January 09, 2018 by Ryan ZumMallen

2018 CES Day 1 Round-up: Electrification, Autonomy and Connectivity

Automakers and suppliers kicked off the first day of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with talk of electrification, autonomy and connectivity.

CES has become a major platform for companies to showcase futuristic concepts or technologies aimed at evolving mobility for consumers and business. The first day of the conference brought visions of a society bettered by smarter more efficient vehicles.

Here are some of the notable announcements from the first day of CES:

  • Hyundai: The automaker unveiled the Nexo fuel cell electric SUV, which was the only featured production-ready vehicle. The Nexo is Hyundai’s second-generation fuel cell and will replace the Tucson FCEV electric SUV, improving upon its power, torque, acceleration and range. It will be released in select global markets this year. It has an estimated range of 370 miles compared with 265 miles in the Tucson FCEV, and refuels in five minutes. Hyundai’s all-new Lane Following Assist technology will be featured in the vehicle. The car can autonomously park itself and travel short distances to pick up passengers on demand with Remote Smart Parking Assist.
  • Nvidia: Technology leader Nvidia, known for its processors and microchips, has been vocal about its ambitious self-driving plans. Ahead of CES on Monday, the company announced two major new partners that will help further its goal. Both Volkswagen and Uber will team with Nvidia to build advanced technology vehicles. Volkswagen will use the Nvidia Drive IX platform to implement artificial intelligence such as facial recognition and other technology in its D. Buzz van and other electric vehicles. Uber will use Nvidia to directly assist its autonomous testing of passenger cars and freight trucks.
  • Toyota: The shuttle-shaped Toyota e-Palette turned heads at CES on Monday with its unique look and impressive portfolio of partners already signed on. Amazon, DiDi, Pizza Hut, Uber and Mazda are all part of the e-Palette Alliance that will work with Toyota to develop the concept and its business applications. Toyota hopes to have the vehicle up and running by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Toyota e-Palette shuttle

    Toyota e-Palette shuttles. (Photo: Toyota)

  • Bosch: The world’s largest automotive parts supplier, Bosch outlined ambitious plans to help cities improve air pollution, urban crowding and mobility access using micro-climate data collection. It also unveiled the new Telematics eCall Plug, or TEP. The device plugs into a standard cigarette lighter socket and records driving behavior data that it delivers data to a mobile app. The information could be used to reduce insurance rates or call emergency services. Fleet operators could use the TEP to monitor its drivers, the company said.
  • Kia: An all-electric crossover called the Kia Niro EV Concept highlighted the first day of CES for the Korean automaker. The vehicle has 238 miles of range and several features that are earmarked for production, the company said. It is equipped with a 64-kilowatt-hour battery and a 150-kilowatt electric motor. Kia plans to launch a fuel cell EV in 2020. By 2025, the automaker will adopt connected car technologies across its lineup.
  • ZF: German parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen is moving quickly on the development of connected cars. Ahead of CES it demonstrated progress that’s been made on autonomous valet parking with Chinese AI firm Baidu and a wireless payment system called Car eWallet that will be available in Germany this year. ZF hasn’t joined forces with a major automaker for use of its technology but alliances with Microsoft, IBM, Nvidia and others has been discussed.

    Automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen demonstrates its Car eWallet technology

    Automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen demonstrates its Car eWallet technology ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Sunday. (Photo: Ryan ZumMallen/Trucks.com)

  • Valeo: The French supplier Valeo is also delving into automated and connected features. It announced a prototype 48-volt motorization system at CES on Monday. The all-electric motor, similar to the one used in the Jeep Wrangler’s eTorque mild hybrid system, could power a small two-seater car for up to 62 miles. Valeo also revealed that seven of its SCALA laser scanners are equipped on the autonomous Navya Autonom Cab. Additionally, the company developed an interior climate system that can detect the driver’s mood and release stimulating or soothing fragrances to reduce fatigue.

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