I was super fortunate to be able to attend CES 2017 in Las Vegas this last weekend! For those that have been hiding under a rock, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is probably the largest tradeshow in the world, with close to 200,000 people gathering in Las Vegas for all things tech.
Most of my focus on the trip was around checking out the various automotive OEM’s and suppliers and meeting with various partners and vendors.
Overall the size of the automotive presence and, in particular, self driving cars and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technologies, was staggering. I walked around for 2 days and didn’t even get a chance to see all the vendors, never mind experience the various demos (e.g. taking a ride in various self driving cars, etc.). Overall I probably got to experience about 25% of the show.
The signs are all very clear at the convention, self driving cars are actually here, it’s not hype. Well, the tech is here, we’ll see about the regulatory and consumer acceptance side of things over the coming years. The impact to the economy will be undoubtedly huge, as massive amounts of jobs are displaced (all taxi, uber, and truck drivers gone to start). Those industries will become more efficient (24×7 trucking, no need for drivers to sleep, for example).
Consumers will shift to viewing driving as a service (already happening now with Uber in urban areas) and car ownership will become less prevalent, which will result in poorer auto sales. Our time will be freed up from driving during our commute, which will no doubt be replaced by doing more work, checking emails, etc. I’ve always found that the promise of more leisure time from increased advances in technologies never materializes, only to be quickly filled in by more work.
Regardless of what the future holds, damn the tech at CES is off the charts! I got to see the brand new EV from Faraday Future (brand new OEM in California). This vehicle is tricked out with everything including facial recognition and machine learning, full self driving tech, and a 60 degree reclining seat so you can relax while your car is driving you to your destination. Check out their website at the link above for the complete specs.
Another company that really impressed me was HERE, a mapping company that is setup to be the mapping database for self driving cars. Image processing, including object recognition, have come a long way and are now being productized by various suppliers.
Here are some pics of the show: