Traditional auto shows are a great place to see the latest achievements in the auto industry, but if you want to witness the absolute technological edge in the field, CES is the place to go.
Most exhibitors keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to CES releases. While some of them were bold enough to reveal their releases ahead of time, others only hinted at what is coming. For both categories, Las Vegas is the place where the results of last year's research and development will come to light.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz stole the show when it showcased its avant-garde looking F015 Luxury in Motion concept car, an autonomous vehicle that looked like the uni-body variant of cars. It is very likely to see autonomous driving pop up on the main stage this year. 2016, however, will be different, as other brands will come forth to boast their autonomous technologies.
The end of 2015 brought numerous rumors about Google and Ford in talks to announce a partnership at CES. Ford kept the lid on the details, but a spokesperson answered PC Mag's questions about the possible cooperation.
"We [...] will continue working with many companies [...] for our Ford Smart Mobility plan," the Ford spokesperson noted.
The spokesperson added that Ford refuses to comment on speculations.
However, some big names in the automotive industry confirmed their commitment to the autonomous technologies. Kia, for example, wrote in its CES press conference that it will present the first Kia vehicle with sports-dedicated autonomous driving features.
Nevada DMV received two permit filings from Kia, who asked permission to have two autonomous Kia Soul Electric Vehicles in the state. Hyundai also filed for the same type of permit for a Santa Fe, but will not bring it out at CES because it alternates its yearly stage-time with Kia.
At CES 2016, a lot of automotive enthusiasts look forward to see what newcomer Faraday Future will showcase. Rumors hinted that the company was actually a front for Apple's autonomous driving project, but so far no evidence exists to support that claim.
What we know is that the discrete startup receives support from a Chinese billionaire and it will reveal a concept at the beginning of the show. It is very likely to be an electric vehicle, but whether or not it has autonomous capabilities remains a mystery.
From the German automakers, Audi and Mercedes-Benz both plan to showcase cars that feature self-driving technologies.
Volkswagen aims to clean up its image after the Dieselgate scandal with a new electric concept car. Recently, the Wolfsburg-based company revealed an EV Microbus concept in a 10-second video. Sources familiar with the matter say it's ready to go into manufacturing, and it is equipped with autonomous driving technologies.
Aside from self-driving tech, the Las Vegas show has other surprises in store. For instance, gesture control and infotainment interfaces are some of the coveted technologies that should make drivers' lives easier and more pleasant.
Bosch announced that it is developing a new haptic technology which permits conventional touch screens to resemble physical textures in such a high degree that drivers can use it without directly looking at it.
AirTouch from BMW is another innovation that CES participants will witness. According to the Bavarian automaker, the new technology makes sure that the display in the dashboard can be operated without having to physically touch it, and promises to reveal more visionary technologies on stage. This should allow the drivers to work their way through infotainment features by simply using hand gestures.
If these bits and pieces of info raised your interest, stay tuned as we bring you the latest CES news.