Autonomous, ecofriendly cars drive CES rollouts

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Autonomous, ecofriendly cars drive CES rollouts

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Autonomous and ecofriendly cars take center stage at CES 2017. From left, Hyundai Mobis demonstrates a virtual experience booth of its autonomous car; Honda will unveil its first autonomous electric vehicle labeled NeuV; Hyundai Motor will demonstrate its self-driving Ioniq. [HONDA]

Auto companies and start-ups were juicy sidekicks at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but they will take the main stage at the 50th edition this week.

What used to be a festival for home appliance manufacturers has become a heated arena for global automakers and IT companies around the world to unveil their latest technology and ideas of future mobility.

New cars - both concept and production versions - will be unveiled, a move that used to be reserved only for motor shows. Automakers from home and abroad will demonstrate how far they’ve come with their autonomous driving and ecofriendly agendas, the key themes at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, which runs Thursday to Sunday. Fancy in-car infotainment technology also awaits.

Hyundai Motor, Korea’s top automaker and the world’s fifth when combined with its sister company Kia Motors, is holding a press conference centered on self-driving technology for the first time since it started participating in the show in 2009.

Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, who has been appearing at important occasions, such as when the automaker announced the spinoff of Genesis at last year’s Detroit auto show, will attend CES and perhaps oversee the press conference on Wednesday. Chung will not attend the Detroit auto show this year, which takes place right after CES.

Prior to the press conference, Hyundai Motor will hold test-drives of its autonomous driving vehicle on Tuesday and Wednesday for some media outlets, using the hybrid and electric versions of Ioniq.

Hyundai Motor already demonstrated their driverless car technology successfully last month in Las Vegas, where the autonomous Ioniqs traveled 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) around the metropolitan area.

At the carmaker’s booth located alongside other global automobile companies such as Honda, Chrysler and Toyota, Hyundai Motor will present auto technology related to connectivity, health and ecofriendly vehicles. Related accessories and wearables will be there too.

Next to Hyundai Motor’s booth will be its auto-parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis, which is participating in CES for the second year. It is the only Korean auto parts maker that has gotten a pass to one of the world’s largest electronics fairs.

Hyundai Mobis will demonstrate the latest gadgets related to ecofriendly vehicles, self-driving cars and auto parts. Last year, when Mobis first attended the show, the company focused solely on autonomous driving.

In the self-driving zone, the booth will feature a simulator that gives the visitor a virtual driving experience of an autonomous vehicle. It will be installed with a 23.8-inch curved display in front and the cameras on both sides will replace the side mirrors. The green-car technology section will include core auto parts related to fuel cell vehicles and V2G, which allows electricity to flow back into the electrical system from eco-friendly vehicles including hybrids and plug-in hybrids to save energy.

The auto-parts section will feature 30 types of components, including in-wheel electric motors and smart key systems.

Unveiling a new concept car or even a production vehicle will be another highlight of the show.

Faraday Future, a California-based auto start-up that hopes to challenge Tesla, will unveil a version of its futuristic electric vehicle teased at last year’s CES as a concept car.

Honda will also unveil what’s called NeuV, a project name for the Japanese carmaker’s first autonomous electric vehicle which is reportedly equipped an with “emotion engine” which is supposed to determine a person’s emotion.

Three big players from Germany will also make a splash at the electronics show, all armed with different future technology.

Mercedes-Benz, like Honda, promised to unveil the concept car of its electric SUV coupe called Concept EQ. The German carmaker also said it will demonstrate various health-related technologies that can be embedded in vehicles.

BMW has heralded an in-car infotainment called HoloActive Touch system which it says uses free-floating holograms that can be located either next to the steering wheel or on top of the center console. Users can gesture with their hands and activate any program they want, including the heating system and navigation. Developed under the project name Inside Future, the HoloActive system will allow users to operate the interface without making physical contact.

Volkswagen will make a presentation on its vision of connectivity and sustainable vehicles. It will also unveil an electric concept car labeled I.D. for the first time in the United States that debuted at the Paris Motor Show last year.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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