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CES 2016 Reveals Plug-in Cars with Self-Driving Capability Have Become Dominant Trend in Auto Industry, Reports TrendForce

Automotive technology has been a growing highlight of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the past few years, and this year is no exception. Eric Chang, automotive electronics analyst for TrendForce, said that the auto industry is driven by the race to develop autonomous driving technology and plug-in vehicles. Future vehicles will therefore incorporate intelligent features and fulfill the zero emission requirement. Moreover, the emergence of new sensor technologies will transform input/output interfaces of a vehicle’s infotainment system. New infotainment solutions will thus be radically different from the ones used by the traditional vehicles as well. In sum, Chang expects cars to continue to have a huge presence in the next CES event.

There are two major takeaways from the automotive technology exhibitions at this year’s CES:

Bars are raised for displays and computer processors used in vehicles as international auto companies make steady progress on self-driving cars

Chang noted that international auto companies have made their self-driving cars more functionally practical for consumers as they hustle to bring these vehicles to the market. More intuitive user interfaces (UI), for instance, indirectly contribute to the rising demand for more and larger display screens in vehicles. The reliability of autonomous driving technology has also improved in relation to the increasing capabilities of computer processors. At this year’s CES, processor manufacturer Nvidia unveiled a supercomputer for cars. Touted as a “total solution” for autonomous vehicles, Nvidia’s supercomputer taps into the power of cloud computing to provide more precise information on a vehicle’s surroundings as well as more accurate predictive modelling.

During the event, major auto makers and startups vied to be the exhibitor with the most exciting initiative or breakthrough in automotive technology. BMW introduced its i8 concept car, which replaces traditional rear- and side-view mirrors with high-resolution cameras. In addition to the “mirror-less” innovation, the i8 features the AirTouch gesture control system that improves driving experience and safety. U.S. auto maker Ford announced that the company is partnering up with Google to develop autonomous vehicle and showed off the progress it has made with Amazon in connecting future smart cars with smart homes. 

Among the plug-in vehicles shown at the CES, GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV created the most electrifying presence with its economic pricing and a mapping system that is supported by onboard cameras. Another notable plug-in vehicle was Volkswagen’s BUDD-e. This concept car comes with a new connectivity platform that opens up new possibilities related to the commercial uses for next-generation vehicles.

New vehicle startup companies make a splash with models that integrate plug-in vehicles with self-driving technology

Chang furthermore noted that plug-in vehicles represented another major theme in the automotive technology exhibitions at CES. “The synergy of autonomous vehicle technology and plug-in vehicles will be a powerful force in the transformation of how passenger vehicles are used in the future,” said Chang. While most auto companies in the short term will release automated driving systems that primarily assist drivers in operating their vehicles, newly emerged startups such as Faraday Future have developed plug-in vehicles featuring autonomous vehicle technology. The mobility solutions presented by these startups during the CES emphasized performances that could rival Tesla’s models and fully-integrated self-driving capability.

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