The Consumer Electronic Show held in Las Vegas is an annual event where the best and brightest tech in the world is showcased to the world. While 2018 was a quiet year for car makers at the event, 2019 was a very different story. From the big players to game-changing startups and everything in between, CES 2019 confirmed that this year is the year of in-car connectivity. CES is an amazing event that has traditionally been set aside as a big day in the technology calendar but with the merging of technology and passenger vehicles, we are starting to see more manufacturers showcasing their wares. Therefore, in this article, we decided to take a look at the new vehicles, features and trends from CES 2019.
Let’s kick things off with one of the more weird and wonderful innovations, the Hyundai Elevate, a vehicle which is part car and part robot. The Elevate is a walking, yes walking, van-esque vehicle that aims to help first responders travel over difficult terrain that even the most rugged of SUV’s would struggle with. The legs on the Elevate are powered by a set of electric motors while autonomous tech allows the vehicle to navigate the world around it. Crazily, it can climb a 5-foot vertical wall, it can walk like a mammal or a reptile and it can even lower itself to drive on the freeway at speeds up to 75mph like an everyday car. Right now it’s just a research project but it’s an intriguing concept that will be interesting to see where it goes over the coming years.
Keeping with the futuristic concepts, look at this from KIA! They are currently working towards equipping its self-driving cars with artificial intelligence-powered tech that understands human emotions. With this concept, KIA is looking to a future where autonomous driving has become normal so this vehicle designed with input from MIT used biosignal recognition to tell whether you’re happy, sad, or tired.
This Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (R.E.A.D.) is the world’s first ever Artificial Emotional Intelligence (AEI) optimized cabin space based around the human rather than the drive. This system will monitor a drivers
The R.E.A.D. System can optimize and personalize a vehicle cabin space by analyzing a driver’s emotional state in real-time through AI-based bio-signal recognition technology. The technology monitors a driver’s emotional state using sensors to read their facial expressions, heart rate and electrodermal activity. The system then adjusts some of the car’s systems — like the ambient lighting, the temperature, and the music playing — to suit your mood, altering conditions relating to the five senses within the cabin, creating a more joyful mobility experience. AI deep-learning technology enables the system to establish a baseline in user behavior, and then identify patterns and trends to customize the cabin accordingly.
Nissan Leaf e+
That’s the cool concept stuff out of the way, so now is a good time to look at some really interesting technological innovations that are a little closer to reality. At this year’s event, Nissan decided to unveil the second generation of the Leaf, called the Leaf e+. This latest model is set to boast a 62-kWh battery that will boost the driving range to approximately 226 miles vs the standard Leaf which could run for about 150 miles on a single charge. At the moment there is no pricing available but event attendees were also treated to a first look at the 332-horsepower Leaf Nismo RC.
Mercedes – Benz
This year even Mercedes decided to step out of the traditional auto show circuit to attend CES 2019, showcasing their second-generation CLA. The model remains the design leading member of the brand’s compact cars. The more upmarket variations of the CLA show the latest Mercedes-Benz infotainment system displayed on a hi-res 10″ touchscreen.
At this moment in time we don’t have a release date but what we do know is there will be a model called the CLA 250 that comes with a brand-new, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine turbocharged to deliver 221 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm. Performance specifications and fuel economy data aren’t available yet.
Audi decided to pull something completely different out of the bag at this year’s event, showing off their significant developments with in-car entertainment. Working alongside Disney and Marvel, Audi has synchronized the forward, backward and lateral movements on the car in tune with a VR video game. The idea is that this will turn a boring journey to the stores into a fully immersive experience for the passengers.
At CES, Audi showcased this technology in their new E-Tron a fully electric SUV set to go on sale later this year. Anyway, while the car is doing its thing down the road your passengers will be immersed in outer space, moving in tandem with the vehicle as they help the likes of Iron Man shoot lasers at alien enemies.
Though Audi is playing a sizable role in bringing this technology to the market, it will be available to all carmakers and content developers. The technology is tentatively scheduled to hit the market in late 2020 or early 2021. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet.
Harley – Davidson Livewire
Last but not least, even the two-wheelers are getting on board! The iconic Harley – Davidson got itself a facelift at CES 2019 as the company revealed its first ever full electric powered bike. The Livewire is a really futuristic bike that has the ability to go from to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of 110 mph while the lithium-ion carries enough juice for 110 miles or range. But that’s not all – this vehicle comes fully “connected”. The Livewire has a complete digital unit in place of the traditional analogue instrument cluster and there is also an app that will allow the user to monitor the charging process remotely.
Pretty much all of the auto tech on show at CES was from exhibitors who want to change how we view transportation. The usual autonomy, connectivity and electric vehicles were again the order of the day as companies flooded the show with living rooms on wheels that just happen to be powered by autonomous driving. Most of these companies are miles from production but it’s easy to see that driverless is the way things are going. As the market goes this direction over the coming years the market is going to change beyond recognition with massive improvements expected in connectivity and entertainment.