CES 2018: Motoring’s future on display

Every January in Las Vegas, we get a glimpse into the future, courtesy of CES, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual trade show. Car manufacturers always take the opportunity to showcase their latest models, as well as some of the advanced projects they’re still working on. So, here’s a quick look at some of the most exciting tech that was unveiled at this year’s CES:

Hyundai’s new hydrogen SUV

Hyundai launched the Nexo, its new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle. Capable of driving 500 miles with zero emissions, the Nexo will take over from the ix35 FCV as Hyundai’s flagship hydrogen-powered car. It’s the latest sign that manufacturers are not only looking to plug-in vehicles for the green alternatives to petrol and diesel ones – a trend we noted in our recent Future of Fuel report.

A new concept car from China

But new plug-in cars are still coming thick and fast – and new manufacturers are getting in on the game. The Chinese firm Byton came onto the scene in Vegas with its concept battery electric vehicle. Byton is led by former BMW Vice President Carsten Breitfeld, and its first effort is an SUV capable of going 325 miles on a single charge. More than the powertrain, though, Byton is emphasising its connected and ‘smart’ capabilities. Its dashboard is just one big screen, which will allow drivers and passengers to make calls or choose their in-car entertainment, all via gestures and facial recognition.

Ford’s self-driving vision

Of course, when it comes to cars and tech these days, the hot topic is autonomy. In his keynote address, Ford CEO Jim Hackett discussed how the arrival of self-driving cars will change the way we travel. By way of demonstration, Ford brought along a self-driving Fusion, which has been delivering pizzas in Michigan. (Ford Vice President Jim Farley says people actually thank the car when taking their pizzas.) Each year at CES, we see the reality of widespread autonomous motoring getting that bit closer. 

A mind-reading Nissan? 

Nissan had an unusually cool new piece of tech to demonstrate: a headset that can read a driver's brainwaves and transmit that information to their car. The aim of this ‘Brain-to-Vehicle' technology is twofold. First, the car will be able to tell when the driver is about to make a change (steer left, press down on the accelerator, hit the brakes, etc.) and initiate the appropriate action more quickly. Second, when in autonomous mode, the car will be able to tell if the ‘driver’ is uncomfortable with the way they’re being driven, and will adapt accordingly.

Toyota’s e-Palette platform

Toyota took the conversation about the future world of autonomous motoring a step further with a whole new kind of self-driving vehicle: the e-Palette. It is designed for a wide variety of uses, as demonstrated by the range of companies that Toyota is partnering with to develop it: from Uber to Amazon and Pizza Hut. In fact, the most exciting thing isn't the vehicle itself, but rather the Mobility Services Platform that it runs on. This is software designed specifically for a world of car-sharing and connected vehicles, and it will allow the companies that use the e-Palette to install their own systems to run it.

And these are just a few of the items that got our mouths watering at this year’s CES. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next year!