Electric Aircraft, Software-Rich Vehicle Cockpits Charm CES 2023

The transportation sector has made CES 2023 one of the largest auto shows in the world with nearly 300 exhibitors showing this year. Formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, CES has expanded way beyond the days when the first small Consumer Electronics Show was held in June 1967 in New York City.

Today, automotive and mobility high-tech is a major part of CES, held annually in Las Vegas. Major manufacturers are using CES to introduce new technologies, especially innovations in electric vehicles, connected cars that communicate with smart devices, infotainment, telematics, self-driving capabilities and ride sharing.

Global launches and keynotes from BMW and Stellantis lead into exhibits featuring the latest in self-driving, electric vehicles and personal mobility devices for land, air and sea.

BMW unveiled its new Vision Car, DEE, described by CFO Dr. Nicolas Peter as "a visionary vehicle that will underpin our digital expertise."

"The future of the BMW Group is electric, circular and digital," said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in his keynote address to CES 2023. "But what do these three qualities mean for the cars of the future?"

"The first part is electric. Electric mobility unleashed with the ultimate driving machine, we think. The second part is the BMW vision circle. That means all raw materials can and will be used again. This is the future of sustainable premium mobility, and that is what we are working on. Now today we are adding the final piece of the puzzle - digital."


Oliver Zipse

Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

Other automotive exhibitors include Candela Marine Technology, General Motors, Italdesign Giugiaro, Magna, MobilEye, Waymo, RYSE and Volvo Penta.

"The mobility industry is at a critical inflection point," Sanjay Ravi, Microsoft's General Manager, Automotive, Mobility and Transportation Industry, blogged on January 4, the day before the show opened, known as press day.

"Major innovation is underway: vehicles are becoming smarter, more connected, and software-defined - and in some cases, autonomous. Electrification is taking hold. A focus on sustainability is rising to the forefront," Ravi wrote.

"Innovators in our industry are reimagining every aspect of moving people and goods around the world, and Microsoft is proud to partner with those who are reinventing mobility," Ravi blogged. He then pinpointed the other side of the coin - supply chain disruptions, energy shortages and lack of worker availability.

"As we kick off CES 2023 in Las Vegas, we’re bound to see emphasis on both sides of this paradigm shift - innovations that improve mobility while at the same time increasing efficiencies, providing opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint, and connecting people in new ways," Ravi wrote.

CES: The Show

CES® is the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators. This is where the world's biggest brands do business and meet new partners, and the sharpest innovators hit the stage.

Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association®, CES features every aspect of the tech sector.

CES 2023 will take place in person in Las Vegas, and digitally, from January 5-8, 2023.

CES is a trade-only event and is not open to the general public. Attendees must be 18 years of age or older and affiliated with the consumer technology industry. The price of admission is $300. Attendee registration includes entry to the CES Show Floor, plus sessions from the industry's business leaders and pioneering thinkers.

This year, for the first time in its 56-year history, CES has a theme: How Technology is Addressing the World's Biggest Challenges. The Consumer Technology Association® (CTA), in partnership with the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, will support the global campaign Human Security for All (HS4A).

Human security recognizes the importance of personal wellbeing, and it includes seven security pillars linked to an individual's experience in life. Tech innovation can be the catalyst in discovering new solutions to some of humankind’s most pressing challenges - one of the most urgent challenges is how to decarbonize transportation to curb climate change.

eVTOLs and Advanced Air Mobility

In the automotive sector alone, nearly 300 exhibitors are present at the show in Las Vegas, headlined by global launches and keynote addresses from BMW and Stellantis.

Stellantis, makers of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Peugeot, and Jeep, among other brands, and Archer Aviation Inc. of Santa Clara, California announced that they will jointly manufacture Archer’s flagship electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Midnight.

Stellantis will work with Archer to stand up Archer’s new manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia where the companies plan to begin making the Midnight aircraft in 2024.

The Midnight is designed to be safe, sustainable, and quiet. With its expected payload of over 1,000 pounds, the aircraft can carry four passengers plus a pilot. With a range of 100 miles, Midnight is optimized for back-to-back short distance trips of around 20 miles, with a charging time of 10 minutes in-between - an air taxi and aerial ride sharing configuration.

Stellantis will contribute advanced manufacturing technology and expertise, experienced personnel and capital to enable the aircraft manufacturing. Stellantis also will provide up to US$150 million of equity capital for Archer over the next two years.

"We’ve been working closely with Archer for the past two years, and I am continually impressed by their ingenuity and unwavering commitment to deliver,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO.


Carlos Tavares

Chief Executive Officer, Stellantis

In November 2022, Archer and United Airlines announced their first airport to city center route between Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City.  Archer estimates the journey will take less than 10 minutes; a trip between the same two points by car can take an hour or more during rush hour traffic.

Archer is not alone in the field. Founded in 2018, the California-based start-up New Future Transportation Inc. (NFT), doing business under the name Aska, is developing a hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing eVTOL. At CES 2023, Aska is showing what it calls the first viable eVTOL vehicle that can drive on the road like a car and take off vertically to fly.

The ASKA™ is a four-seater flying car, the size of a large SUV, with a flight range of 250 miles. The company says it's on target for 2026 commercialization, subject to certification approvals. In February 2022, NFT announced it is partnering with India's Tech Mahindra for engineering support that it says will support efforts to certify the Aska in 2026.

Software-defined Cockpits

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. is introducing a new concept vehicle showcasing how its Snapdragon Digital Chassis integrates technologies from a broad range of companies to deliver experiences that are personalized including immersive infotainment, driver assistance, and enhanced safety.

With the Snapdragon Digital Chassis and Qualcomm’s horizontal connected services platform, Car-to-Cloud, automakers can scale these experiences and personalize them for each occupant.

The Snapdragon Digital Chassis concept vehicle showcases applications and services that demonstrate the possibilities for automakers seeking to innovate next generation user experiences.

Ecosystem Partners include ACCESS, Amazon Music, AUO, Bose, Carota, Cognizant, Daon, Rightware, SoundHound, ThunderSoft, Vector Unit and Wink.

Integrated with a suite of automotive services and powered by artificial intelligence, software-defined cockpits provide a natural and intuitive experience for occupants that improves over time. With the ability to quickly recognize each person, vehicles automatically adjust to their individual settings, such as seat position and climate, while also displaying recently used applications and preferred content on their respective screens.

Using virtual assistance with natural language control and understanding, users engage with the vehicle for ongoing adjustments. Integrated facial recognition and biometric authentication allow them to make purchases, bringing new features, content, and services into the vehicle, or paying for services such as parking.

"Wink is pleased to work with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Digital Chassis Connected Services to demonstrate a new camera-based driver recognition and hands-free payment technology for the connected car market,” said Deepak Jain, founder and CEO of Wink. “We look forward to showcasing how we can bring to market unique frictionless payment experiences as automakers shift to software-defined vehicle architectures."

Stellantis CEO Tavares is expected to debut the Ram 1500 Revolution electric pickup truck and announce the company’s Jeep electrification initiative as well as the first Chrysler battery electric vehicle, both of which are scheduled to debut in 2025.

The Vietnamese automaker VinFast is showcasing four electric SUV models, four electric bikes, VF 8 test drives, and an immersive experience at CES 2023.

EV charging companies Blink Charging, Schneider Electric and ChargePoint will showcase EV charging equipment, infrastructure and technologies.

How Fast Is That Driverless Car Moving? 4D LiDAR Tells All

One of the prestigious CES 2023 Innovation Awards went to the advanced transportation company Aeva, based in Silicon Valley, California. Honored in the Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility category is Aeva's Aeries II - a 4D LiDAR sensor built to enable the next wave of autonomy across automotive and industrial applications.

Aeva is demonstrating the Aeries II 4D LiDAR at CES. At Aeva’s booth, the trade show attendees can view a live point cloud of Aeries II 4D LiDAR that demonstrates Aeva’s unique ability to directly measure velocity for each point of detection in addition to 3D position.

"Aeva’s proprietary velocity data allows automated vehicles to understand precisely how fast objects are moving, bringing an added dimension of safety and reliability to vehicle automation," the company states.

Departing daily from the West Hall, demo drives hosted by Aeva will tour the streets of Las Vegas with real-time point cloud visualizations of 4D LiDAR data showcasing Aeva’s technology.

Using the world’s first LiDAR-on-chip design and Aeva’s unique Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology, the sensor "uniquely detects the fourth dimension of instantaneous velocity in addition to 3D position."

The sensor leverages 4D sensor data to deliver new capabilities such as Ultra Resolution, which provides up to 20 times the resolution of legacy LiDAR sensors, enabling automated vehicles to detect objects like small road hazards at highway speeds from up to twice the distance of 3D LiDAR sensors, the company states.

Companies including Mobileye and Ambarella are showing technologies for self-driving vehicles, such as sensors and advanced semiconductors.

And finally, the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) returns with the Autonomous Challenge @ CES, an autonomous racing competition at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway featuring nine fully autonomous racecars roaring at speeds of more than 190 mph. Save the date – it’s  January 7.

Organized by Energy Systems Network, IAC university teams from around the world compete in a series of challenges to advance technology that can speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems to increase safety and performance. The competitions are a platform for students to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).