Technology has come so far, especially where cars are concerned, and CES 2023 really highlighted that fact. The things I saw were truly amazing as if they had rolled right out of a sci-fi movie. 

CES had a lot of unexpected things—a car controlled via a flat panel, a cartoon dog, and some surprising team-ups. So, what were my favorite car-related moments from CES? Where do I even begin?!

Jeep will meet you at the trailhead

Jeep’s electric future looks exciting.  The company plans to use autonomous driving to make it easier than ever for people to seek out adventure. The vision for Jeep’s electric vehicles is to allow drivers to explore and enjoy off-road experiences safely and sustainably, with the help of advanced autonomous systems. 

The Jeep could even drive ahead of you while you’re on your hike, and be waiting to pick you up when you finish. I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about where you parked your car! They also mentioned a mode where you can enjoy a group ride with multiple Jeeps and communicate with any member of your group both on and off the grid. Jeep sees the sky as the limit, and it really shows. 

Mercedes Benz brings Level 2, 3, and 4 technology

As the world transitions to electric vehicles, it’s terrific to see more businesses addressing the demand for charging stations. Mercedes Benz plans to open 40 charging stations in the US, and more abroad. They’re attempting to encourage EV adoption both in North America and around the world. The first of these locations, accessible to all EV brands, is projected to be completed in 2023. I wonder if any will be near me!

When it comes to their cars, they are adding a Level 2 automated lane change technology. That means more drivers will learn how to interact with an automated system. Simply activate the turn signal, overtake, and the vehicle will complete the lane change by itself.

It isn’t just Level 2, though. Currently approved for use in Nevada, Mercedes Benz is bringing Level 3 technology to the US, where the driver is legally not in charge of driving anymore, and is able to do other things during their ride. Meanwhile, their upcoming Level 4 technology is an automated parking system.

Mercedes Benz is focusing on media, and I’m here for it. They’re working with companies like Apple Music, Universal Music Group, Dolby, and Zync, so you know it’s good. Mercedes Benz wants to bring an entirely new digital life into the car. 

There was one last surprise when they announced a partnership with Superplastic, a media company specializing in arts and entertainment. Together they reimagined the nodding dog ornament, transforming it into the character Superdackel, who will be featured in social media alongside Superplastic’s existing characters.

RAM will follow you around the job site 

When I think of pickup trucks, I don’t usually think of EVs, but RAM is changing my mind. Their vision for the future of RAM trucks was just as exciting as all the others. Their concept of a truck interior that can change the configuration to suit the owner’s needs was mind-blowing. Look, I don’t normally need to haul 18-foot-long boards (in a truck bed, with the tailgate closed), but I am pretty sure if I had a truck like their RAM 1500 Revolution Battery-Electric Concept Vehicle I would find as many 18-foot-long boards to haul as I could. Just because I could. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have one… Where would I even haul all those boards to?

But even more than the impressive capacity, I loved their Shadow mode, where the truck follows you at a slow, safe speed and distance, which is an incredibly cool idea. Just imagine your truck following you around the job site like a puppy. It makes it sound cute!  Shadow mode is an interesting new approach to autonomy in work vehicles. It’s a promising glimpse of just what’s possible when you think outside the box. 

It reminded me of how Jeep said their car could drop you off at the start of the hike and pick you up at the end of it. There’s clearly a huge utility to these newly inspired autonomous functions.

Peugeot reinvents the (steering) wheel 

Everything about Peugeot’s showcase was just as alluring as they said it was. Their Inception Concept car was a feast for the eyes, a form built out of smooth curves and hard angles that echoed the feeling of a good science fiction film. 

For me, the real highlight of the Peugeot concept car was the Hypersquare. It’s everything sci-fi movies promised us the future would be, with the smooth shape and touch-based control. The sleek shape of it didn’t look anything like what I’d expect from a car’s controls, and I wonder how it works. I’d love to try it out someday. 

The Inception inspires an electrifying vision of what the future of driving will be. The concept of a retracting cockpit that switches out with an entertainment center puts the focus on autonomous driving and the role that car interiors will play in the future. 

Even with all of that high-tech, they are just as committed to carbon neutrality as the other companies under Stellantis. Their vision is built on growing towards carbon neutrality, and I’m excited to see where it takes them. 

Sony and a surprising team up

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I expected Sony to reveal was a car! Sony Honda Mobility is a surprising collaboration between two outstanding businesses from different sectors of technology, with a goal to set new standards for mobility. The Afeela brand prototype car is a sleek vehicle with an interesting AI-centered approach and a concept of interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of intelligent mobility. They want to challenge conventional thinking and reexamine the fundamental principles of vehicle design. Not what I expected from a company I usually go to for video game consoles, but that made it feel special. 

Much like Mercedes Benz, their emphasis on crossing mobility and media is a fascinating approach and I’m excited to learn more about the car as the anticipated ship date of Spring 2026 approaches. 

Closing Thoughts

CES 2023 was exciting! With unexpected collaborations like Sony Honda Mobility or Mercedes Benz’s partnership with Superplastic, the event was full of surprises.I loved how so many companies are already thinking ahead, to when cars become fully autonomous. There was a big emphasis on reimagining what riding in the car would be like, and that meant that many of the concept cars on display had some exciting multimedia capabilities. I can’t wait to see how all of this continues to evolve and shape the way we live. The future of transportation is looking bright, and reality is catching up to science fiction.

Even when autonomy wasn’t the main focus of their showcasing, it seemed like every car had some level of autonomous function planned. From the classic self-driving scenario to Jeep and RAM’s creative approaches, it seemed like every car had something autonomous about it.

With so many autonomous features coming to the market, it just drives home how important what we’re doing at V-Markings is to the future. We want to make the roads safer for everyone on them, and now’s the perfect time for us to do that. The future of mobility is autonomous, and we need to bring our roads into that future with us. 

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