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Automakers Steal the Stage at CES

Automakers Steal the Stage at CES
Eric Huebner

Every January, hordes of tech journalists, bloggers and fans descend on Las Vegas, Nevada, for the annual unveiling of the latest in electronic wizardry that is the Consumer Electronics Show or CES. This year’s show took place from January 7 to January 10 and saw a host of big debuts from high-profile tech giants like Samsung and LG, automakers like Audi, and trendy newcomers to the tech industry such as Pebble.

Both Samsung and LG took the opportunity to introduce enormous curved televisions. The new models are designed to provide a more immersive, enveloping experience for the viewer, a prospect that presents intriguing possibilities for advertising. The potential for new ads, particularly ads that focus on a viewer’s point of view, is almost unlimited.

Pebble used the show to make a major aesthetic upgrade to its new smartwatch, debuting a complete redesign of the product that made it look exactly like any other traditional watch, complete with both leather and metal link wristbands, a change that will surely increase the device’s consumer appeal.

Additionally, both Ford and Audi unveiled new pieces of automotive technology that have far-reaching implications for the future of automotive innovation. Ford showed off a new bank of solar panels integrated into the roof of its C-Max minivan that expanded the van’s 620-mile range by an additional 21 miles, a distance that Ford estimates will be sufficient for at least 75% of all trips taken by its drivers. The technology can charge fully over the course of one day.

Audi has also chosen to riff on the light theme, revealing its new Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car. The car comes with a 700-horsepower hybrid electric powertrain that allows it to fulfill a dual role as both a powerful muscle car and an economical hybrid daily driver. The car’s crowning feature is a revolutionary new headlight system that combines traditional LED bulbs with a cutting-edge new laser system that will allow drivers to project light with much greater strength — up to a length of 500 yards away. As if that wasn’t enough, Audi also debuted a prototype self-driving A7 sedan. The car detects obstacles through a battery of sensors, cameras, radar, and laser scanners hidden throughout the car’s body and connected to a central computer, which makes the necessary adjustments to the car’s speed and course to avoid obstacles.

While this year’s show lacked the high-profile debuts of shows past, it did present some intriguing new concepts from a variety of companies that should pave the way for technological advanced in the near future. From more immersive advertising and wearable tech to more efficient cars, this year’s show has delivered the building blocks for some serious developments very soon.

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