New Mobility Directions & Models at #CES2017

Vehicles are increasingly becoming consumer electronic items, as evidenced by the number of companies and booths at International CES 2017 that were dedicated to creating the next great ride. The embedded electronics allow even the most utilitarian vehicle to become an extension of its rider.

Of course, there was the 21st century version of the muscle car, from Faraday Future and many others, that hearkens back to an earlier time when the open road and the freedom of driving were the dream of many.

But, it is no longer about muscle, as vehicles of all levels are becoming intelligent. Whether this means an improved Human-Machine interface or an operating system embedded with and connected to Artificial Intelligence that allows the car to think and act without the aid of a human, mobility is changing, and changing fast.  And the latest features aren’t just the latest gee-whiz, as safety was a recurring theme throughout the exhibits.

Yes, it truly is about mobility, as both traditional, as well as upstart companies are looking at different business models for providing solutions.  There are entire operating systems being developed to enable new models such as ride-share and autonomous operation of fleets of vehicles. The new models might also include the less obvious, like personalized health advice or location-based advertising, which, of course, will have far reaching privacy implications.

The advent of various technologies, from the brushless in-wheel motor to carbon-fiber components to long-lasting batteries, is allowing virtually any entity to, almost over-night, become a “vehicle company”.  Batteries may not even be an issue, if Atmo fulfills its promise that it will be able to change vehicle battery packs in as little 30 seconds.

The traditional car companies and even many of the upstarts envision an evolution of the current steering-wheel paradigm, whereas at least one start-up sees the opportunity to ditch the human driver and create living spaces within vehicles. That this company, and so many more, can come up with mobility solutions in such a short-time is evidence of a shift in the auto industry from the Detroit-centric transportation era to more of a software-oriented Silicon Valley approach that is potentially much more human-centric.

Stay tuned over the coming months for ViodiTV interviews with many of the players from CES who are driving the changes in the mobility business.

CES Summary coverage brought to you by Calix.

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