interior, and the sleek Saloon both promise an ultra-efficient electric powertrain with exceptional efficiency.
Embodying the core values of ‘Thin, Light, and Wise,’ these EVs signify a shift toward more manageable electric vehicles, aligning with the ‘zero’ reset philosophy they represent. Honda also introduced a new logo, or ‘H’ mark, for the first time since 1981. In addition to their appealing aesthetics, both concepts are expected to integrate Honda’s sophisticated automated driving system (available in the second half of the decade) and feature long-life batteries due to advanced software management.
When the Space-Hub transitions to production, the stark minimalism of the interior is anticipated to be somewhat toned down, although generous and configurable space will remain. However, Honda’s claim that the 0 Series will utilize AI and big data to learn user preferences, music choices, and driver behaviors, raising questions about the inevitable trajectory of cars that intimately understand their occupants.
Mercedes-Benz Harmony: Music and Beyond Unveiled
Mercedes-Benz unveiled a plethora of innovations at CES 2024, commencing with the introduction of a new AI-powered virtual assistant. The company emphasizes the potency of its new user interface, debuting in this year’s new CLA model, and the MB.OS infotainment system, evolving from the dashboard-wide screens introduced with the first EQ models a couple of years ago. Now, these screens feature a generative AI assistant promising a hyper-personalized user experience, eliminating the need to repetitively summon ‘Hey Mercedes’ for basic tasks.
Mercedes also collaborated with Will.i.am, inviting the musician and occasional tech entrepreneur to create something distinctive for the Mercedes-AMG performance sub-brand. The result, Sound Drive, is an interactive instrument utilizing sensors and software to turn the car into a musical instrument. Viewed as an evolution of generative music initially developed for video games, it represents another step towards the gamification of travel.
BMW’s In-Car Entertainment Revolution: A World of Possibilities
BMW aspires for the ninth iteration of its in-car Operating System, BMW OS9, to have a significant impact akin to the original iDrive in 2001. Implementing a Large Language Model (LLM) in an automotive context, BMW has chosen to use Alexa’s LLM. New features include the future AR Ride, an augmented reality-based navigation system developed with XREAL, overlaying navigation content onto the driver’s AR glasses.
Additionally, BMW introduced BMW Digital Premium, providing passengers access to third-party apps for music, audio, and gaming (using regular gaming controllers). This feature is particularly beneficial for those fortunate enough to utilize the massive rear screen in the back of the BMW i7. Furthermore, a distinctly American application for computer-controlled driving tech was displayed: remote control valet parking.
Afeela EV Upgrade: Sony-Honda Mobility’s Latest Innovation
In 2023, a surprising collaboration emerged in the form of Sony-Honda Mobility. The new company showcased its first product, the Afeela, with no indication of production viability or timeframe. Returning for CES 2024, the Afeela received upgrades through collaborations with Qualcomm (for computing power) and Microsoft (for AI integration).
All these technological enhancements aim to impart more personality and purpose to the car, incorporating screens and sensors aplenty. While the visual aesthetics of the Afeela remain unchanged – an elegant, smooth super saloon – questions abound regarding the integration of big data and substantial mobility, and the implications for consumers seeking a hassle-free journey from point A to B.
Screen Revolution: Harman Shakes Up Design in Tech
American car component manufacturer Harman, owned by Samsung since 2017, utilized the show to showcase innovations in interior design and information screens. The new Ready Display, available in various sizes, including a curved format, employs Samsung’s Neo QLED technology for high-resolution, rich-color graphics. Additionally, Harman presented the SeatSonic system, integrating audio into the seat structure to enhance the listening experience.
Efficiency Battle: Bosch and Amazon Join Forces for Change
Amazon is actively
addressing these figures through its ongoing partnership with Rivian. The company currently deploys 10,000 unique EV vans on its US fleet, with a commitment to electrify the entire delivery fleet of 100,000 vehicles by 2030. Germany recently joined the markets receiving these machines, designed specifically for Amazon by the Californian EV maker. Rivian, renowned for its R1T pick-up truck, now offers the bespoke EV van, known as the Rivian Commercial Van, to all buyers.
In another instance of technological innovation raising more questions than answers, industry super supplier Bosch announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services to track drivers’ eye movements, predicting and preempting their needs. This system could potentially serve as another example of Amazon’s tendency to trial labor-saving devices on its own delivery drivers. Alarming statistics were shared, noting that in Bosch’s native Germany, more than 150 million cargo vehicle trips are empty runs, accumulating to over 6.5 billion empty kilometers annually, equivalent to more than 160,000 unnecessary journeys around the Earth.