CES 2017 – Car Makers Drive to Link Up with Technology

CES 2017 is the world’s biggest and brightest consumer electronics showcase where global manufacturers reveal their new gadgets and devices.

The Las Vegas show is geared up to show how car makers and technology firms are accelerating towards new ways to make driving easier.

Major manufacturers have realised that car owners want more technology in their vehicles and are forming uneasy alliances with companies to introduce virtual assistants to aid drivers.

BMW, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai all ushered in new deals.

BMW and Nissan will have a mobile version of Microsoft’s Cortana, Ford are going with Amazon’s Alexa and Hyundai with Google Assistant.

Toyota is going alone with a standalone system.

Technology integration

The ultimate progression is to integrate smartphones, in-car technology and remote control of home appliances from the driver’s seat.

The problem for drivers will be if they lose their choice of devices while the objective for technology companies is to gain a Microsoft, Amazon or Google home and car.

For a driver, electing to buy a smartphone, car and home appliances that work with any assistant is the preference.

“As is becoming increasingly the case with many consumer products, consumer demand is requiring products to be connected and the car is no different,” said Ben Gardner, of law firm Pinsent Masons.

Gardner is an expert in connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

Devices getting smarter

“Automotive companies will need to keep pace with what consumers want going forward which may be more software and connectivity focussed than ever before,” he said.

“As we have seen in the smartphone market, these devices became more dependent on the software they ran than the hardware they incorporated.

“As such, we may continue to see new entrants to the automotive sector and maybe even the loss of an established brand name altogether, should a legacy automotive company fail to adapt.”

Elsewhere at CES 2017, TV manufacturers Sony, LG and Panasonic introduced new HD sets, while electronic firms revealed new smartphones, smart watches and tablets.

Graphics and networking firm NVidia took the wraps off another home voice control device that plugs into the electrical service and can take notes, play music and retrieve internet information.