The 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas this week, showcasing the latest innovations in consumer technology. Artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles were among the most talked about technologies at the show.
AI Permeates CES Offerings
AI was ubiquitous across many of the products displayed at CES 2024. From AI-powered home appliances to autonomous vehicles, AI promises to bring more convenience, personalization and intelligence to consumers.
As reported by IEEE Spectrum, one of the most buzzed about AI products was Anthropic’s new intelligent assistant Claude. Unlike other voice assistants like Alexa or Siri which are designed for specific tasks, Claude aims to be a general artificial intelligence that can conversate, reason and understand like a human. Early reviews have been positive about Claude’s ability to answer complex questions and be helpful without getting tripped up. Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei demonstrated Claude live on stage at CES, showing how it could discuss and debate abstract topics like the meaning of life.
Other exhibitors sought to showcase how AI can make home appliances and devices smarter and more aware. Samsung’s Ballie is a rolling robot that uses AI to act as a fitness assistant and manage other internet-connected devices in the home. Meanwhile Kohler added AI features to some of its high-end toilets to track health data and provide users with feedback and coaching around their bathroom habits and health goals.
As AI advances, one emerging question is how comfortable consumers feel having AI track more intimate details of their lives. Kohler’s approach positions their smart toilet data as unlocking health insights for users rather than a means of surveillance. Nonetheless, privacy experts warn that smart devices enabled by AI algorithms can still enable new forms of mass data collection by tech firms.
Autonomous Vehicle Tech Advances
CES 2024 also provided a glimpse into the future of autonomous and electric vehicles. Most major car manufacturers like Honda, Kia and Mercedes showed off electric concept cars with advanced self-driving capabilities and voice-based AI assistants.
Honda’s autonomous vehicle prototype can communicate with the driver via an AI assistant named Hana. Hana can discuss music choices, route options and even the vehicle’s self-driving capabilities. Honda envisions future vehicles like these providing an intelligent companion to keep drivers engaged rather than just a passive self-driving car.
Other car makers focused on reimagining car interiors without a steering wheel for fully autonomous vehicles. Mercedes’ Vision AVTR has a futuristic interior with no steering wheel where passengers face each other. Kia displayed electric vans designed for autonomous ride sharing services, featuring swiveling front seats that allow passengers to easily socialize or work while in transit.
Ambitious But Achievable Timelines
Most insiders see the rollout of many AI and autonomous vehicle products showcased at CES 2024 taking 5-10 years. Claude is expected to be available to consumers sometime later this year. Honda plans to launch vehicles with level 3 autonomy capabilities by 2026 and full level 5 vehicle autonomy by 2030. Kia is aiming for a commercial autonomous ride sharing service launch also in 2030.
Nonetheless, tech analyst and CES attendee Richard Windsor thinks these timelines might still be too aggressive. “The issue is still building AI systems that can reliably handle the long tail of edge cases encountered when driving” says Windsor. Earlier accidents with self-driving car prototypes on public roads shows we still have a ways to go to develop truly reliable autonomous vehicles.
While ambitious, many companies anchored their AI and autonomous vehicle goals to specific problem areas and use cases to demonstrate these technologies working under certain constrained conditions first. Then they can scale up from there. Companies need to thoughtfully consider not just technical feasibility but also existing regulations, liability issues, business models and consumer acceptance.
What Experts Expect Next
AI promises to reshape many industries by adding new levels of automation, predictive insights and customization. While recent years have seen AI innovations focused on specific tasks like computer vision and natural language processing, Claude represents a push towards artificial general intelligence – AI that can reason, communicate and understand like humans. Achieving this has long been an elusive goal for AI researchers. But startups like Anthropic are pioneering new techniques around deep learning and knowledge representation that might unlock general intelligence in machines.
Similarly, autonomous vehicles have gone from research projects just 10 years ago to commercially deployed prototypes today. Industry experts expect continued enhancements to perception algorithms and sensors to handle more driving complexity. 5G cellular connectivity and vehicle-to-vehicle communication will also enable autonomous cars to coordinate and adapt to changing road conditions better. Mainstream adoption is still years away, but CES 2024 made it clear that autonomous electric vehicles will be a growing part of our transportation ecosystem over the next decade.
|Major Autonomous Driving Milestones
|Autonomous vehicles with level 3 capabilities hit the market. Limited self-driving capabilities but human driver must still pay attention and takeover immediately if needed.
|Honda expects to sell vehicles with level 3 self-driving abilities. Other carmakers also targeting this milestone.
|Fully self-driving level 5 cars expected from Honda and others. Commercial launch of autonomous ride sharing fleets from companies like Kia.
While progress has been made, AI and autonomous vehicles still face scrutiny and questions around ethics and job automation as these technologies impact how we live and work. Nonetheless, CES 2024 provided a glimpse of an AI-powered autonomous future that is closer than many realize.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.