The Consumer Electronics Show held annually in Las Vegas is one of the biggest gatherings for the latest technologies. That could be one of the reasons why current Ford chief executive Mark Fields received a bland treatment when he introduced the Sync in-car infotainment system in the 2007 CES. The tech press was then wondering what a carmaker was doing in a show headlined by like phones and video games.
Eight years later, carmakers have become a staple participant in the CES. In fact, Fields is returning to the show early next year as one of the speakers, talking about the dawn of the connected-car era. Another CEO from the auto industry, Dieter Zetsche of Daimler AG will speak about autonomous driving, particularly about the latest concept of a self-driving Mercedes-Benz.
In total, 10 carmakers – including Ford, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Audi AG, BMW AG and FCA US LLC and newcomer Volkswagen AG -- will take part in the 2015 CES, occupying an exhibit space equivalent to the size of three football fields.
Mark Boyadjis, technology analyst for HIS, quipped that the CES has become a major launch point for a number of large carmakers, as the show has become a way for them to get on a global stage for technology. Five years ago, Ford displayed its new Taurus on a 20- foot-by-20-foot piece of carpet.
This year, the carmaker boasted of a two-story display with five vehicles. The International CES opens on Jan. 6, 2015.