New technologies are the biggest draw of the Las Vegas CES (Photo: CEA)
For anyone involved inÂ consumer electronics, 2016Â has to start with the massive CES gathering in Las Vegas. In recent years, as the auto industry has expanded its borders into new technologies, many of the major car brands have added the world's biggest consumer-technology eventÂ to the roster of shows they must attend. Hence, major players such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai-Kia, Toyota, VW, Ford and General Motors will all have stands at CES 2016.
Most of theÂ carmakers coming to Las Vegas have scheduled press events and several have hinted at what they plan to announce. There have been even more rumors about impending automotive news at the exhibition.
One thing is certain: Automakers are likely to focus heavily on better in-car infotainment, more connected services, improved safety and further steps that will get cars ready for autonomous driving.
Automakers'Â growing presence in Las Vegas reflects the changing priorities of an industry that for more than 100 years was mostly concerned with car design, engines, road handling and costs.
Today, those considerations are still there, but added to them is a new car buyer focus on connectivity, infotainment, upgradeability and advanced driver assistance. And it is in these areas that the consumer electronics and automotive industries are coming together.
Here's a roundup of what to expect at the show, which officially starts January 6, but kicks off with a series of press events starting on January 4 already.
Aston Martin may unveil a connected-car concept together with Letv. The British sports car maker signed a research partnership with the Chinese technology company in early December. Letv, which will be at CES for the first time, said the two companies are working on technologies that could become part of Aston Martin's planned electric version of its Rapide E model.
Audi is expected to show further improvements to its "piloted driving" technology. Press reports also say the Volkswagen Group's premium brandÂ may unveil an autonomous prototype of its flagship A8 model.
BMW, the only carmaker to have launched a separate new-mobility model range, will likely show updated connectivity features forÂ these "i" vehicles. The Munich-based premium brand will also unveilÂ an i8 Spyder concept, which is expected toÂ go on sale during 2016.
Bosch will show software and parking solutions as well as a touchscreen with haptic feedback that can improve safety and convenience in the car.
Continental will demonstrate a range of new automotive technologies, including a dynamic eHorizon, intelligent glass control and dynamic mirror replacement.
DaimlerÂ has applied for permission to drive a Mercedes-Benz autonomous vehicle in the state of Nevada, where Las Vegas is located. The German premium car maker also is expected to show new advances in driver-assistance technologies.
DelphiÂ will show so-called "vehicle-to-everything" technology, which the supplier sees as a precondition for automated driving. It will bring an autonomous vehicle that has these capabilities to Las Vegas.
Faraday Future, a largely unknown automotive newcomer, has scheduled a press conference to unveil an electric vehicle. Faraday announced last month that it is investing 1 million dlrs in a US car plant.
Fiat ChryslerÂ will likely showcase improvements to connectivity and infotainment features in its upcoming models
Ford MotorÂ is rumored to have agreed with Google to jointly build self-driving cars. The carmaker may confirm - or deny - the rumors at its CES press conference January 5.
General MotorsÂ CEO Mary Barra will deliver aÂ keynote address. The focus of her talk will be on the changing face of personal mobility. GM is expected to show a production version of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle.
Hyundai, like Mercedes, has applied for permission to test-drive an autonomous vehicle in Nevada. The Korean brand is expected to show a self-driving version of its fuel-cell powered Tucson SUV.
Rinspeed, known for its forward-looking car concepts, will show the Stos,Â which comes to Las Vegas with a folding and retracting steering wheel, on-board drone and a mobile landing platform in the rear. The Stos is based on BMW's i8 sports car.
Toyota, whichÂ in November announced plans for a five-yearÂ 1 billion dlr investment in artificial intelligence and robotics, will present more details of theseÂ plans. The world's biggest car brand in terms of sales will also explain how it hopes to get better digital maps with the help of vehicle data.
Visteon will use its CES exhibit to demonstrate how software and new technologies can improve drivers' - and passengers' - interaction with information in the car.
Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess is the other automotiveÂ keynote speaker at the 2016 CES. The carmaker is expected to show an electric version of its iconic VW van to focus on a newly formulated strategy of providing "affordable long-distance electromobility."
CES 2016 will haveÂ more than 2.4 million net square feet of exhibition space. The organizers, the US Consumer Technology Association (CTA), expects more than 3,600 exhibiting companies. Next to the major car manufacturers, more than 100 automotive suppliers and service providers to the car industry will show their products in Las Vegas.
-By Arjen Bongard